A Journey Through the World of Tea

Matcha 411

I love matcha. I love everything about it; whether it ranges from the vibrant green color to the distinct vegetal aroma. Ever since I was first introduced to this special treat back in early May, I have been drinking one bowl every day. As a matcha tyro, my goal is to spark your interests in the art of this unique tea.

Origin:

Now, imagine that you are a gyokuro leaf, a special type of Japanese green tea. Your roots are buried deep into Uji earth, a region in Japan where only the best matcha is produced. Fifteen to twenty days before your leaves are picked off; only 10% of sunlight is able to shine through the trees above you. This important step will provide the sweetness and robustness found in your leaves and no where else. Leaf processing begins thereafter where you are steamed and carefully dried. Your stems and veins are removed so only the most delicate parts remain. The end product is ground in a traditional stone grinder and a very fine powder is produced. Hooray, you are now matcha tea!

Preparation: The General Procedure

  • Have all of your utensils CLEAN and READY
    • Japanese Tea Ceremony
      • Chasen|Whisk
      • Chashaku|Bamboo Scoop
      • Chawan|Matcha Bowl
      • Chakin|Hemp Cloth
      • Tea Caddy
      • Ceremonial Grade Matcha
      • Etc.
    • Janna/College Student Prep:
      • Chawan (A tea bowl/cup)
      • Chasen (Whisk)
      • Chashaku (Bamboo Scoop)
      • Filtered Water
      • Matcha of your choice

Note: As a college student, the matcha process can be very expensive; especially in terms of buying ceremonial grade matcha and the associated tea accessories. It CAN be done, I promise! Don’t be afraid of the price, it is well worth it! Also, you can hold back on purchasing specific materials, etc., but always make sure you are using high quality matcha and filtered water for premium results. When I first started, I only had my trusty chasen. Now, I have a chawan, chashaku, and a chasen.

  • The Process
    • Place 3 scoops of Matcha using the Chashaku into your matcha bowl/cup. If using a teaspoon, measure out 3/4ths.
    • Boil water to around 170 ° and measure ~1.5oz.
    • Now add a little bit of water in order to avoid making clumpy matcha. To ensure that the powder does not clump together, I make a paste first. Pour a little bit of the boiling water into the bowl. Use the Chasen to whisk in an “M” shape motion. Do this several times until the mixture becomes viscous.
    • Add the rest of the water, and whisk vigorously. This process should last for a minute or two and there should be a good layer of froth at the top. Your arm should also be tired! For the picture below, I added organic soymilk for a different treat :)
  • Enjoy!
    • Sip it alone, or sip it with others. Personally, I enjoy matcha alone so I can harvest its benefits & experience the Zen. Also, be sure to slip it SLOW! Savor the moment!

Tips for Purchasing Matcha:

  • Know the main differences:
    • Food/Culinary grade: Used in baking in cooking
      • I.E. Yummy Matcha Cupcakes
    • Ceremonial grade: Used for tea drinking
      • Thin (aka Usucha)
        • More common
        • Stronger than thick tea (in terms of taste)
      • Thick (aka Koicha)
        • Made from older tea plants
        • More expensive
        • Sweeter
  • Buy smaller portions at a time:
    • Instead of buying 200g at one time, purchase only 30g at a time so your matcha can be guaranteed fresh
  • Look at the color:
    • Is it bright? Or is it dull?
      • The brighter the green, the fresher it is!
  • Expiration Dates:
    • I’ve found that the more reputable matcha sellers have expiration dates on their products to determine freshness.
  • Review the website:
    • Does the seller claim where he/she gets their matcha?
  • Order from a trusted site:

Enjoy your matcha experience! :)

xoxo,
Janna

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6 responses

  1. I really enjoyed this post! Matcha is delicious, but can be tough on a college budget. Thanks for all the great tips on how to buy good matcha:)

    October 21, 2010 at 3:57 am

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  3. Good day! I simply wish to give a huge thumbs
    up for the nice information you have here on this post.
    I will likely be coming again to your blog for more soon.

    July 25, 2013 at 5:19 pm

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