Mattcha Yearly Blind Tasting

// Published October 27, 2022 by mgualt

I like to keep traditions going, and one that has been forming quietly is my yearly sample exchange with Mattcha. This term has been extremely busy for me and so I have been quite slow in comparison to him — he’s already done!

With the extra time, though, I did drink through his samples many times, they are pretty much all gone now.

  1. Beta

Beta, shown above, has a blend of very dark oxidised leaves and crispy green leaves.

Immediate rich savoury and thick greenish notes. Clean liquor, sweet aftertaste. Something a little odd, maybe some Tiekuanyin aroma. There is a familiar wild tea note, perhaps this is a blend of wild teas. It reminds me a bit of Yangqing Hao Yehgu. Frisson and eye clarity. Lots of oomph. Warming. Throat cooling in the late aftertaste. Fine chalky astringency. Ear heat. This is a strong tea, with quite odd character. I can’t say that I’ve had it before, at least I don’t believe so.

2. Gamma

Gamma, shown above, is quite young, with plenty of tomato vine pungency on the dry leaf. Could be a youngish sheng from 2010-2015? Sweet and roasty wet leaf, slightly green cloudy wash, concentrated and quite green profile. Seems like a 2013 factory production. Brassy, punchy, and quite bitter. It’s pretty nice, not gushu, more of a strong plantation blend with some acridity. I guess this will be quite good in a few more years of warm storage.

3. Delta

Delta, shown above, has quite sweet pungent dry leaf. Also quite young with prominent tomato vine pungency. Quite soapy, lots of saponins in the wash. Good resinous aroma. Excellent resinous sweet aroma on empty cup. Quite rough, lots of astringency, this reminds me of a 2012-14 Dayi 7542. Mid steeps are quite bitter indeed, lots of strength. Jittery, warming, eye clarity. My favourite aspect of this, which goes against it being a recent Dayi, is that it opens the throat and gives a deep feeling. Still quite green and astringent, needs a significant amount of warm storage.

4. Epsilon

Unmistakable Xiaguan style iron cake, very finely chopped, with a quite strong wet storage profile. You can see the silvery glossy sheen on the dry leaves above. Vanilla, geosmin, with lots of medicinal herbs and resinous smokiness. It’s hard to tell how old this is, as it probably had early wet storage followed by a long period of dry storage. So it could be 90s or early 2000s.

5. Zeta

Zeta seems to be a tuo, lots of sweet wood and fruit compote on the wet leaf. Quite pulverized, could easily be a Xiaguan tuo. Strong astringency and bitterness, Brassy, lots of striking high notes. Roasty rough brassy factory tea, somehow it doesn’t scream Xiaguan so it could be a Dayi tuo from the same period? Not certain. Excellent empty cup aroma, sweet florals and honey. Quite aggressive. The profile would lead me to believe it’s a young tuo, possibly Xiaguan and possibly from after 2010. If the storage has been quite dry, it could be older. Strong tea!


I think Matt was getting ready for winter when he made up this sample set: these are burly, strong, punchy teas! My favourite was probably delta, followed by gamma, followed by zeta, epsilon and finally beta. I am curious to know what these teas are, they were definitely not too familiar to me. Also, many of these struck me as quite young indeed, but that might be the crisp, dry, Canadian storage that is keeping them young and strong.

Thank you to Matt for another intriguing look into the collection of a collector with an obvious penchant for strength and vibrancy, with no fear of wild tea or of wet storage! Cheers and wishing Matt a great end of 2022!

I will make a separate post to reveal the identities of the teas I sent Matt… in a moment!


  1. MattCha
    October 28, 2022 @ 9:56 pm


    All these teas were quite cheap (except the 2001 HK iron) but satisfying and interesting in some aspect which you picked up on.

    Beta- 2010 Da Xu Shan YeSheng 1KG Brick via The Essence of Tea- funny you mentioned the comparison to YangQingHao Yegu because before trying Yegu this was my favourite wild tea!

    Gamma- 2006 Mengku Shuangjiang Arbour King 1Kg Brick from Yunnan Sourcing purchased in 2017 with Kunming storage- it’s got the double dry storage on here for sure.

    Delta- 2008 Shuanjiang Mengku Arbour King 500g cake from Yunnan Sourcing partial Guangdong stored partial Kunming- love your notes and description of this one!

    Epsilon- 2000 CNNP Iron Traditional HongKong storage via Liquid Proust- I have been drinking this one weekly since the temperatures got cool. It’s pretty straightforward wet storage.

    Zeta- 2003 Xiang Yin Spring Toucha via Tea Urchin- powerful, fragrant, dry stored beast. I suspect Kunming dry storage on this one.



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