Also known as ‘Powdered green tea’ and traditionally used in ‘Chanoyu’ - the Japanese Tea Ceremony. Matcha has a special spiritual significance in Japan. It is said that a person operating within the rules of Chanoyu finds the five senses working at their fullest.
Matcha first began its rise in the popular Japanese culture through Zen Buddhist Ritual in the 12th Century. By the 13th it has also been embraced by Samurai Warrior Culture, and thus the foundations of the tea ceremony were laid.
Just as Matcha is essential to Japan’s traditional art of the tea ceremony, a cup of Matcha brings about mental concentration, emotional stability, and composure of the mind. Many people are surprised to discovered that matcha comes from the same plant as all other teas (Camelia Sinensis), and is the world’s most nutritious know natural beverage. Unlike black tea and green tea whose ingredients are infused in water and discarded, Matcha has ingredients that can be utilized fully to activate the organic functions of human body. It is a beverage good for both the mind and the body. In addition to the plethora of benefits found in the powerful antioxidant, EGCG, which is found in Matcha, this organic Japanese import has appealed to one crowd in particular; the increasing numbers of holistic, alternative healing, health conscious and Yogi population have all welcomed this high quality green tea into their daily lives because it is commonly known to assist in meditative focus, calming and relaxation. Matcha contains essential vitamins and minerals and has shown long term health benefits due to its many disease fighting nutrients. It has 9 times the beta carotene of spinach, 4 times that of carrots, and approximately 10 times the polyphenols and antioxidants of regular teas.
In making this tea, the tea plants are covered with bamboo mats in the last few weeks of their growing season to promote full flavor. After the leaves are plucked, they are immediately steamed to spread the chlorophyll throughout the leaves and stop any oxidation. The leaves are then dried and rapidly cooled. The resulting dried product is called rough tea, or Aracha. Aracha is then cut into small pieces and the twigs, veins and stems are removed. The leaves are dried again and the resulting product is known as Tencha. Tencha is then ground by stone mills in a climate-controlled, clean room to produce Matcha. A single mill can only process 40 grams of leaves per hour.
The physical and mental benefits associated with the matcha experience have also encouraged creative thinkers and culinary artists from all professions to find multiple uses for this pure green tea. Ice cream makers, chefs, bakers, and creative culinary types foodies across the world are increasingly using gourmet quality matcha. Matcha green tea recipes include everything from green tea latte and green tea smoothies to dessert matcha and ice cream matcha. It is an understatement to say that matcha has come a long way from its sole use in Japanese tea ceremonies.
Matcha has a sweet, buttery, and rich oceanic taste. It is ideally prepared with a bamboo whisk in a bowl. However, it can also be prepared in a variety of drinks, shakes, smoothies, ice cream, cookies and other baked goods.