What is Matcha? Matcha means ground tea and is the Japanese term for the precious powdered green tea. It is traditionally reserved for Japanese Tea Ceremonies. Matcha is made from shade-grown tea leaves also used to make Gyokuro. The preparation of Matcha starts several weeks before harvest, when the tea bushes are covered to prevent direct sunlight. This slows down growth, turns the leaves a darker shade of green and causes the production of amino acids that make the resulting tea sweeter. Only the finest tea buds are hand picked then stone ground to make Matcha. It can take up to one hour to grind 30 grams of Matcha.
How can I determine the quality of matcha? Determine by color. The greener the color, either in powder or prepared cup form, the sweeter the taste of the Matcha. Also Higher quality Matcha will have a fuller flavor than lesser quality Matcha. Higher quality Matcha will also froth up when it is whisked.
Where does Matcha come from? Matcha is grown in Japan. The most famous Matcha-producing regions are Uji in Kyoto, Nishio in Aichi, Shizuoka, and northern Kyūshū. Pure Matcha comes from the Nishio region. The Nishio region is highly regarded as the region with the best weather conditions and the richest soil. Creating perfect conditions for Matcha production.
How do I prepare Matcha? Before adding hot water to Matcha, it is recommended that Matcha is sifted using a tea strainer or a sifter to avoid clumps of Matcha from forming in the tea.
Place about two bamboo tea spoons ( 1/2 to 1 tsp.) of Matcha powder in the bowl.
Add 2 to 3 oz of pre boiling water to the bowl (180F / 80C). Boiling water may not be the most suitable for Matcha because it does not bring out the best flavor and natural mild sweetness of the tea.
Using a bamboo whisk: whisk briskly with the motion of making the letter M or W. Simply an up and down motion will do as well. The whisking brings oxygen into the tea to create a nice frothy layer on the surface with many air bubbles.
Depending on personal preference, add more water to adjust for desired taste.
What are the health benefits of Matcha? Matcha green tea contains higher amounts of vitamins, chlorophyll, amino acids, catechins, polyphenols and other antioxidants in comparison to other tea types. Researches reveal that brewed Matcha contains anti-oxidants and polyphenols about 10 times more than the regular teas. Other studies claimed that the nutritional value present in a glass of brewed Matcha is equivalent to 10 glasses of green tea.