Matcha, the finely ground green tea powder, is a popular drink among tea lovers worldwide and has become a symbol of Japanese tea culture. However, like any other tea, different grades, techniques, and making processes can impact the flavor and quality of Matcha. In this blog post, we will introduce you to the fascinating world of Matcha tea and how to choose the best Matcha that suits your taste buds. Join us on this journey as we uncover the secrets of Matcha tea making.
When it comes to preparing matcha tea, there are various unique techniques involved, each requiring its specific set of instruments. To achieve the perfect bowl of matcha, three essential utensils are needed: the whisk, the bowl, and the spoon. Whisks, also known as chasens, are meticulously crafted from a single piece of bamboo and come in different sizes to create varying thicknesses of tea froth, known as matcha mousse. Additionally, the bowls, or chawan, are available in a range of sizes and designs, typically made from ceramic, porcelain, or earthenware. Lastly, the teaspoon, or chashaku, plays a crucial role in ensuring the accurate measurement of matcha powder.
Matcha tea originates solely from the Camellia sinensis tea leaves; however, its production undergoes a unique cultivation and processing method. The tea plants are carefully shaded for at least 20 days before harvest to increase the chlorophyll content, resulting in leaves that boast a vibrant green hue. Following this, the leaves are handpicked with great care, steamed, and dried using hot air. Once dried, the leaves are slowly and meticulously ground to create the fine matcha powder. Finally, the matcha powder is sifted through a fine sieve, ensuring a smooth and velvety texture.
Matcha tea is graded based on its quality, flavor, and color, offering various options to suit different preferences. There are primarily three grades of matcha: ceremonial grade, premium grade, and culinary grade. The ceremonial grade stands as the highest quality, exhibiting a bright emerald green color, delicate sweetness, and a smooth texture. On the other hand, the premium grade presents a slightly bitter taste, a greenish color, and a mildly coarse texture, often serving as a suitable substitute for the ceremonial grade in tea ceremonies. Lastly, the culinary grade, considered the lowest quality, is primarily used for cooking and baking due to its yellowish color and robust flavor.
While matcha and green tea are both derived from the same tea plant, they differ significantly in terms of preparation and taste. Green tea leaves are steeped in hot water and then removed, resulting in a milder taste and lower bitterness compared to matcha. On the other hand, matcha powder is mixed with hot water to create a frothy, vibrant drink. Since matcha involves consuming the whole leaf instead of just infusing the leaves, it is more concentrated and contains a higher caffeine content than green tea.
In conclusion, matcha tea stands as a unique, flavorful, and healthy beverage that has gained increasing popularity worldwide. Its distinct preparation techniques, various grades, and meticulous processing contribute to the creation of matcha with distinctive flavors and textures. Many individuals enjoy matcha not only for its numerous health benefits but also for its calming effect. So why not incorporate matcha into your life and indulge in the enriching experience of Japanese tea culture!