Expensive? Yes, it is. However, if you are in search of the absolute best matcha available anywhere, online or off, your search is over! Until we started carrying Uji Matcha Manten back in the mid 2000's, this product had never been sold outside of Japan and it is still offered online exclusively by O-Cha.com. A few words about this item...
The first thing you will notice about this matcha is its wonderful aroma. Extremely aromatic!
The grower has an extremely small production, and is currently supplying only the local market with this grade, so the supply is extremely limited. O-Cha.com will have this item in stock as supplies are available, which will can be very hit and miss.
Because of limited space and the age of the tea plants used for this item, the grower will never be able to increase his production.
The typical customer in Japan who purchases this matcha are the tea ceremony instructors - because they know it to be the best.
In the Uji area where this tea is grown, the grower is well known and has written a book on the art of growing Tencha (the tea leaves from which matcha is derived.) He has won numerous awards for his Tencha from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
The taste of Manten is very distinctive and there is no competition for this grade - this is a connoisseur's class matcha. O-Cha.com is the first to carry this matcha outside of Japan. Koi-cha (matcha which is served thick) is sweeter, more milder tasting than regular usucha. Because twice the amount of matcha powder is used to make a thicker consistency, a milder, less bitter product is required, and this usually comes from plants that are at least 30 years old. While you can brew a thick matcha in the normal "thin" manner, the opposite is not true and there are really very few matcha green teas which one can make a true think style matcha. Manten, however, is one of those.
If you wish to brew this in a thick manner, you may want to consider obtaining a tea whisk made especially for koicha
Net weight 30 grams