Saturday, January 12, 2008

Sencha Matcha

Tea: Sencha Matcha
Vendor: Wegman's Food Markets, Pittsford, NY / Ito-en
Cost: $2.75/ 2oz.

I happen to have been in NY a bit ago for work and was told to try out the tea bar in a grocery store called Wegman's Food Markets. This was a rather unique experience in and of itself. They had installed a tea bar inside of their store. That was a rather unique experience in and of itself. I ended up bringing back quite a few different teas.

After a bit of research it looks as though their teas are supplied by Ito-en, a company that is more known for their bottled teas than for their loose leaf tea. I don't have any concrete evidence to prove this, but the similarities between their tea that they offer and the lineup offered by Ito-en is very suggestive. Along with one of their suppliers for cookies (http://www.amainyc.com/) also serves Ito-en tea at their cafe. And they list that it is on their menu. Their cookies are delicious by the way.

Anyway to the tea.

This is by no means my favorite sencha, but it is a unique sencha. The processed tea leaves are combined with matcha powder, and guessing by the price of it, the matcha is cooking grade matcha. But it provides a very unique tea experience. There are really two different cups of tea that you get out of two infusions of this tea. The first is a very sweet cup of tea that is predominated by the matcha powder that the sencha is rolled in. Compared to a cup of matcha this is quite bitter (a characteristic of the sencha), but compared to a cup of regular sencha this is very sweet. The second infusion is almost purely sencha, because by this point almost all of the matcha powder was washed off in the fist infusion.

Both the sencha and the matcha are not of any particular quality themselves, but combined make a novel tea experience. While I don't expect that anyone would use a spectacular sencha combined with a high grade matcha to make this experience, this combination will work just fine.

Rating: 6/10

Conclusion: While this is not a spectacular tea experience, it is a novelty. Also at the price this is quite suitable for a daily tea.

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