Mar 1, 2019
This premium green tea from Shizuoka Prefecture falls under the Matsukiyo brand, usually reserved for cosmetics and the like, which may explain why I found this at my neighborhood branch of the Daruma chain of drug stores. For 20 tea bags, this seemed like a decent price.
I was happy to find that on the back of the box, instructions were given for both hot and cold preparation. Seeing this, I decided to give both a try using the recommendations of the packaging which included brewing it hot at 80 degrees Celsius and brewing cold for three full minutes. I admit that I did not measure the amounts of water in each nor the exact temperature, opting instead to boil some water, wait thirty seconds to a minute, and then pour it over the tea bag. I did manage to time the cold tea and took out the bag just after the three minute mark.
The upper right portion of the package also boasts that this tea is blended with Uji tea, likely from an area of the same name near Kyoto, which is meant to increase the mellowness of the flavor. Regardless of blending, the part of Japan they highlight with a map is Shizuoka, so it serves to reason that the majority of the tea was farmed in that area.
On the left, something hot. On the right, cold prevails.
I was really surprised by the difference in color and opacity from the beginning of this little comparison. For some reason, the hot tea wound up significantly lighter in its shade of green but also displayed a consistency that was much more opaque. The cold tea was so much darker than the warm tea that I would never have assumed these two tea bags came from the same exact package.
The more important and also surprising difference was the flavor. As a warm tea, this beverage met the expectations I have come to have for green tea from Shizuoka Prefecture. It was rich with a nice depth of umami flavor but without significant bitterness, sweetness, or dog-food-like background flavors that cheaply and poorly made green teas tend to have.
While the cold beverage lacked the rich umami flavors of its warm counterpart, it was still quite refreshing, but not in a way that was terribly distinct from drinking a glass of water. For cold preparation, I recommend a longer steeping time or perhaps only drinking it as a less band alternative to water. Another option would be brewing the drink warm and letting it cool naturally, which might also provide a richer flavor at the colder temperature.
This post is supported by Shizuoka Green Tea Guide, one of City-Cost's Supporters helping City-Cost bloggers to enjoy life in Japan and engage in new experiences.
A working mom/writer/teacher, Jessica explores her surroundings in Miyagi-ken and Tohoku, enjoying the fun, quirky, and family friendly options the area has to offer.