Matcha Tea (抹茶) has been grown and cultivated in China, Japan and other Asian countries for centuries. The natural caffeination of Green Tea combined with the existing health benefits makes Matcha a growing trend in the US and worldwide.
The Kansai region of Japan has been a source of Matcha Green Tea since before the Edo period of Japanese history, spanning over some 500 years and several generation of farmers, merchants and consumers. Over time, the Uji district just outside of Kyoto developed into the heartland of Matcha Tea farming, cultivation and distribution, and Kansai Matcha followed.
Japanese farmers harvest Matcha Green Tea in the early summer months, after a special regimen of fertilization and preparation whereby the crops are shaded from the sun using kanreisha (寒冷紗) curtains in order to enhance both the flavor and increase in the amino-acid L-theanine. The Matcha harvest is an intense time when farmers work furiously to gather the best Matcha Tea leaves from the crop within a few days.
Matcha Green Tea is processed from leaves to powder in a four step process first developed in 1763 by Nagatani Sohen.
1. The leaves are steamed for 30 minutes
2. Kneaded together for an hour or more.
3. Rolled into thin strips.
4. Finally, the leaves are dried before sorting for packaging.
The process is not overly complicated, but is very interesting, and will only be done well by someone with years of experience. Thankfully, you get to skip this step and enjoy our high-quality, ready-to-consume Matcha Powder!
Now you have a choice to make - are you going for a weaker Matcha brew called 'Usucha' (薄茶) that is light bodied, and served with a thick froth,
or do you prefer a stronger Matcha brew called 'Koicha' (濃茶) that is bolder with a creamy texture?
For Usucha, you will need about 80ml of hot water for a single cup of tea, and for Koicha you will need about half of that or 40ml for one cup of tea.
Boil filtered or purified water to a temperature between 180F and 200F degrees -- slightly lower than ideal coffee brewing temperatures. Fill a cast iron kettle for serving the water, and to keep the water at the right temperature while you prepare the tea mix.
Matcha is a powder-based tea, and for the best results, you should always use the driest, freshest powder. If needed, we recommend purchasing one of our many sifters which can be used to remove any clumps from the Matcha powder itself..
Into your tea cup, pour 1 teaspoon of dry Matcha powder.
For Usucha, you may want to use less matcha powder. And for Koicha, try using more generous amounts of Matcha powder.
Using your Kettle, pour the hot water into your tea cup, slowly, making sure you are fully saturating the Matcha powder.
Finally, using a 'Chasen' (茶筅) Bamboo Whisk, stir up the saturated Matcha powder.
For Usucha, you will want to whisk more briskly to break up the proteins of the tea and create a rich foam head. You may find that putting your Matcha Powder in a bowl to whisk, before transferring to your tea cup, works better.
For Koicha, you will want to whisk slowly and evenly to enhance the flavor of the natural tannins in the tea. Give the tea 3-5 minutes to steep.
Setting the Tea Whisk in it's stand, and Kettle aside, serve your guests, then yourself, a hot cup of Matcha Tea. Enjoy your healthy cup of Matcha -- slowly.. as it sits in your system better. And don't forget to relax, for you have now made your first cup of Matcha Green Tea!
Japanese save their Matcha in an air-tight (typically stainless steel) container called a 'Chazutsu' (茶筒). This helps to keep the tea fresh, but also to help keep it in electro-static powdered form, which helps enhance the flavor of the Matcha Tea.
Keep your powder dry. Refrigerate as needed for storage but be sure to bring your powder to room temperature before brewing.
All utensils, cups and tools necessary in the preparation and serving of Matcha, including Matcha Powder itself, can be found in our store.