I was asked to review their product and was given this package. I am neither paid or sponsored by the company to write this review. I am very honoured and happy to be asked to do this review! but I will be giving my unedited and honest review.
First of all, as a designer, I am already a bit thrown off by the packaging design. There is nothing wrong with the packaging if they are just trying to get their product as an average item, but it doesn’t scream high-end quality from the metallic zip lock bag.
I am not an expert on matcha, though I feel I should know more since I come from the land where they originated. One of my best friend works for a company that deals with coffee and tea, especially matcha in particular. He talked about the importance of colour, bitterness, sweetness and origin.
I was skeptical to also see that this product is from China. Even the friend who himself is Chinese said ‘good matcha is only from Japan!’. Now I know I mentioned that Matcha is from Japan, yes, but if you go back to 60 AD, matcha’s origins actually come from China, when it was first introduced and adopted by Chan Buddhists. It wasn’t until 1191 when a monk by the name of Eisai brought it over to Japan. Ok, so way back then, the idea may have originated from China, but high quality, good matcha has been perfected over the centuries in Japan. Hence, if you’re looking for high quality matcha, it is likely from Japan.
Comparing Esprit (left) and Kiss Me (right)
Upon opening the bag, I noticed that the colour of the powder wasn’t as bright green as the packaging. Even comparing to Esprit Tea which was opened over an year ago (and given to me by the Chinese friend), you can tell that the colour is muted and grey for a freshly opened package.
At $29 for 113 g, it’s on the cheaper side of matcha powder, compared to about $37 for just 30g of Esprit matcha (comes out to $0.26/g for Kiss Me and $1.23/g for Esprit) However, keep in mind that there are two type of matcha. One for ceremonial – which is the higher quality (which Esprit is) and there is the culinary (Kiss Me Organics) which is mostly used for cooking purposes so it tends to be lesser in quality and cheaper.
For my first test, I mixed it with hot unsweetened soy milk. I immediately saw that the drink with Kiss Me Organic matcha became really grey. The taste wasn’t vivid as the matcha I am use to. While the Esprit drink was greener. The winner? Esprit.
Comparing Esprit (left) and Kiss Me (right)
I decided that I would also make one with plain hot water to see the colour. Again, the Kiss Me Organics was a bit greyer and had a much grassier taste. Without the soymilk, it was really bitter and difficult to drink. As I sniffed the cups, I didn’t notice much smell from the Esprit, but noticed a bit of chemical smell from the Kiss Me Organics. So then I sniffed the powder from the packaging and noticed a really strong, repulsive chemical smell, likely from the metallic bag. Yes, I know it’s USDA certified and says it’s organic tea from China, but the unsettling smell put me off. The winner for hot water test? Esprit.
For my last test I mixed them with vanilla ice cream to make matcha ice cream! Again, I would have to say that I prefer Esprit’s authentic matcha flavour seeping through the sweetness of vanilla. The colour was also more appealing. However, perhaps because Kiss Me Organics is meant for culinary purposes, the ice cream made from their powder wasn’t that bad. I made a batch and shared the two at my recent potluck party (whom were not professional food critics or anything). Most liked the Esprit, though some didn’t mind the Kiss Me Organics version.
Esprit on left, Kiss Me on right
So my conclusion? Esprit is the winner. Though it’s quite expensive so it’s not really for your everyday drink kind of thing. Unless you’re a matcha fanatic or get it as a gift, it can really eat up your wallet. Kiss Me Organics on the other hand is affordable, and I assume that most people wont be consuming it with just hot water. You’ll be mixing it in your smoothies or baking it in your cookies or cake. I think I will be eating it with matcha ice cream lol.
Perhaps it’s not fair to compare two types of matcha. As I have mentioned above, using Kiss Me Organics is pretty decent even if it’s not on a par to the higher quality one. I personally am not a super picky matcha person so I would buy Kiss Me Organics over Esprit. The only thing it loses big points from me is the really bad chemical smell from the bag it’s in. It doesn’t smell healthy and I’m not sure if I should transfer it into a different container.
Interested in learning more? Check out another blog which reviews on many, many matcha products out there!