Sunday, January 1, 2012

Pink Label Pal Yoh Yame Matcha

Think a lot of traffic gets directed to MattCha's Blog in search of matcha related information.  Although you won't see regular posts about matcha, one still consumes many bowls of matcha in both the Japanese and Korean matcha ceremonies on a weekly basis.  A 40g tin of matcha is emptied every month or so.  One ends up consuming much of the same matcha which has already been featured in posts on this blog.  These include offerings from Yame's Pal Yoh, Uji's Marukyu-Koyamaen, and even tins from solid local brand Jagasilk.  Thought it would be interesting to revisit a matcha that one has consumed the most over the last few years, Pal Yoh's Pink Label from the Yame region of Japan.

What is amazing about matcha is that it rarely changes very much in taste from year to year.  This speaks to the keen skills of Japanese tea master blenders who go about great lengths to ensure a consistent tea experience from batch to batch and from year to year.  Originally this Pal Yoh's pink label was featured in a 2008 post.  Besides the harvest year, the biggest factor that has changed in the preparation of this tea would be the water used.  The following notes are from a 2012/01/01 expiry dated can that one has been drinking up over the last month.

The powder emitted from the freshly opened tin carries very sweet cherry notes and creamy distinct florals which dominate the profile.  The smell is tangy and vibrant.  This tea is whisked up in ceremony and imbibed.

It offers a solid creamy, rich, sweet start.  Deep, creamy, sweet oak wood base turns into a distinct lingering floral taste.  Minutes later fruit notes fill the saliva.  The woody oak base lays firmly underneath these floral notes.  A full not-that-heavy mouthfeel that results is satisfying.

Meditating mindfully, ones body feels light and free from the alerting and clarifying chaqi.



Breakaway Matcha said...

Looks like you have a lovely little ritual for your daily matcha consumption, Matt. I too ritualize mine, but I like using a handheld/battery-operated frother (used originally for milk frothing) for mine. The hum of it is very unzen, but the crema is produces, once you get the technique right, more than makes up for it . . . cheers and thanks for the great blog, Eric

Matt said...


Have heard that those hand mixers work quite well. Very "unzen" though, hahaha.


Hektor Konomi said...

Matt, I wasn't aware that the Koreans also have a matcha tea ceremony. Is it a Japanese import, or something that existed there before...

I know that matcha didn't originate in Japan, but I thought it had disappeared from the Asian mainland...

Hektor Konomi

Matt said...

Hektor Konomi,

Great questions. Currently, these issues are very controversial.

The Korean line is something like this: powdered tea consumption never completely disappeared and was kept alive in the reclusive monasteries as all forms of tea drinking were repressed under the ruling Confucius Joson Dynasty. However, the tea that they were consuming was likely not produced like matcha, but possibly some more simple form of it, a "powdered tea".

In Korea they have a very distinct ceremony that is quite different than the Japanese. However, it is technically, a "powdered tea ceremony" not a "matcha tea ceremony"- this is also a throwback to its history. The Korean line is that this ceremony developed independently from Japan. The factual info on this is not strongly supported by history, so there is much controversy surrounding it.

However there is lots of proof that while the Japanese colonized Korea before WWII they did force Korea girls to learn the Japanese matcha ceremony in school as a part of the Japanification of Korea during colonization.

Guess one should remember to use the term "Korean powered tea ceremony" instead of "Korean matcha ceremony".