Exploring Matcha Tea
Learn about the tea that has graced the cups of ancient royalty
and health gurus alike.
“The potent powdered tea is the strongest type of green tea offered and is consumed today for its many believed health benefits.”
Matcha is finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea. The green tea plants used for matcha are shade-grown several weeks before harvest. This slows down growth, stimulates an increase in chlorophyll levels in the tea leaves resulting in a darker shade of green and increased production of amino acids and caffeine. The stems and veins are removed during processing, and only the soft, delicate flesh of the tea leaves is used.
Matcha tea is actually a drink where the matcha powder is dissolved directly into the water. The result is a concentrated form of green tea giving you the experience of an enhanced level of flavor and caffeine.
The extra effort required to produce such a fine tea powder are well the elevated costs. As with any tea, its price depends on its quality. The grades of Matcha tea are in general : Ceremonial grade, Premium grade and Culinary grade.
Preparation of Matcha Tea
Bamboo Whisk Method:
- Add the Matcha tea powder to a small amount of hot liquid of choice, using a matcha tea bowl.
- Whisk briskly in a vertical up-and-down direction, not circular, to make a thick, green paste.
- Add remaining hot liquid to the paste, and stir thoroughly. The matcha powder will dissolve quickly and easily
- Sweeten with stevia (vanilla stevia tastes the best), honey, agave, or any sweetener of choice. A sprinkle of cinnamon is perfect with Matcha!
-Due to the “settling” of the fine matcha tea powder in the containers/bags, we recommend “dry” whisking each individual serving of the matcha tea powder in a bowl/cup before adding liquids. The matcha powder can also be sifted using a fine sifter. After dry whisking, the liquids are then added and the matcha drink can be whisked as per usual. This extra, quick and easy step of “dry whisking” will ensure a perfectly smooth, lump-free beverage!
In general, Matcha is expensive compared to other forms of green tea, although its price depends on its quality. The grades of Matcha tea are in general : Ceremonial grade, Premium grade and Culinary grade. Ceremonial tea grade has been used in the Japanese tea ceremonies since the Buddist monks introduced it to Japan in 1191
The Japanese tea ceremony, known as sadō/chadō (茶道, lit., “The Way of Tea”) is centered around mediation and carefully prepares, serves and drinks hot Matcha tea. The use of Japanese tea ceremony became important in culture as it is used for a meditative or transformative purpose. In two ways this ceremony emphasized the importance of simplicity and humility. In the objects and space used for the ceremony and the act of preparing tea for another. The ceremony helps bring an awakening the spirit, helping individuals remember these key teaching.
The following are a few of the essential components:
- Tea cloth (茶巾). A small rectangular white usually linen cloth mainly used to wipe the tea bowl.
- Tea bowl (茶碗 ). Tea bowl used to mix the matcha tea drink
- Tea caddy (茶入). A small lidded container in which the powdered tea is placed in for storing the tea
- Tea scoop (茶杓). Tea scoops generally are carved from a single piece of bamboo. They are used to scoop tea from the tea caddy into the tea bowl.
- Tea whisk (茶筅). This is the implement used to mix the powdered tea with the hot water. Tea whisks are carved from a single piece of bamboo.
Storage of Matcha Tea:
Matcha tea is extremely sensitive to light and heat. The tea leaves are flash frozen as soon as they are picked to preserve freshness, and then ground into a powder and vacuum packed in tins or foil bags Once opened and exposed to light/air/heat, the matcha tea powder will begin to oxidize and degrade rapidly. Try storing your tea in air-tight opaque container or sealed in a dark cool area like a refrigerator.
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