Hey Everyone! Happy Matcha Monday, For today’s post I’m coming to you with something a little bit different that usual as today we are going to be talking all about tea and food pairings, specifically looking into which fruits pair well with Koicha. I was inspired to do this little experiment by Nio Teas over on Tik Tok as over the last few weeks they have been posting short videos for testing out a whole range of different fruits, vegetables and other foods with koicha and as someone who really enjoys Koicha and experimenting with tea I had to try these pairings out for myself.
For those of you that are unfamiliar with Koicha is (thick tea) this method of preparation uses double the amount of matcha at 4g and much less water (around 30-40ml). Koicha is, however, not whisked like Usucha and instead is kneaded. You still use a chasen but instead of whisking to produce bubbles, you use much gentler strokes that will combine the matcha and the water together without causing bubbles and instead making a thick tea that is also like paint in consistency with a gorgeous shine to it.
Really when it comes to koicha, I suppose you could say that it is to Matcha what gong fu style brewing is to true teas. It allows you to experience the Matcha in a much more concentrated way and you are able to taste all of the matcha best qualities in each and every sip. Many believe that koicha is a true way to take in all the qualities of the Matcha at its fullest, which is why only the highest quality matchas should be used to make it.
So in terms of which fruits pair the best I tried to get as big of a range as I could obviously excluding fruits that i’m not a fan of like melon. As always tea is subjective and because we all have different taste buds the pairings I like may not end up being as perfect for you as they are for me so I recommend giving this experiment a go yourself to help you find the pairing that a perfect for your own taste buds.
I tried to go for a few different kinds of fruit so I could give varied opinions so I had pineapple, strawberries, raspberries, apple and mango. I’m going to start with my least favorite pairing and work my way up to my favorite pairing. The matcha I used for this experiment is Shogyokuen: Matcha Izumi no Shiro, Premium Ceremonial Grade (Spring Harvest) 泉の白 which you can purchase over on the Yunomi website. If it’s your first order from Yunomi be sure to use START20 to get 20% off your order.
So first up is mango, I was originally going to do mango but the fruit box I bought with all of the other fruit in it that I wanted for this experiment had a few chunks of it in so I thought why not try it out since I already had it. I’m not a huge fan of mango on it’s own so i’m sure it will not be surprising to anybody that I didn’t really enjoy this pairing and honestly, and outside of my dislike for mango I don’t think the pairing of the umami hit from the matcha and the sweet sourness of the mango worked at all it was just too much for one mouthful and was a little bit overwhelming honestly
Up next we have raspberries, this one for me did’t work because the pairing was also too extreme because you had the strong umami hit of the matcha and the super tartness of the raspberries and there was no in-between at all and because of the two extremes the sweetness of the raspberries and most of the raspberries actual flavors didn’t translate into taste.
Apples deffinelty worked and the balance between the umami vegetal hit of the matcha paired fantastically with the sweet, crisp, tart, and juicy notes of the apple. I the juiciness and the sweetness of the apple was able to cut through the rich matcha perfectly and stopped it from being too strong. The tartness was subtle but rounded everything off really well. If I were to do this again though I would deffinelty pick a sweeter variety of apple as I think sweeter fruits certainly pair better with koicha.
Strawberries British strawberries are much sweeter than most as farmers go again the grain with slow grown less uniform strawberries unlike the ones you would get in Europe and other parts of the world. So that sweetness paired perfectly with the matcha and strawberries have a different kind of sweetness to most other fruits almost like a candy sweetness. That and the hint of tartness in the undertones made for the perfect match with the koicha. Strawberries can be quite juicy and watery and that works to thin out the koicha a little in your mouth stopping it from being to coating. The sweetness balanced out the umami vegetal hit and the creamy element of the matcha paired perfectly with the strawberries as i’m sure you can imagine. This is undoubtedly a pairing I will do time and time again.
Lastly we have my favorite fruit and koicha pairing which was without a doubt Pineapple! Because pineapples are so juicy and so sweet it paired with the vegetal umami hit of the matcha so well and it was such a refreshing treat, it stopped the koicha from coating my mouth too much and made me feel like I was sat on the most beautiful beach sipping iced matcha out of a hollowed out pineapple. The matchas natural creamy and nutty notes took away the tang normally associated with pineapple and stopped me from getting that funny feeling on my tongue that I normally get after eating pineapple which was fantastic. Pineapple is my all time favorite fruit so I’ll deffinelty be enjoying it with koicha more often now I know that they work together so well
I really enjoyed doing this experiment and I’m deffinelty going to try this with more fruits and make some other foods too in the future. Let me know in the comments which fruits you think would pair well with koicha and I’ll add them to my list to try in the future. If you try out this experiment yourself with the same fruits I did let me know which pairing you enjoyed the most.
Until next time, Happy Steeping – Kimberley