Kitano-no-mukashi is one of Ippodo Tea Co.’s matcha for koicha, “thick” tea, and available exclusively in Kyoto.

Of course I wanted to try that!

It would be mean to only try cheaper matcha from Ippodo. High time, therefore, to sample a better quality of matcha from this tea producer.

In this case, with a matcha that is not just higher quality, but also exclusive: Kitano-no-mukashi, can only be bought in the Ippodo store in Kyoto.

Ippodo Store, Kyoto

Kitano-no-mukashi would, going by its price, slot into the range of matcha they offer right underneath their top grade (comparable to the Choan in the range of Marukyu Koyamaen, at least going by the hierarchies of teas shown).

As an usucha, it is elegant, quite full in taste, slightly sweet, and absolutely without bitterness.

I had a slight problem with this matcha (like other Ippodo matcha) tending to form clumps, more so than I am used to from Marukyu Koyamaen matcha, which I use rather more often.

That is not really a problem, though, as it is recommended to sieve all matcha shortly before use.

The aroma is very nice, as is to be expected from such a high grade of matcha.

Kitano-no-mukashi as a koicha is, like many of the teas that can be used like this as well, much more intense in aroma.

Or maybe not intense in the sense that one might expect that word to reflect. Rather, it is intense in the sense of it having a nicely round and full aroma, with a gentle sweetness and elegance.

Interestingly, Kitano-no-mukashi has a flavor, at least to my palate, that I want to label as tart, but not bitter. It is complex in aroma, therefore. Round, sweet – and all with an elegance, a positive fleetingness.