Hey there Teacups! Happy Matcha Monday! I’m back today with another Stateside Steeps post and this time around I’m going to be reviewing Naoki Matcha’s – Fragrant Yame Blend (Ceremonial Grade) Matcha. A member of Naoki Matcha’s team reached out to me via email and asked me if I wanted to try some of their Matcha and review them for Matcha Monday and because you all know just how much of a fan of ceremonial matcha of course I said yes. I definitely couldn’t have turned down the chance to try some high quality matcha from Japan and introduce you all to new Matcha Company that showcases just how unique each and every matcha really is.
I posted about the two matchas I received on my Instagram story and asked you all which of the two I should review first and I got quite a few replies telling me to try the Silver Yame Blend first as it’s overall a lighter matcha and a great introduction to Naoki Matcha and I’m so glad I listened to you all and tried this one first.
Here’s what Naoki Matcha themselves have to say about this matcha over on their website: ”This blend is from Yame, Fukuoka. It’s a place renowned for its high quality Gyokuro teas, but many growers there have started producing good matcha too. It’s got a fresh natural sweetness with buttery, floral notes and a huge smooth finish. It won a Silver award at the national tea competition in Japan and its best enjoyed as a matcha tea so that the natural sweetness can be experienced in full without distraction. A great start to the day, always.”
Tea Tasting Notes
For this blend I tried on it’s own with absolutely nothing added to it, but I did make two bowls of this on the day that I did this tasting session so I could try out two different whisking methods. Recently another Tea Lover I follow over on Instagram (@Sylvantea) posted a IGTV video about a whisking method by the name of pond-style whisking which is a method used by her tea school (Omotesenke) and noted the importance of breaking away from the mindset that every bowl of matcha you make has to have a thick froth with even bubbles. Her video taught me something new about matcha and made me stop and think about how much I am yet to learn about tea. At the end of her video she spoke about how pond style whisking results in you experiencing the rich flavour and an intense complex full flavour of the tea. So, I decided for this tasting session that I wanted to try it out and see who it would work with this matcha.
So to whisk this matcha in the pond style Amber says that you are still to whisk you matcha as you normally would with your hand moving in the M/W shape but instead of whisking fast as you normally would to build a thicker fuller froth and instead to be slower and gentle with it to just incorporate the tea and build only a little amount of froth. After doing so once you see you have around 50% froth and 50% not froth to stop and then do one full circle around your matcha bowl to form the pond shape. After I followed what she said in her video this is how my matcha turned out!
I feel like I did pretty well for my first time trying out this whisking method and afterwards I felt much more relaxed, clam, mindful because I had given my mind some time to just focus on one thing only and I really think I needed just that little short focused calm session and I after I had finished I looked back into my bowl to not only see that I had formed a good pond but also that it seemed to me like my matcha was smiling at me which but the biggest smile on my face. It was like a sign from the world that it was happy I had tried something new despite being in lots of pain for days before and feeling rather drained.
This bowl of matcha was amazing and unlike any other bowl of matcha I have ever prepared in my life. Granted this is a lighter matcha on a whole but this bowl definitely had strength to it and was rich, smooth and you really do taste every single aspects of the matchas complex flavour profile. When Naoki themselves said that this matcha had a fresh natural sweetness with buttery, floral notes and a huge smooth finish they were not lying and I think preparing this matcha in a different way allowed me to discover all of those aspects of its flavour profile with every single sip I took. The sweetness was of a level I didn’t expect from a matcha like this and slowly turned into a rich umami note towards the back of the mouth. There is absolutely no bitterness or astringency to this matcha and it’s delightful and so deliciously buttery. It’s unlike any other matcha I have tried before and I understand why it won a sliver award.
This was a much more intense bowl of matcha than I would normally make but I think this was the perfect matcha to try it with as it’s a lighter matcha on the whole so I knew it wasn’t going to be too much of an intense bowl form me. I’m thankful I was able to learn about this whisking method from another tea lover and I’m really excited to try it out with other matchas in the future.
After enjoying my first bowl so much I even made a second and I think both helped me a lot with how drained I was feeling. With the second bowl I prepared the matcha as I normally would with the aim of trying to build a fuller thicker froth and even though it did take me a little while I got there in the end and the resulting bowl of matcha was a much lighter but creamy and with sweet grass notes and a subtly floral underpinning. It has a smooth buttery mouthfeel and it’s definitely a matcha that leans to the sweeter end so of this and the vegetal, umami notes are so far from savoury and a world away from other matchas I’ve had. Just like the first bowl I had there was no bitterness or astringency to it at all. I am yet to have it iced but I think it would be just as delicious iced as it is hot so I’m going to experiment with that over the coming days.
Overall I really do love this matcha and I’m really looking forward to drinking this time and time again when I’m looking for something completely different from every other matcha I have ever tried in my life. For me it’s perfect to drink in the early afternoon and I can’t wait to give this a try iced because the hot days we are having here right now are too much for me and I need lots of delicious iced teas to get me through the day without passing out. Something tells me this would be the perfect matcha for someone who is looking to branch out into the more higher quality matchas but needs isn’t quite ready for the more intense and complex flavours just yet and want to slowly work up to them. Be sure to try this whisk both ways because you need to experience a bowl of pond style whisked matcha its such a different matcha experience and I loved it.
Overall Teacup Rating: 5/5
If you want to find out more about Naoki Matcha and purchase some of this phenomenal matcha for yourself, you can do both here. As always if you have any questions at all either stick them in the comments or send them to me on Twitter/Instagram @teaisawishblog and I’ll do my very best to answer them all as soon as I can.
Speak to you all again soon. Happy Steeping – Kimberley
*The tea featured in this post was gifted to me for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own and have not been paid for*