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MATCHA 101

Matcha is a finely powdered green tea made from shaded tea leaves! [MA = powdered + CHA = tea] Its origin goes back to ancient China, where monks developed the way to grow & grind tea as a health elixir & a perfect companion to meditation. The zen monk Eisai first took tea seeds & the knowledge of tea cultivation to Japan in 1191. Over the years, generations of tea masters developed matcha into an important part of Japanese culture through the tea ceremony. Today, matcha’s popularity is booming because of its delicious taste, huge health benefits & growing interest in eastern philosophy & culture.



MATCHA VOCABULARY


Chanoyu - the way of tea (chadao, sado)

Chawan - tea bowls of various shapes & sizes depending on the seasons & also whether thick or thin tea is served

Chashaku - matcha spoon made of bamboo with a nodule at its center

Chasen - matcha whisk created from a single piece of bamboo

Natsume - tea caddy for thin tea, usually hand-carved from bamboo or wood & laquered

Chaire - tea caddy for thick tea, usually made of ceramics & traditionally with an ivory lid & gold leaf on the inside

Hishaku - a bamboo ladle used to pour hot water from the kettle into the tea bowl

Fukusa - silk cloth used for purifying natsume and chashaku & to hold the hot kama lid

Futaoki - kettle lid & ladle rest often made of bamboo, porcelain or ceramic

Furo - portable brazier of bronze, iron or clay used in spring & summer

Kama - round kettle, usually made from iron or copper & used to boil water for tea

Kensui - wastewater container

Yakan - water pitcher

Kaishi - paper napkins upon which sweets are presented

Shifuku - a protective bag for the chaire

Kobukusa - thick, elaborate silk square brought personally by the host & guests

Mizusashi - a lidded container for cold water made of various materials & mostly used to refill the kama

Ro - sunken hearth used during autumn & winter

Sumi - charcoal

Kusenaoshi - matcha whisk stand

Chabana - tea flowers

Chashitsu - tea room

Chaki - tea implement

Chakei - more casual tea ceremony with sweets

Chaji - formal, full length tea ceremony with two types of matcha, a “kaiseki” meal

& art appreciation

Chajin - master of the tea ceremony

Koicha (thick matcha) - 3-4 g matcha / 30ml water / 32-50 prong whisk

Usucha (thin matcha) - 1,5-2,5 g matcha / 65ml water / 80-120 prong whisk

Wa Kei Sei Jaku - harmony, respect, purity & tranquility

Tencha - finished shaded tea, ready for the stone mill

Tencha-ro - special furnace for tencha



MATCHA PRODUCTION


MADE IN THE SHADE

About a month before harvesting, the entire tea field is covered with shade cloth or traditional straw mats to block out most of the sunlight.


GREEN UMAMI

Shading forces the tea plants to make their leaves big, flat, thin & full of green,

nutritious chlorophyll & relaxing, umami L-theanine.


THE PICK

The tea leaves are harvested by machine or, very rarely, by hand when they

are still tender & young.


STEAM & HEAT

The leaves are quickly steamed (about 20 sec.) to develop their flavor & to preserve their brilliant green color.


THE WIND RISES

The leaves are then tumbled & fanned with warm air in the 'tencha-ro,' which separates the matted leaves, dries them out & removes some of the stems & veins.

The tea is now 'tencha'.


TAKE A REST

The finished tencha is stored in air-tight bags & allowed to rest & mature.


THE GRIND

The tencha is slowly ground into a super fine powder on traditional stone mills. The slow-moving stone keeps the temperature low,

preserving the color & taste. The result is MATCHA!



MATCHA HEALTH


10+ times more nutrients than regular green tea

super high in catechins = super potent antioxidants

burns fat & promotes weight loss

gives you great skin

reduces risk of heart disease

prevents & fights cancer

high chlorophyll = body detox

benefits exercise performance

lowers risk of type 2 diabetes

improves immune system function

L-theanine promotes calm & reduces anxiety



MATCHA PREPARATION - TRADITIONAL


STEP I

soak your new chasen in warm water for about 1/2 hour.

this unfurls & cleans the tines & makes them more pliable -

perfect for a frothy traditional bowl of matcha.


STEP II

pre-heat your matcha bowl with hot water.

decant this liquid & wipe your chawan dry.


STEP III

add two chashaku scoops (about 2 g) of matcha through a sieve into

the middle of your chawan.


STEP IV

slowly pour 65 ml water at 80°C into your matcha bowl -

preferably around the heap of matcha powder.


STEP V

use “M” or "W" motions to first slowly whisk your matcha.

speed up your movements until you are satisfied with the amount of foam.

(try to only lightly sweep your chasen on the bottom of the chawan)

next, whisk only the top layer to create a creamy microfoam.

lastly, lift your chasen out from the center after one last circular motion.

Enjoy!


STEP VI

rinse your chasen & chawan with warm water or whisk a bowl of warm water. discard this water, wipe your chawan dry & place chasen on a kusenaoshi to dry.  

wipe your chashaku with a dry cloth to keep its shape & the matcha powder dry.

never use chemicals or even soap to clean your tools!



MATCHA PREPARATION - LATTE hot


sift 2 - 3g matcha powder into a mug or matcha bowl

add 50ml water at 80°C & mix well with a bamboo or electric whisk

foam 200ml milk of your choice & add to your "matcha shot"

Enjoy!



MATCHA PREPARATION - LATTE iced


sift 3g matcha powder into a small pitcher

add 50ml water at 80°C & mix well with a bamboo or electric whisk

fill a pretty glass with ice cubes & add 200ml milk of your choice

pour your "matcha shot" over the ice & milk

Enjoy!



MATCHA STORAGE


Matcha powder is very delicate & therefore prone to oxidation.

That's why it is often sold in smaller quantities to preserve its vibrant color

& nutritional value. It should always be consumed as quickly as possible!


DAILY MATCHA FANATIC

If you are a daily matcha consumer, just keep your powder stored

in an airtight tin or jar away from moisture, heat & light.

Your matcha will be fine like this for a month or two!


ONCE A WEEK MATCHA LOVER

If you enjoy a bowl of matcha around once a week, keep it in the fridge.

Store the container in an extra airtight bag to make sure no odors can get to it.

Let it reach room temperature - about 1 hour - before opening the container!


OCCASIONAL MATCHA CONNOISSEUR

If you’re only consuming matcha every once in a while, store it in the freezer.

Be sure to put it in an extra bag & store it away from strong scents.

Wait about 12 hours before opening it to avoid condensation!



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