Umami in Matcha

Non-oxidized tea
LuckyMe
Posts: 54
Joined: Thu May 02, 2019 3:17 pm
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Thu Aug 01, 2019 8:59 pm

I don't think umami has ever been a dominant component in the matcha I've tasted. Chlorophyll and cruciferous vegetables are the flavor notes that I usually get
cliffjudith
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:43 am
Location: Midlands, England

Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:43 am

I am a little concerned at the odd advice you have been given here. Umami is not a flavour enhancer it is a taste on its own. Sugar, salt sweet, sour are flavours as there are specific receptors on the tongue. Glutamates amin acid derivatives have been found to have their own taste receptor on the tongue and hence is a fifth taste.
Glutamates are from amino acids so have a high nitrogen compound. When you write that you find a fish/salmon taste this is probably a tea defect as some puerhs have a fishy taste. The fish taste comes from breakdown products of amino acids =, one being trimethylamine which is found in poorly stored fish.
Matcha is high in amino acids and polyphenols from the growing process where the bushes are screened from light. This enhances the polyphenol content and the nitrogen is retained in protein/amino acid form and not synthesised into caffeine, the alkaloid with nitrogen that we are all familiar with.
We have evolved to like/dislike certain tastes. Many tannins are poisonous so taste very bitter for repellent purposes. Additionally, tannins complex with proline, another amino acid. This complexing is the first line of defence against toxic tannins. So to protect us humans there are bitter polyphenols for repellency, spitting out, and proline to complex the tannins to bind them up. We do, however like (are attracted) to sweet things as this is where we get energy so foods high in sugars are good tastes, fruits being an example. We all need nitrogen so umami is a taste that we like and is best described as meaty. Marmite is high in glutamates so tastes meaty although it is made from yeast. This is a good umami example and matcha will have a slight meaty, marmite, bovril taste note in amongst the bitter, sweetness.
It is meat not an enhacer of other tastes. It has the property of positive allelopathy which means humans are attracted to it. We also like the lift of caffeine and other methylxanthines such as theobromine whereas theobromine in chocolate, caffeine in tea/coffee can kill a dog.
I hope this helps.
User avatar
Baisao
Posts: 514
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2017 5:17 pm
Location: Austin, TX

Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:49 am

cliffjudith wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:43 am
I am a little concerned at the odd advice you have been given here. Umami is not a flavour enhancer it is a taste on its own.
I don't think there is cause for concern. I think most of us agree that umami is not a flavor enhancer, but flavor enhancers often use glutamates for its umami flavor.

Thanks for elaborating on nitrogen in tea production. It's fascinating.
User avatar
pedant
Admin
Posts: 830
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 4:35 am
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:30 pm

chofmann wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 12:44 pm
Umami flavor is best described as fat, and is often associated with animal fat, particularly as it relates to broth.

It is not a distinct flavor by itself, per se, but it influences the other key flavors (salt, sour, bitter, sweet).
cliffjudith wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:43 am
Umami is not a flavour enhancer it is a taste on its own. Sugar, salt sweet, sour are flavours as there are specific receptors on the tongue. Glutamates amin acid derivatives have been found to have their own taste receptor on the tongue and hence is a fifth taste.
true, umami is one of the five tastes. i would also agree that it is associated with meat in general and not just fat. i think all animal tissue that uses ATP probably produces 'umamigenic' compounds (because of glutamates and inosinates).

aside: in recent years, i've become more precise in my flavor vocab.
tastes are detected by taste receptors in the mouth, and aromas are detected by olfaction in the nasal cavity. flavor is a more comprehensive sensory impression combining taste, aroma, and chemesthesis.
Post Reply