Review: Boulder Tea Korean Matcha

Boulder Tea, Matcha Tea Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs down." I will admit that my powdered tea exploration is in its infant stages, but I can't recommend it."
Geoff’s Teaview: 2/10
Other Teaviews: Katie gave it 6.2/10, Christine gave it 8.5/10
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boulderkoreanmatchaLet me first start by saying: I didn't even know Koreans did matcha. I thought this was strictly a Japanese thing. However, if India can do a good oolong - or Africa a superb white tea - then I would be willing to believe that South Korea could pull off a powdered green tea. Further proof of this can be found in any Korean supermarket. They have powdered sencha to spare.

Boulder Tea's Korean matcha marks the fourth or fifth matcha I've ever tried. In terms of taste-testing, I'm a novice to the art form. I'm not even sure I'm whisking the stuff correctly. Everything I learned, I garnered from the internet. Hardly a traditional tea prep school.

When I first opened the bag up, the first thing that hit me was how "ancient" the powder smelled. The batch was dark green, bordering on brown, and had a very old air about it. What little I knew of matcha was that the best were bright green. This was as dull a color as you could get.

I brewed 4 oz. of water at 170 F, took one teaspoon of the powder and whisked it with my bamboo chasen for thirty seconds. It frothed up quite nicely, producing the requisite foam, with no grainy clumps occupying the periphery of the liquor.

I took one

I could barely keep it down. I'm not exactly sure what went wrong. I thought I'd acquired the taste for matcha, but the spoiled-spinachy profile was nigh on unpalatable. I had to plug my nose to finish the rest. That had never happened before.

On a second go-around, I did away with the whisk-and-bowl approach, instead opting for an ordinary cup of hot water and stirring the powder in. I then added some sugar. Make that a lot of sugar and a bit of creamer. By then it was drinkable, but it could hardly qualify as a tea at that point. More like a sweetened, green milk.

For those that require a less seaweed-like matcha mix - as is common with the Koicha-grade stuff - this might be up your alley. I will admit that my powdered tea exploration is in its infant stages, but I can't recommend it. This was more likely a disagreement of palate rather than production. I don't care for asparagus either. This was like liquid asparagus.

— To purchase Boulder Tea Korean Matcha, 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.

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4 Responses to “Review: Boulder Tea Korean Matcha”

  1. Troy Says:

    Yeah, Boulder has a few really good teas in their line up, and a bunch of cheap south-east Asian imports which seem to be intended as novelty products.. This and their Lotus Leaf tea among them.

  2. Lynn Says:

    I had the same reaction. I’d already tried one of their Japanese Macchas which was pretty good, and was amazed at the difference.

  3. Mina Says:

    Dear Geoff,
    Thank you for your honest review of this product.
    This product is not actually “matcha”. This is a powdered green tea from one of the lowest grades of green tea produced by our company. We actually recommend this particular product for cooking and baking (maybe even for facial packs).

    There is only one product we call “matcha”, which is made from one of our highest grades of tea leaves, grown and processed a specific way.

    If you are accustomed to Japanese matchas, even the best grade of Korean matcha will taste “different”. The reason is behind how the leaves are grown. It is common practice in Japan to grown tea leaves under shade for more than half its growth time, sometimes 100%. In Korea, it is common practice to let the leaves grow out in nature, fully exposed to sun (minus any natural shade provided by the mountain or fog/dew from nearby oceans). Sunlight changes theanine in tea leaves into tannin, which causes the astringent (bitter) taste. However, this is also one of the main components in green tea that is beneficials for cancer and other ailments.

    Also, Japanese tea farmers use nitrogen-heavy fertilizer. This has the same effect on agriculture (including tea leaves) as steroids has on humans – faster growth. Since the stronger, more bitter flavors are produced later in the growth process, if leaves grow more quickly, it will produce a sweeter, more milky taste. All fertilizer has some amount of nitrogen (which is absolutely necessary for growing any agriculture).

    If you keep these things in mind when comparing teas from different countries, it will help you to determine how good or bad a product is, in comparison to what it “should” be like.

    Also, though it has been made well-known by the Japanese, the powdered form of tea has been drunk for a longer period of time in the region known as South Korea today. (There was no knowledge of just steeping the liquor out of the leaves so the tea leaves were ground down and consumed whole.)

    I hope this helps! 🙂

  4. Geoff Says:

    Hi Mina,

    This is actually a very old review. Almost four years, as a matter of fact. At the time – I will admit – my palate for matcha (kitchen-grade or otherwise) wasn’t fully developed. While I still stand by what was written then, I will admit that I have progressed since then. That and I’ve had much better Korean green teas, including sejak from Hankook.

    Also, at the time when this was available from Boulder, they were selling it as matcha, not as simply “powdered green tea”. So, I had to judge it from that angle based on the moniker; I also prepared it as such.

    Hope that clarifies a bit.

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