Only Tenju would still be a higher quality. Aside from that, Choan is at the very top of the matcha from Marukyu Koyamaen – and it shows.
As a top-grade matcha, this tea is made for use as a “thick” koicha, excellent as usucha, and very different depending on that preparation.
Choan as Usucha
My first tasting and trial of Choan was as a “thin” usucha.
In this form, it shows a taste like many a high-grade green tea:
It is excellent like that, in the typical elegant and breezy way. There is a certain sweetness to it, a fine aroma, not a hint of bitterness… but perhaps even too fine an aroma.
Enjoyed this way, the matcha does honor to its name – perpetual peace – in its fleetingness and calm.
Choan as Koicha
Prepared as koicha, Choan was a revelation.
Used in that intensity, the matcha reveals its full aroma, rich in umami, rounded, full, sweet.
The aroma has layers to it, the mouth feel is fine and soft, the flavor clear, strong, and calm and peaceful at the same time.
I am trying to find words, but I was left rather speechless.
Choan is expensive, but it proves for once and all that the different qualities of matcha are for real, and the expensive matcha are worth it.
For a matcha beginner, I would not necessarily recommend this matcha; some experience helps recognize and treasure the differences in aroma between a matcha like this and a cheaper quality.
That said, this would be a much better entry point into the world of matcha than the various cheap teas available only too many a place…