Thursday, October 9, 2014

Matcha-iri Sencha


A trend

There is a tea that I am curious about lately. It’s matcha-iri sencha, or matcha-blended sencha. Suntory has made a change on their leading product, bottled sencha, Iyemon. They added matcha to flavor their Iyemon. Not only bottled green tea, but also I often see the leaves in stores lately. It seems that matcha-iri sencha is gaining popularity in the market.

Matcha-blended sencha

The dry leaves look like sencha but it has bright green powder on their surface. It is sencha powdered with matcha. You can brew Matcha-iri sencha just like regular sencha. You put the tea and hot water in a teapot and steep it for a minute. The greatest charm of this tea is its fulfilling flavor which is refreshingly bitter taste harmonized with the luscious flavor of matcha. It’s good for the people who love rich greenish flavor. If I dare say the disadvantage, the tea loses its full flavor on the next brewing. Matcha flavor gets extracted mostly on the first brewing.

Left: Matcha-iri sencha, Right: Sencha

State

It seems that relatively cheap sencha is used for it. I think that it’s a successful method to enhance its quality by redeeming lack of its flavor or covering its off-flavor. On the other hand, for high-grade senchas, there is no need to add any flavor. Adding matcha is wasteful. Matcha-iri sencha is usually reasonably priced and you can get it everywhere. It can be enjoyed at meals and tea time.

You don’t have to buy matcha-iri sencha

On TV commercials and the internet, Suntory doesn’t only promote the bottled tea but also introduce a method, putting macha into the teapot when you prepare sencha. They try to appeal that adding matcha into sencha makes it more delicious. They promote it as if it’s something new but not so much for tea lovers like me who is already familiar with matcha-iri sencha, haha. Anyway, you don’t have to buy it. If you want to try it, just mix your sencha leaves and matcha powder before brewing. 


This is about 0.3g of matcha

Recipe

I tried the mixture that Suntory introduces. However, it was too strong for me. My recipe for two servings will be the following.
  Sencha: 2 teaspoons (4g)
  Matcha: 1/8 teaspoon (0.2g)
  Water: 2 cups (180ml) 70degC
  Brewing: 1min
Put the sencha and matcha into the pot. Add hot water and leave it for one minute. Serve into the cups.

Experiment on pre-mixing

Suntory advises on their instruction to mix sencha leaves and matcha powder well in an extra cup. It is better the leaves to get matcha evenly on their surfaces. They doesn’t say the reason why but I guess this helps to brew better tasting tea. I started wonder how effective this is. It is time for me to experiment myself. I prepared two teas. One is just putting matcha on senccha, “A”. The other one is mixed well, “B”. I brewed them in the same condition. What do you think?

The brewed teas are in the following picture. Tea B is richer in color. Probably the matcha get out into the brewed tea more. What surprised me was that, despite the color, I didn’t find significant difference in their taste. Can you believe it? It tasted almost the same.

I speculate that it’s because I used sifted matcha, so on either tea I could get good flavor. This tip might be effective when using unsifted matcha. Pre-mixing sencha and matcha might help to reduce the lumps of matcha and will have similar effect as sifting. Anyway, Matcha-iri sencha is different from just brewing sencha strongly. By adding matcha, the flavor gets more complex and profound. If you want to spice up your sencha, give it a try.

 
Suntory webpage (Japanese) : http://www.suntory.co.jp/softdrink/iyemon/portal/irekata.html

13 comments:

  1. This is a great recipe! You can easily control the flavor of the tea as well as the grades of tea used!

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    1. Exactly! It is easy and pleasant to explore your own blend!

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  2. All trick of the trade. A trick to get rid of poor quality sencha (often with more stems etc) and poor quality matcha (why waste the good one!?). Have tried several products both in Japan and USA. Even RISHI jumped on the train with several Matcha-blends (Organic) with Green Tea or Yerba Mate.
    As an old guy who likes the traditions and the different methods of preparation of the teas I would swirl my matcha in my chawan, brew then some sencha and if I decide - go for the Yerba Mate in its gourd and with its bombilla.
    I still do enjoy some mixes like in the HonesTea mixes, but as for the tea itself - I rather keep them apart and used the best :-)

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  3. Right, there is no need of mixing if the tea has certain quality (^-^)

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  4. I like your tests, instructive and interesting. The tea looks lovely, I might do a mix sometime to amuse a visitor, but I also don't really see the point. I prefer just really good tea. :)

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  5. Thanks to your post, I just made a cup of matcha-iri sencha : good matcha added to good sencha gives a good cup of tea !
    Thans for your tips and for your blog !
    (how do you write matcha sifter in japanese ?)

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    1. Hahaha, good matcha and good sencha! That's great!
      I’m ashamed that I don’t know the proper name of matcha sifter in Japanese. However, it seems often called 抹茶篩 (matcha furui). Furui means sifter.

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  6. I liked this recipe, green tea is so healthy and delicious.

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