Ikuyo is my first and favorite matcha green tea from the ancient Ippodo tea family, but before the Ikuyo I was having a tea master's reserve matcha from Jade Leaf put as its top tea... created by a really good tea master Kyoguro Shimooka-- whose purpose in creating that tea master reserve matcha was to "express the finest flavor organically grown matcha can achieve." And it equates the Ikuyo.
After being faithful to Ippodo with ikuyo, I was ready to try richer matchas of Ippodo... up the spelled-out totem pole, all of what are Ippodo quality teas, but richer purposed. The teas were also not just for myself... these were for a special family order. I needed to find real japan of heart quality masterful teas for my mom, grandma, and to share around...
The Sayaka looked like the one to try, and at the same time Ippodo released the group serving size (100g) for the already Sayaka tea using the same Ikuyo group serving bag-- so that's what I did... and got the Sayaka along with the Horai and Shoin to see where what went where in tastefulness. Three ippodo matchas to try altogether... and I had three different orders at the same time since it wasn't for me alone.
When it came to the delivery after ordering... Ippodo did something amazing and instead of standard shipping, the three different orders arrived to their very different destinations the same day and my sister's was flown over 1500 miles from lancaster, pennsylvania to north houston, texas. Wow-- Thank you.
Now here is what happened with the matcha teas... and please know that I make matcha not the way supposed to, so... to make matcha I use half a bottle of ice mountain water heated up to where the water is hotter than warm but cooler than hot to burn-- and I mix half a teaspoon of matcha up to a whole teaspoon... and I shake it real good for about half a minute or more but not less.
The result-- I loved the taste of the pure matcha powder of the horai, sayaka, and shoin.
The horai tasted like the sayaka with the pure matcha powder. All three smelled like the Ikuyo but these two tasted rich and smooth over the Ikuyo. The Shoin tasted a little higher than both of them, but with this clarity none had yet... a new quality. And what this new quality of the Shoin was was the rich and replenishing when it was made-- it really has a replenishing nature to it like described.
When I made the Sayaka I was not disappointed, but the way I make matcha is different... so I was not disappointed... but I was also not impressed. Also but... all of the three pure matcha powders was good, so the Sayaka itself is that pure matcha powder- even though when made it came out in every way leaving me feeling something was not what it was supposed to be... so what I did was take a third of a teaspoon of Sayaka and a third of a teaspoon of Shoin with the same half bottle of ice mountain water hotter than warm... and shake....
Both teas resulted in an equation: Shoiyaka = Sayaka + Shoin.
This new Ippodo tea is one that doesn't exist. The purpose of the Sayaka meets what it is in the pure matcha powder taste, and that is all that really means. It is rich and smooth and a heartfelt japan matcha tea in that sense, but I really believe what the Sayaka needs when I make it is mixed with the Shoin. This was what I was looking for in the Sayaka itself, and I am ordering Shoin to share around the other orders of Sayaka so we all make my version of the Sayaka. The Sayaka is the base and the Shoin is the grace. Not in the way of saving face, it just puts it right in place.
Last but not least... My favorite tea by itself when made ended up being the Horai. Really the Horai is like the Shoiyaka but singular instead of a duality with two qualities to it. I really love the Horai but the Shoiyaka has the replenishing quality where the Horai is rich and smooth by itself and perfect without the extra replenishing quality... because I mixed the Horai and Shoin but not reallt as good or any better than the way the Sayaka and the Shoin mixture blend together.
So I needed all three of them... and I still love the Ikuyo and Shimooka-san's tea.
And now after having the Ikuyo, Sayaka, Horai, and Shoiyaka... I want to try the Ummon and Kanza.
And even the light matchas of Ippodo taste pretty good. I had the pure matcha powders of those two, too.
I hope my review is helpful, these teas are all fantastic. Same family since 1717, talk about dedication. (A better working constitution than America since 1776...) Viva Ippodo..
Thank you very much,