Review: Tavalon Genmai Matcha

Genmaicha Tea, Green Tea, Matcha Tea, Tavalon Add comments
Lynn’s Teaview Snapshot
Not Great"The liquor brewed up to a medium jade and cloudy, due to the matcha. It had pull, giving a pleasant sensation of dryness, and the mix of sencha and matcha imparted a definite but not unpleasant bitter edge, especially down the sides of the tongue. But there it was again, that hint of sourness."
Lynn’s Teaview: 4.5/10
Other Teaviews: Laura gave it 8/10, Vanessa gave it 7/10, Dan gave it 6.5/10, Geoff gave it 6.7/10
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tavalongenmaimatchaTavalon’s Genmai Matcha features sencha leaves in roughly equal proportion to the toasted rice grains, with a generous dusting of matcha powder. Surprisingly, the sample of dry tea I was provided with, rather than having a strong toasted aroma from the high proportion of rice, smelled instead distinctly sour.

I placed one and a half tablespoons of the tea in a warmed pot, then added 200 ml of 175F water and let it steep for two minutes, then opened the pot. I sniffed the steam. There was the toasty aroma I was looking for! But the hint of sourness persisted, too.

First brew: The liquor brewed up to a medium jade and cloudy, due to the matcha (contrary to the manufacturer’s note, matcha does not dissolve but goes into suspention.) I took a sip and held it on my tongue. It had pull, giving a pleasant sensation of dryness, and the mix of sencha and matcha imparted a definite but not unpleasant bitter edge, especially down the sides of the tongue. But there it was again, that hint of sourness. As the tea cooled, the sour smell asserted itself over the toasty aroma. Sencha is supposed to be sweet and bitter, as is matcha. Where the heck was sour coming from?

Second brew: I pushed the temperature up to 180F and let it steep three minutes. The sour smell was gone but so is most of the toasty smell, leaving behind the weak aroma of wet leaves. That was disappointing, but perhaps not surprising with a second steeping. The flavor also changed, and this time for the better. The lighter jade liquor was far more subtle on the tongue. The pull was stronger, with a very pleasant astringent feeling that was quite refreshing, and the bitterness of the sencha shone through gently. Still no hint of sweetness, though.

Third brew: The wet leaves in the pot smelled like raw spinach now. I kept the temperature high and let it steep for four minutes. The steam had a more toasty note. Most of the matcha had been washed away and the pale jade liquor was nearly clear. If anything, the toasty aroma was stronger now, and very pleasant. The liquor itself was losing flavor, however, leaving little on the tongue but the aroma. The pull, bitterness, and astringency were gone, the taste close to that of hot water. I’m done.
I pulled some of the leaves and rice from the pot and spread it on the counter. The sencha leaves are evenly broken for the most part, and just a little lighter green than Italian parsley after three steepings. A sour smell rises from them, and when I chew on a leaf, I get a little sour tang on my tongue. So that’s where it was coming from. Very strange.

Well, I can’t say it wasn’t a complex experience, but the sourness was quite off putting. Not a tea I would try again but some might enjoy it for its differences.

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Teaviews Member: Lynn Lynn
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