Review: Aiya Ceremonial Grade Matcha

Aiya America, Green Tea, Matcha Tea Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The aroma was like that of heated green tea ice cream. Okay, yes, horrible metaphor - since that technically has kitchen-grade matcha in it - but it fits, damn it."
Geoff’s Teaview: 9.5/10
Other Teaviews: Katie gave it 7.4/10, Katie gave it 7.4/10
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According to their press pamphlet (yes, I got one of those), Aiya is one of the leading producers of ceremonial matcha. Their roots date back to 1888. What I found exciting is that they were located in a matcha-producing region that was quickly becoming my favorite - yes, even over Uji. I had tried a few matchas from Nishio, and I was a bit over-elated to be trying more.

Their Ceremonial Grade Matcha was considered - at least to the website - to be their flagship product. I had meant to try this first but ended up grabbing the Organic Ceremonial by mistake. After opening this one up, I submitted both to a sniff-by-sniff comparison. Both were sweetly vegetal and maintained that bright, forest green color palate. There really wasn't a difference between the organic and regular...other than one having the word "organic" in the title. I wondered how their flagship would fair on taste.

As with the other Aiya I tried, I opted for an usucha-style ("thin tea") preparation. Again, mainly for the fact that I didn't have much of this to play with. The sample said two servings, but if one was to go for a koicha prep, it'd be more like one-and-a-half. I pre-sifted the powder with a cold-water whisk-up before adding 4-5oz. of 165F water to the paste. I followed that up with the usual vigorous chasen treatment.

The soup frothed up might nicely with the usual, light green, velvetine head of foam I expected from a good matcha grade. The aroma was like that of heated green tea ice cream. Okay, yes, horrible metaphor - since that technically has kitchen-grade matcha in it - but it fits, damn it. I guess what I'm saying is it had a creaminess to the scent. Unlike the organic version, this had a smoother introduction. It was still vegetal, but it possessed none of the nuttiness I detected in the former offering. It transitioned very smoothly from grass soup, to sweetness, and to a very fine aftertaste with a shade of umami. Just for that reason alone, I would say Aiya's flagship is still afloat.

— To purchase Aiya Ceremonial Grade 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.

Teaviews Member: Geoff Geoff
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