Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Ippodo Tea

On Sunday, I had the absolute pleasure and good fortune to be invited to visit Ippodo Tea in midtown for a class on green tea and matcha. The store opened last April and is now celebrating its one year anniversary.

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Our very helpful guide had props and explained the various types of green tea.

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We were able to taste gyokuro and sencha side by side, which helped us taste the difference.

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There was also this helpful chart of the different types of matcha available – at the 12 o’clock position is the best, strongest green colored one. The 11 o’clock is yellowy, weakly green, and the lowest grade on the chart.

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The vice president of the company demonstrated how to properly make matcha using the chasen, or special matcha whisk. Essentially it’s a motion of the wrist, a bit of a flicking back and forth, in an “M” motion on the bottom of the bowl. Not rotating or swirling!

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We were then invited to do it ourselves. A note: you don’t need a dedicated matcha bowl, but you want one with a wider bottom than your average mug or tea cup. You need enough surface area to work with!

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How did I do?

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We were given small cubes of red bean jelly, which was the perfect dense, mildly sweet little treat to go with the bowl of matcha – which was delicious. It took all the bitterness of green tea – which I adore – but with smooth edges, very balanced and just… delicious.

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Then we enjoyed a cold koicha, which was prepared much thicker – suggested to be used as a sauce for cheesecake. The palate cleansing properties of matcha were touted as well. We were served a bit of dark chocolate (Mast Brothers, in case you’re wondering), and a rice cracker. This was interesting, but I definitely preferred the bowl of matcha to this one.

Extremely good tips:

  • Every tea has its own brewing time; the hotter your water, the shorter the brewing time.
  • Boiling water is 100c. Pouring it into an empty cup lowers the temperature by about 10 degrees so it will be 90c. Into a second cup? 80c. This is a good, fast way to estimate the temperature if you need to reduce it a bit to brew the tea you’ve chosen.
  • Matcha is super healthy, and a great palate cleanser as it resets your palate with each sip.

I found the class super helpful and interesting; I learned that preparing matcha at home is not scary and doesn’t require your own tea master! I definitely plan on preparing matcha at home for myself from now on.

How do you like your green tea?

Ippodo Tea Co. on Urbanspoon

Please note that I attended this event as press. I was under no obligation to post about it nor did I receive any monetary compensation.

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3 Responses to “Ippodo Tea”
  1. CheeeeEEEEse says:

    Obligatory comment.

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  1. [...] he urged me to give it another try. When I found myself a few blocks from the Midtown East location on Sunday, I sucked it up and popped in for a sandwich. $8.50, plus tax so $9.25 is what I forked over for [...]



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