The drink of choice for dedicated monks, and centre of one of Japan’s most revered ceremonies, Matcha’s the humble green tea powder causing a stir throughout the world.
Matcha is high quality green tea carefully ground into a powder. This powder is then whisked directly into hot water or milk to create a vibrant green elixir with more benefits than you can poke an infuser at.
But before we get into the benefits and how to actually enjoy drinking it, let’s take a look at how it’s grown.
Picture this: an abundantly green rolling tea garden somewhere in Japan. There are temples nearby, and quiet, focused tea workers going about their business in the fields. The process of making Matcha starts out pretty much the same as any other tea. But with three weeks left on the tea harvesting calendar, shade cloths are put over the plants. This filters out about 90% of the sunlight, encouraging the plants to create more chlorophyl, influencing the benefits and flavour compounds. Once done, the leaves are picked and steamed, with stems and veins removed, creating what’s known as tencha, before being safely tucked away in cold storage.
They’re then slowly ground into a super fine by traditional stone machines. Slowly is the key word here – grind it too fast and you risk creating too much friction, which will generate heat and destroy the quality of the leaves.
At T2, our Matcha is ceremonial grade. This means it’s of a much higher quality, with a smoother, richer and more vibrant colour. Food grade, on the other hand, which is used in cakes, cafes etc, will give you that Matcha taste, but doesn’t have the same refined flavour profile.
We also get our friends in Japan to grind our Matcha on demand. This delivers the optimum flavour profile, with all those benefits intact. And in case you were wondering, you can detect the quality of a Matcha by the colour of the powder – it should be a vibrant, bright green, never dull or brownish. Speaking of benefits, read on to explore why Matcha is so good for you, and how best to enjoy all its perks.
Our sommelier says
“When you want the Zen and focus of a monk in the modern world, whisk up a Matcha.”
Cool, calm & energised
The combo of caffeine and L-theanine in Matcha buddy up to give you a slower release of energy. This means no caffeine jitters, but also means you can power on for longer. Way back in the day, Matcha was originally used by Zen monks for exactly that purpose – to give them a calm alertness and sustained concentration for long periods of meditation.
Whole leaf goodness
The beauty of Matcha is that rather than brew then discard the tea leaves, you consume the whole lot – benefits and all. This means you’re more likely to enjoy all the good stuff Matcha has to offer. It also means less waste. Win win!
Get your greens in
In most Western cuisines, there isn’t as much emphasis on the use of bitter foods as there is in a lot of Asian cuisines. This means we’re often not as familiar with bitter flavour profiles. While Matcha is naturally vegetal, slightly savoury and with a slight bitterness, using quality, high grade Matcha and preparing it correctly will minimise any bitter experiences.
If you’re just getting started with Matcha, our sommelier has a few tips. First, try making Matcha into a latte. The milk will soften and sweeten the Matcha. Make sure not to add too much to begin with, but to start small and increase the amount of Matcha as you decrease the amount of milk. Having a traditional bamboo Matcha whisk also goes a long way. Simply mixing Matcha with a fork or spoon won’t deliver the same balanced, exceptional flavour.