Matcha Monday – Yunomi Ceremonial Grade Matcha Comparison Tasting

I’m sure you all know well enough by now that when it comes to matcha I have a little bit of an obsession. But it goes much further than just wanting to drink it. I have set myself the aim of learning everything I can about it and one of my favourite ways to do this is to take a small selection of matcha (usually 1-3 different ones) and do a comparison test with them, looking over texture, colour, taste and more. I find that it’s the most practical, hands on way to learn more about matcha and I use all of the knowledge I learn from each one of these posts I do to ensure I am buying the best matcha no matter the vendor.

For today’s comparison test, I’m going to be testing out and trying for the first time three different matchas from Yunomi Tea. The first being their Naturally Grown – Hinode – Basic Ceremonial Grade, the second being their Naturally Grown – Kodama – Standard Ceremonial Grade Matcha and the third being their Naturally Grown – Sahohime – Premium Ceremonial Grade.

In case you are wondering, the naturally grown element of the names of these matchas are given to them by Yunomi to denote the fact that they have been verified to be grown without use of pesticides / synthetic fertilizers. In some cases, it may also be possible to formally certify these products as organic according to the Japanese Agriculture standard (JAS). In such cases, look for the JAS organic logo mark on the package.

Matcha Number one was Yunomi’s Naturally Grown – Hinode – Basic Ceremonial Grade. A daily matcha grown without use of pesticides / synthetic fertilizers, this matcha has a decent level of umami flavour profile with a slightly astringent side note, perfect for drinking each morning when the sun rises. 日の出 Hinode – the rise of the sun.

Tried as usucha, 70C freshly filtered water.

One of the aspects of this matcha that stood out prominent was its lingering chalky, creamy, candy sweetness paired with the moderate level of umami. It was like I was eating an original white rabbit candy and a matcha one at the same time. Other notes included in the overall flavour profile include: butter, dried seaweed, steamed sweetcorn, Cheerio’s, honey butter crisps, low sodium soy sauce and Wagamama / Yo Sushi green tea served in stoneware cups .

As it cools in the chawan its still has that chalky creaminess to it but the sweetness of it becomes more muted. Once you have finished sipping it, there’s a lingering note of steamed spinach and baby corn, both with butter. There is astringency present but it’s not at a level that would ruin my enjoyment.

Texture is smooth and somewhat fine however it is not the smoothest / finest grinding I’ve ever seen. If I were to rank it, I would probably put it at around a 5.5-6. It’s a strong shade of green but in terms of vibrance it is both not the dullest or the strongest I’ve seen, so again it sits somewhere in the middle. Fantastic overall for a basic Ceremonial Grade though and could be a great starter matcha for someone just getting into drinking it on its own.

Matcha Number two was Yunomi’s Naturally Grown – Kodama – Standard Ceremonial Grade Matcha. The Kodama evokes the delicious bounty of nature with a savouriness that comes from the soil and sunlight filtered through the shade. 木霊 Kodama – the spirit of trees.

Tried as usucha, 70C freshly filtered water.

Same level of vibrance as the basic grade. There is however the slightest difference in the overall colour. Texture wise I would say that there is zero difference between the two and once I sieved them, they looked very similar when it came to texture. There’s a touch more creaminess to this one than the there was to the basic grade and also I would say because of that there is less astringency present.

The level of umami I would say is stronger than the basic, which in turn attributes a nice level of richness. It frothed easily and the froth was long lasting with small bubbles and a nice creamy thinness. Notes included in the overall flavour profile include: slightly sweet crackers, single pouring cream, hobnob biscuits, springtime grass, subtle florals and fresh wet seaweed plucked straight from the sea.

The aroma when all notes came together took me right back to my recent trip to Scarborough during the summer: seaside air, a harbour filled with boats, a cloud free perfectly blue sky, flower boxes lining the front, shops selling novelty candy, potatoes being freshly cut and fried into the best chips I’ve ever had. I love it when a tea can do this. It’s smoother and less dry than the basic grade, however while it has a mid length finish it doesn’t longer for as long.

Yunomi Matcha Naturally Grown Premium Ceremonial Grade Matcha –  Sahohime is a matcha blessed by its namesake, the goddess of spring. It is characterized by a creamy umami flavour rarely found in organically grown leaves.

Tried as usucha, 70C freshly filtered water.

This is by far my favourite out of the three which I am sure comes as no surprise to anyone reading this. Texture wise I would say it’s the same as the previous two, definitely smooth, light and fine, but not the smoothest I’ve ever seen. This is definitely the one with the most creaminess and super creamy matcha has always been my favourite. There’s much less astringency to this one and I think the higher level of creaminess and the intense buttery notes are what soften that astringency down.

The level of umami is definitely stronger and more intense which, when paired with the creaminess, makes for a rather thick and indulgent matcha. Despite that however, it has a freshness to it that tasted the way that fresh cut grass and a cold and winter morning smells. Notes of both spinach, kale and bok choy are present. The froth was the thickest and creamiest of them all with the smallest bubbles.

When this matcha hits the tongue there is a brothiness to it and it hits the side of the tongge the moment the match enters your mouth, like the most delicious Kombu Dashi ever.

Lack of bitterness and the texture of all three are the things I would say that is consistent throughout all of these matchas. Basic and standard are the same level of vibrance and I would say that the premium is only slightly more vibrant than the both of them. All of these matchas are fantastic in their own right and while I have a personal favourite, each serve their own purpose at their given levels meaning there is an option for every tea lover out there weather they are newbie or a veteran.

Should you want to try out any of the matchas mentioned in this post you can find them all here. Don’t forget to use my code INFKKYU to get ¥1000 off of a purchase of at least ¥5000 or more

Until Next Time, Happy Steeping – Kimberley

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