Every once in a while, a bagged tea really surprises me. Especially when it includes Matcha as a main ingredient in a Nylon tea bag. Matcha fans are now questioning my sanity and people who don’t know what Matcha is are completely baffled (as they must be when they open this package also!) . To keep the matcha “in” the clear Nylon bag they package each bag individually. The matcha in this case was mixed with a smooth and very grassy sencha.
ITO EN has made two understatements in this tea – this tea is very VERY green, and very VERY Japanese. Bringing together the essence of arguably the two most popular teas from Japan – matcha and sencha, it gives this tea the sweet, deeply vegetal flavor of matcha along with the grassier, more mellow flavor of the sencha. The result is a mild but sweetly green brew that is above and beyond most bagged green tea blends.
ITO EN actually produces the tea, however it is Kirkland Signature (Costco) brand. This tea is described as:
This Green Tea is 100% grown and processed in Japan. The Japanese method of processing tea uses steam to stop the fermentation process – unlike the Chinese method which calls for pan-frying the tea, the result is a lovely green color and a consistent flavor that, unlike other brands of green tea, is neither bitter, nor fishy cup after cup. In keeping with Japanese tradition, Kirkland Signature Green Tea is gently steamed, rolled and then dried. This minimal processing stops the oxidation and preserves the freshness, aroma, and color of the tea leaf. The nylon tea bags ensure that paper flavor does not interfere with the flavor of the tea. The tag has a slot pre-cut in it to fit on the edge of your cup so the string doesn’t need to be long enough to flop over the side. Green Tea is a proven source of antioxidants, which promote eye health and aid the immune system.
The instructions on the bag suggest brewing this tea for a mere 30 seconds before removing the tea bag. If you do this, you will not only miss the full lovely green flavor of the blended teas, but you will probably have a hard time discerning absolutely any flavor at all. My suggestion is more along the lines of 3 minutes, and if you like your tea really strong, up to 5 minutes. The flavors are indeed a very lovely balanced blend, and I definitely recommend this as a great anytime green tea. Available online and through Costco outlets.