Tsujiri - Matcha Cafe

For those of you who have been waiting patiently, Tsujiri is finally opening on 109 St just a block north of Jasper (a few stores up from Coco Tea). This is a Japanese cafe centred around matcha! The Tsujiri brand originated in Japan and has been around for 155 years with a focus on matcha and matcha products. Almost all the food and drinks here consist of matcha in some way, and those that don't are based on other Japanese food trends like yuzu, black sesame, houjicha and other Japanese teas. The decor of the cafe is minimalistic and has that zen vibe that's pretty typical of an Asian teahouse. There's even a private room tucked away at the back of the store for larger groups.

See below for the full menu! There are also some desserts/pastries in the glass display case (shown above) that are not listed.

At the media event I attended yesterday, we were given a demo of how matcha is prepared. Tsujiri uses only top quality matcha sourced from Uji, Japan.

After measuring out the matcha powder, the demonstrator added hot water and whisked it up with a chasen (the bamboo whisk) until the tea began to foam. Then the foam had to be smoothed out to create small even bubbles. The whole whisking process took more than one minute! The end result is the traditional o-matcha drink which is simply matcha powder and hot water.

For matcha beginners, it would be best to go with a matcha latte as the milk cuts out most of the bitterness from the matcha powder. I tried both the hot and iced version of a matcha latte that is exclusive to Tsujiri Canada: the o-matcha maple syrup and salt latte! I really enjoyed the sweet and savoury combination of the maple syrup drizzle and salt which added a nice depth to the flavour. Also pictured below is the signature matcha soft serve!

There are 2 soft serve flavours available: matcha and vanilla mix (half matcha and half vanilla). Matcha beginners should go for the vanilla mix as the pure matcha might be too intense in flavour. The soft serve (or soft cream as they call it) is available in a waffle cone or as a parfait. I went for the shiratama parfait with vanilla mix. There were surprisingly a lot of sweet red beans and shiratama (mochi) inside of the parfait. I personally enjoyed this because I love red bean and a higher toppings to ice cream ratio, but others didn't share my opinion and thought there was a bit too much red bean. Everyone loved the shiratama though! The soft serve itself was perfect and I think the matcha vanilla blend worked out well, but next time I'll probably go for the pure matcha because I'm a matcha fan!

There are 3 parfaits available, all pictured below (from left to right):
Sakura Parfait - roasted brown rice on the bottom, sweet red beans, shiratama, chestnut, sakura cookie
Shiratama Parfait - sweet red beans, shiratama (about 6 of them!)
Chiffon Cake Parfait - matcha chiffon cake, sweet red beans, cornflakes
I tried a bit of the chiffon cake and thought it tasted more like a citrus sponge cake with almost no hint of matcha. But there was so much matcha flavour in the soft serve itself and the drink I was having that I'm sure I wouldn't have been able to detect a more subtle matcha flavour in the cake. It was a very good cake though with excellent texture, and I almost regretted not getting that instead of my shiratama parfait. But if you love those chewy little mochi, I would definitely recommend the shiratama as mine came with 6 pieces of them!

Now for the desserts and pastries not listed on the menu! The yuzu tart was a favourite among the attendees of the event. This is basically the Japanese version of a lemon tart with a more delicate flavour that's not as sharp as lemon.

Then there's the matcha creampuff with matcha cream filling. I found the cream to be very light, almost like whipped cream, and I could even taste a hint of sweetness. The matcha flavour was still quite pronounced, but I didn't find it too overwhelming.

There were 2 types of daifuku mochi: matcha and kinako. I had high hopes for this as I really love mochi, but unfortunately they were a bit of a letdown. The skin was extremely soft and thin to the point that it was impossible to pick up without it falling apart. It also lacked the chewy mochi texture, so I felt like I was just eating cream filling in a soft wrapper. We shared this feedback with Tsujiri, and we were told that this is a new item and they are still working on perfecting the recipe, so I definitely plan on coming back to try the improved version! I also found the matcha cream filling in the daifuku to be more intense than the one in the creampuff, but that might be because the choux pastry was able to balance out the flavour better.

The kinako daifuku was probably the least popular dessert at the event last night. Apart from the issue with the mochi skin, the filling was a strange combination of whipped cream and kinako paste. The two were not combined but rather in separate layers. Also kinako is definitely an acquired taste, and most of us found the flavour a bit foreign. I can handle it as a garnish (ie. kinako powder on my drink or ice cream), but I didn't enjoy the intense flavour of kinako paste.

Overall I really enjoyed this cafe, but I'm totally biased because I love matcha. All of the food and drinks I tried were excellent with the exception of the daifuku mochi, and as mentioned above they are working on improving that. So definitely give this place a try!

1 comment:

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