What is Matcha? – Tea n' Joy
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What is Matcha?

Matcha is a fine green tea powder used for drinking or cooking and has recently gained popularity in North America as a top trending food for 2015/16. Yes indeed, Matcha is showing up everywhere, but did you know it has been around for thousands of years?

The tea plant, Camellia Sinensis, was first cultivated in southern China and has since become a well-traveled and very popular species.

Tea had been introduced into Japan by Buddhist monks in the 9th century, but in about 1190 the Legendary Zen Monk Eisai brought green tea seeds for planting in the temple grounds. Monk Eisai is believed to have planted green tea seeds in the temple grounds in Kyoto, Japan. He was the first to encourage the cultivation of tea gardens in Japan, as well as tea-drinking for improved health among the samurai class and gradually this developed into a ceremonial practice. Eisai also introduced Zen philosophy to Japan.

But tea has many destinies. It is grown in vastly different environments, and most of it is processed, dried, smoked or flavored, bagged, boiled or infused.

Matcha is the purest form of green tea and, from seed to cup, has had a significantly more gentle history.

Drinking Matcha involves consuming the whole leaf rather than just the infused liquid, as in other forms of tea. The word 'Matcha' literally means 'powdered tea'. Its differences lie in its careful cultivation and preparation. Its widely recognized and unparalleled health benefits come from its high levels of nutrients and antioxidant properties.

Authentic Matcha is made from tea leaves called "tencha." Tencha is grown in shade 21-30 days before harvest. During the shading process, the tencha leaves develop more chlorophyll and L-Theanine, giving it that vibrant green and sweet taste. Producing tencha is more time consuming and higher in costs. Some companies use "sencha" to make their Matcha. What is sencha? They are also tea leaves from the same plant Camellia Sinensis, however it is grown in direct sunlight. Production costs of sencha is much lower than tencha. Sencha will taste bitter and has a lower L-Theanine content.

 

Traditional Method

What you need: Matcha Bowl (Chawan), Matcha Whisk (Chasen), Bamboo Scoop (Chashaku), Small Sifter

1. Warm up matcha bowl and bamboo whisk. Place whisk in bowl and fill ¹/3 of bowl with hot water. Let it sit for 1 minute, discard water. Dry bowl with clean cloth or paper towel.

2. With the bamboo scoop place 2 scoops of Midori Spring Matcha through a small sifter into bowl to avoid clumping.

3. Pour 60mL/2oz of hot water (72-76°c, 162-169°f) into bowl and whisk briskly in a “W” motion until fine foam appears. The whisk should not scratch the bottom of the bowl.

4. Sip and Enjoy!

 



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