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Tea Notes

Discover the world of tea, from the history of its cultural significance to the science of its benefits and the art of its preparation.

Welcome to

Tea Notes

Discover the world of tea, from the history of its cultural significance to the science of its benefits and the art of its preparation.

How to Prepare Green Tea
How to prepare matcha tea
How to Serve Tea for the...

How to prepare matcha tea

1 Min Read | September 14, 2018

Matcha has enjoyed a surge in popularity in recent years, thanks in part to its picture-perfect beauty as well as publicity over its many health benefits. Grown in the shade, harvested in the spring, and ground by stone into a light green powder, matcha tea is made from the same camellia sinensis leaves used in regular green tea. What differentiates it from plain green tea is that when we drink matcha, we consume the leaves entirely as a suspension in water, while with other forms of green tea, we drink water infused with the tea leaves’ flavor and discard the leaves altogether.

History of matcha tea

Found at the center of many ceremonial tea rituals throughout Japan since the dawn of Zen Buddhism, matcha is traditionally served using a special series of teaware, including a ceremonial bowl (chawan), bamboo whisk (chasen), and measuring ladle or scoop (chashaku).

Matcha Geisha Sakura 812X422

Japanese outdoor Matcha ceremony

A Buddhist monk introduced the powdered tea from China to Japan in the 12th century, and the tradition of the chanoyu ceremony soon took root. At first, the matcha ceremony was reserved for Samurai warriors and members of royalty, but over time, the masses adopted the practice, weaving it into the country’s cultural tapestry for generations to come.

Types of matcha preparation

By the 21st century, word of matcha’s healthfulness and pleasurable taste had begun to spread worldwide. It’s now considered a superfood, used as a culinary ingredient in dessert recipes and enjoyed in its more traditional form in two basic ways: usucha and koicha.

Usucha means “thin tea,” while koicha means “thick tea” and is more typical of the drink used in traditional tea ceremonies. Just as they sound, thus duo of methods can yield very different consistencies.

Those new to matcha preparation may wish to begin with a cup of usucha, which has a slightly less intense flavor. To prepare, heat 3.5 oz of water to 175˚F. Pour the water into a small bowl and whisk in one teaspoon of matcha powder (or one Matcha Single Steep®) until frothy. Enjoy from the matcha bowl or pour into a small cup.

Matcha Usucha Koicha 1624X844

Matcha tea preparation styles

Matcha lovers who are familiar with its earth-forward flavor may opt for a bold cup of koicha. To prepare it, double the amount of matcha to 2 teaspoons (or 2 Matcha Single Steeps) and use the same amount of water. Use a traditional bamboo whisk and ladle to blend them together into a paint-like texture. Koicha in particular is best enjoyed in a small ceremonial cup or bowl.

Health benefits of matcha tea

Because matcha involves the entire tea leaf and all its healthful properties, a cup of matcha tea boasts more than ten times the amount of antioxidants found in a cup of traditional green tea. Due to its high caffeine content -- similar to a cup of coffee -- matcha stands up to a cup of joe when it comes to a morning pick-me-up. But unlike coffee, matcha contains an amino acid called L-Theanine, which can bring about a state of calmness without causing drowsiness.

Matcha Meditating Lady 812X422

Matcha provides a relaxed feeling of alertness, perfect for meditation and yoga.

Given the combination of L-Theanine and caffeine found in matcha, a cupful delivers a relaxed feeling of alertness without too much of a jolt. This traditional beverage also offers more than seven times the antioxidants of most high-quality dark chocolates, and 60 times the antioxidants found in spinach. So, the next time you find yourself in need of a serene infusion of energy, consider raising a cup of matcha to your health.

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