Review: Boulder Tea Ujihikari Maccha

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Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"Taste-wise, this was the most delicate and sweet matcha I'd ever tried. The powder mixed perfectly with the water, I didn't get the sense that I was tasting chalk dust."
Geoff’s Teaview: 9/10
Other Teaviews: Katie gave it 8.6/10
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ujihikarimacchaThe name of this stuff alone is a mouthful; Koicha Quality Ujikihari Maccha. There'd be no way I could say that five times fast. Perhaps I'm too "gaijin" to do so. However, the moniker for this matcha blend did leave several questions for me to research. For instance, what's the difference between "matcha" and "maccha"? Where is "Ujikihari", and what is "koicha"?

The last question was easily answered; "koicha" simply referring to the matcha grade, and "Ujikihari" indicating the region. Uji, a city outside of Kyoto, is probably the premiere place for high-quality matcha. Some sources state that the practice even started there, given that the powdered tea brewing and ceremony were part of the Zen tradition. The only question I couldn't find a solid answer to was the addition of "-kihari". Best guess was that it was some type of food. It's always about food.

As to the different spellings for matcha, I found nothing. My only guess is that we westerners can't decide on an exact way to translate certain words, so we screw with the Anglicized vernacular to stir debate. Why? I dunno...some scholars are easily bored.

This Boulder Tea import finally proved to me that there is indeed a difference in matcha grades. The usual stuff I got locally consisted of pale green, pulverized powder. When I opened the powder for this batch, I was greeted by the brightest, greenest granules I ever beheld. Rule o' thumb with matcha? The brighter the batch, the better the stuff; less oxidation.

I took about a teaspoon of this, heated 4 ounces of water to roughly 170 degrees, and put both in a small bowl. I then used the requisite chasen (i.e. bamboo whisk) to stir and swish for about forty-five seconds. You know you're done whisking when the surface layer of the concotion is covered in foam. Lower-grade matcha takes longer to produce this desired effect. High-grade foams up nicely like a green tea root beer...or a radioactive fluorescent crayon.

Taste-wise, this was the most delicate and sweet matcha I'd ever tried. The powder mixed perfectly with the water, I didn't get the sense that I was tasting chalk dust. The foamy aspect, coupled with the natural (but light) vegetal tastes gave me the impression of a sushi seaweed rap, only smoother.

What keeps this from being perfection personified, obviously, is the price. Being a poor, vested desk-jockey, I can't often afford to shell out $18 for a 30-gram bag on a regular basis. But if I did, this would be the first place I'd go. Most of the Boulter Tea stuff I've tried had fallen more in the "miss" category, rather than "hit". Finally, I found the jackpot gem. I highly recommend it. Two tea-geeky thumbs up.

— To purchase Boulder Tea Ujihikari Maccha, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Geoff Geoff
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3 Responses to “Review: Boulder Tea Ujihikari Maccha”

  1. Mike Says:

    It’s ujihikari, not ujikihari. And matcha and maccha are the same thing, it’s technically spelled “maccha” but you would pronounce it “matcha”.

  2. Geoff Says:

    Holy heck, you’re right.

    Spelling Fail on my part.

    And, yeah, I knew the pronunciation was the same. I was just curious about the different spellings.

  3. Lisa Says:

    Hi Geoff, it’s Lisa from Boulder Tea.

    I’m So Happy to see you like two of my macchas (well, one maccha and one matcha…lol) In general, my Japanese friends write maccha, whereas my Korean and American friends write matcha. I use the traditional word maccha when referring to my Japanese powdered teas and I use matcha for my Korean powdered teas.

    You’re correct that Ujihikari is named after its region, Uji. “Hikari” means light as in light or smooth taste. So you were right again… it’s always about food!

    Next time you want a “jackpot gem” maccha, remember I offer Free Shipping!

    Thank you for tasting! Feedback is very important to me.

    All the best,
    Lisa

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