The good folks at Naoki Matcha recently offered to send me three samples of three new blends that they were thinking of selling in exchange for sharing my thoughts on the them. Those three blends were: Uji Harmony, Nishio Bloom, and Wazuka Hilltop.
I will share my thoughts on each matcha individually, and I also did a blind tasting of all three at once and will share my thoughts on that as well. Let’s start off with the Uji Harmony.
I brewed all three at 180F hand whisked with two chasaku scoops of matcha each.
The Uji Harmony was quite a punch to the face right off the bat. This one is very strong and quite intense. There was a strong vegetal and grassy note and a fair amount of bitterness as well. There was a slight bit of sweetness on the end. But overall, this one was just too intense for my liking.
I ended up pouring it over ice to see if that would tame it a little bit. It definitely cut the bitterness was the grassy note was still quite strong.
One thing I noticed, however was a very strong energy boost after drinking this one. Don’t drink it right before bed like I did!
Now for the Nishio Bloom:
The Nishio Bloom was less bitter, had a thicker texture, and was sweet. I really enjoyed this one all around. It lifted my spirits and my energy levels as well. I think this one would be suitable for koicha and I hope to try that again really soon. Two thumbs up for Nishio Bloom!
Now the Wazuka Hilltop:
Now this one was interesting. Not so much for the taste, but how it made me feel. The taste was like a thick brothy savory bow of goodness. It wasn’t sweet like the Nishio and it wasn’t bitter like the Uji, this one was the Goldilocks of the bunch. I noticed an instant boost from the caffeine on the first sip, but right after that I felt a really intense feeling of calm and focus. This matcha made me want to get serious and get down to business. It even got me feeling philosophical – one thing I wrote down was this is the matcha you need not the matcha you want. As I generally prefer sweeter tasting teas to vegetal, but this one just hit differently. If you need to get something done, I say go for the Wazuka Hilltop.
Again these were all gifted to me so I can’t comment on the price but they all definitely seem to be high quality and worth a decent amount of money.
Now for the blind tasting. I wanted to taste all three together to see if I still prefer the ones I had higher remarks about, and also to test myself to see if I can taste the difference from memory.
I went ahead and whisked them up with the name in front of the bowl, then asked the lovely Mrs. TeaJourney to mix them up for me and write them down on a piece of paper while I was in another room. I then wrote my guesses down on paper to see if I guessed correctly.
I had her pour them into glasses so that I wouldn’t be able to tell from the foam. I thought A was sweet and slightly vegetal with a sweet finish. B was thick and creamy but not sweet but good. C was more grassy and bitter but much better when it cooled off. I thought A was Nishio Bloom, B was Wazuka HIlltop, and C was Uji Harmony.
I owe Uji Harmony another chance. I was wrong on Uji and Nishio. I thought the Uji was as good or better than the Nishio when I tasted them blind. I got the Wazuka Hilltop right though, so at least I can tell sweet from not sweet.
In the end, they are all very good matchas in their own ways and they are all worth a second chance if you don’t like it the first time you try it. I would say that goes for all teas as well, not just matcha.
I want to thank Naoki Matcha again for sending me these samples. I will keep drinking them and if I have any more revelations I will be sure to share them. Cheers!