REVIEW: Ito En Dr. Andrew Weil for Tea Sencha with Matcha

I don’t know much about Dr. Andrew Weil. All I know is that he’s Oprah’s good friend and has a line of Ito En teas with his name on it, like the Ito En Dr. Andrew Weil for Tea Sencha with Matcha.

Of course, I could assume other things about Dr. Weil by looking at his picture below. He could be Santa Claus. His doctorate could be in the Hippie Dark Arts, which uses free love, Grateful Dead albums, and tie-dye t-shirts for evil. His big, thick, white beard looks like it could holds deep secrets, treasure, or know where in the world is Carmen Sandiego.

I wanted to try the Ito En Dr. Andrew Weil for Tea Sencha with Matcha because I love green tea and anything six degrees of Oprah. I’ve bought all the books from Oprah’s Book Club, which have made wonderful dust collectors, and a subscription to O Magazine, because when Oprah says “jump,” I say, “How high and am I going to get a free car if I do?”

Some of you out there might not be familiar with the terms, “sencha” and “matcha.” Basically, they are both Japanese green teas. In Japanese, sencha means “broiled tea,” while matcha means “rubbed tea.” To explain it better, I’ll refer to the Ito En box, which says:

Sencha–Japan’s celebrated loose leaf tea–receives a brilliant infusion of matcha, the prized tea used in the tea ceremony. To create sencha, tea leaves are steamed and then fired to bring out a distinctive taste. For matcha, shade-grown leaves are meticulously processed and stone-ground to preserve its herbaceous vitality. When paired together, the result is a sparkling green with a smooth yet invigorating taste.

As a regular green tea connoisseur, who drinks it for its high concentration of antioxidants, to represent my Japanese background, and to stop my trembling hands when I’m jonesing for some caffeine, I’ve had my share of green tea over the years and I have to say that the Ito En Dr. Andrew Weil for Tea Sencha with Matcha is a good tasting pre-bagged tea.

Having tried matcha in its actual ceremonial Japanese green tea form, I thought the addition of it to this tea would make it very bitter. If you’ve never had green tea from a Japanese tea ceremony, its bitterness is eye-opening, like splashing your face with ice cold water or unexpectedly walking into the sight of a baby popping out of a birth canal.

Thankfully, the Ito En Dr. Andrew Weil for Tea Sencha with Matcha wasn’t very bitter at all. It wasn’t even as bitter as the Japanese green tea I usually drink, although I’m sure it would’ve been if I steeped it a little more than the instructions on the packaging said.

If there’s one thing that’s slightly bitter about the Ito En Dr. Andrew Weil for Tea Sencha with Matcha, it’s the price, which runs around seven dollars for ten tea bags. My usual green tea on sale costs $1.50 for a box of 16 tea bags; however, if Oprah says I need to buy it, I’ll buy it, just like if Oprah jumped into a volcano, I would follow.

Item: Ito En Dr. Andrew Weil for Tea Sencha with Matcha
Price: $6.99 (10 bags)
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 3 out of 5
Pros: Good green tea. Oprah. Easy to drink. Oprah. Has production date printed on it. Oprah. Green tea is full of antioxidants. Oprah. Not as bitter as my usual green tea. I love you, Oprah. Anything six degree of Oprah.
Cons: Significantly more expensive than my usual green tea. The bitterness of matcha from a Japanese tea ceremony. Hippie Dark Arts.

12 thoughts to “REVIEW: Ito En Dr. Andrew Weil for Tea Sencha with Matcha”

  1. He could be a secret junk food junkie, using the profits from his overpriced teas to finance late night McDonald’s runs.

  2. We have worked long years to keep the hippie dark arts under wraps my child, speak of them not! Those who do, are cursed with the smell of patchouli and sandalwood forever embedded in their body odor!
    you have been forwarned!
    –Great tea, but not so great price for a Target product.

  3. Chuck – Maybe it’s to finance the McDonald’s in his beard.

    bikerbabeee – Hmm…Sandalwood might not be so bad. I believe its scent is an aphrodisiac.

  4. Marvo-san,

    I’ve had a another tea company’s version of sencha mixed with matcha, so if you find Dr. Weil’s to be too pricey, you might be able to find something similar at Marukai or another Asian grcoery store. It’ll probably be loose, though, not in tea bags.

  5. Molly – I’m afraid to walk into Marukai because of all the little old Japanese ladies who could hit me with their shopping carts.

  6. Abi Jones – I’m sure it will be equally as good as this one…BUT NOT BETTER…Just equal. 😉

    I am the Eggman – Beef and cheese are the only things I stick inside tacos.

  7. Yeah, I pretty much buy the most popular green tea brand (usually a genmaicha) at the Japanese market for $1.99 for 20 bags. I figure that demonstrates that it’s still protecting my brain from stupid hairbrained tea doctors.

  8. cybele – As long as the tea wasn’t made in China, I think it will be all right. I definitely prefer Japanese green tea over Chinese green tea.

  9. Dr. Weil is a long time natural doctor dude, he’s used to be a regular contributor to Wired magazine and has always been about healthy goodness.

    I just love his beard, he seems like a nice friendly jolly person, but I really have no clue.


    Getting back to tea, I love tea, but none of this bagged stuff. I still will have the bagged variety but I concentrate mostly on loose tea. If you want to get into it more I would suggest getting on the mailing list for Upton Tea.

    The free quarterly catalog is awesome and packed with so much tea that your brain will explode when trying to figure out what you want. Their staff is incredibly helpful, just email them asking for advice and they will guide you in the right direction. A novice couldn’t even hope to wade through their selection, it really is overwhelming. One of the best parts about the store is that they offer cheap sample packs of every single one of their teas so you can try anything out before you buy a tin of it.

    For my first order I picked up three different kinds of Chinese green tea and one Japanese sencha. Just two days ago I put in another order, this time for a selection of four different Indian Darjeelings, one Chinese Pu-Erh, and more of the green tea that I liked from my previous order. I also picked up a Finnium infuser and a tea thermometer. Next time I am going to pick up a digital tea scale.

    A great basic guide to tea making can be found here:

    He goes through all the basics that you’ll need.

    Okay I am done. Get on that mailing list, it really is great.

  10. There are a lot of good green teas out there without spending that price. I have never found a teabag that tastes as great as the loose tea I purchase. I have found several good moderately priced loose green teas at that are way less than 70 cents per serving.

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