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I love tea! More specifically, I love Matcha.
Matcha is a powdered green tea that is mostly grown and produced in Japan. Because these specially grown green tea leaves are kept in the shade and protected by the sun during their last few weeks of growth, the chlorophyll content tends to increase and create a beautiful emerald-green color. The leaves are carefully hand-picked, collected and then very gently ground with stone grinding wheels to produce a fine powder, also known as matcha Green Tea.
It was brought to Japanese Zen monks in the 12th century and have been using it ever since to reach a calm awareness. It is also known that matcha is what the Samurai drank.
Unlike the traditional tea that is steeped and strained, matcha powder is able to be consumed right after blending. You only need a half a teaspoon to brew a time-honored cup of matcha.
This delicious Japanese tea is high in antioxidants. It has been proven that the benefits of one cup of matcha is equivalent to those of 10 cups of regular green tea. Matcha also has 137 times more polyphenols than regular brewed & steeped green tea. In fact, matcha contains over 60 times more antioxidants than spinach. There have been studies done that have suggested that these polyphenols may have a protective effect against some types of cancer.
There are countless websites that have anything and everything you ever wanted to know about matcha; the history, health benefits, ceremonies, where and how it is specifically grown and produced, and even the latest trends. I am hoping you will find this blog fascinating and even a little different from others you may have read. We might get to some of those topics from time to time, but while reading my posts, I am hopeful that you are able to feel the love, passion and excitement that I have for this globally exploding beverage.
For the past few months I have been experimenting with matcha. I have followed recipes found online as well as having created some of my own. I have baked and cooked with it, but my favorite is simply drinking it. I have many recipes and ideas that I am so excited to share with you, but for this first blog post, I think it’s best to tell you how to make a cup of matcha the traditional way.
This process requires traditional Japanese tea tools; a traditional ceramic matcha bowl (matcha-chawan), bamboo tea ladle (chashaku), a bamboo whisk (chasen), and of course, matcha green tea.
Start with one heaping tea ladle (about ½ teaspoon) of matcha and put it into the center of the ceramic bowl. Next, you will add about two ounces of steaming water (not boiling) into the bowl. Be sure to hold the bowl tightly with one hand as you rapidly mix in the water using the bamboo whisk. Use a back and forth motion in the shape of an "m" to really whip the matcha until it is dissolved and has become frothy. At this point, you can drink it as is. But here is something yummy that I like to do. I put a little honey into the bottom of a teacup or coffee mug. I add a little bit more of my hot water and then pour the contents of my matcha bowl into the cup as well. I give it another stir, and then I drink up. Ahhh, it makes me happy just thinking about it!
Of course, if you do not have the fancy traditional Japanese tools, feel free to improvise. Try to use a glass/ceramic bowl with a flat bottom. You can either measure a ½ teaspoon with a measuring spoon or you can guesstimate. A wire whisk will work, although your matcha will not get as frothy as it would if you were to use a traditional bamboo whisk.
Remember, MY way doesn’t necessarily make it the right way. You might want to omit the sweetener or maybe you might want to add real sugar. It’s your drink, make it YOUR way!
The aroma and the taste of matcha is very earthy and grassy. If you like the taste of green tea, you will love matcha. If you are new to tea, just be forewarned that matcha has a robust taste yet very clean. Some of you might need a couple of tries before you begin to appreciate and enjoy the taste, but whatever way you choose, the benefits are incredible.