Sunday, August 3, 2008

Unkaku Matcha

This is another matcha from Marukyu-Koyamaen. It is the forth highest in quality that Marukyu-Koyamaen sells and is meant for koicha. Unkaku Matcha is one grade higher than Kinrin Matcha reviewed by Alex on Another Tea Blog a few months back. The name 'Unkaku' refers to the auspicious symbol of the crane and the cloud. In Japan, as well as Korea and China, the crane and cloud motif has long been a symbol of longevity, happiness, peace, wisdom, purity, and truth.

The powder is a light brilliant green and smells creamy, sweet, and pure. The powder is prepared in ceremony. Mucky dark green sludge is transformed into thick heady bright green froth, the miracle of matcha is once again revealed. One bows and pays respect to the tea. Then one consumes the tea in its entirety. It's taste is sweet, slightly green and vegital, and somewhat sour and acidic, not too creamy. It presents a nice balance of sweet, bitter, and sour. In it, a ripe pink grapefruit can almost be detected under it's green profile. It is quite flavourful for a matcha. The mouthfeel isn't it's strongest point, covering the top of the mouth and tongue it hardly resonates in the throat, if not just a little at the top of the throat where the mouth terminates.

The qi of this tea is refreshing, peaceful, and pure. It's energy a very modest type, nothing to noticeable or flashy, but pure as if taking a long awaited cold mountain spring shower after long day of mild labour. If one chooses to ignore the qi's course throughout the body, it just seems to induce a subtle sense of wellbeing and general contentment. Holding the tea bowl between cupped hands, with only remnants of froth clinging to it , softly sniffing the bowl, taking the smell in deeply, one is content indeed.



Sweetpersimmon said...

I have had this tea many times at tea ceremonies. It is a good middle of the road matcha. It makes a very delicious bowl of usucha (thin tea with bubbles), but is even better as koicha (thick tea, no bubbles). Thank you for posting this.


Matt said...


Thank you so much for stopping by. There are many differences between Korean tea culture and Japanese tea culture, too many to even list in one post! One of the biggest differences when it comes to drinking matcha is that in Korea, regardless of the quality of the matcha, it is traditionally always prepared in a froth. 'Thick' and 'Thin' only refer to the actual quality of the matcha and not really how it is actually prepared. Anyways, now that you mentioned it, one might try making it in the traditional Japanese 'thick' style just to switch it up a little. Thank you again for adding your kindness and comments on this blog, they are always welcome.


A. Prado said...

I was curious to know whether you could tell me if Unkaku is a higher grade than Shohaku?

Matt said...

A Prado,

Sorry, I can’t help you.

I usually reference this but Shohaku is not on there: