Discover the world of tea, from the history of its cultural significance to the science of its benefits and the art of its preparation.
Considered a superfood and used in an endless array of recipes from lattes to cakes, it’s as versatile and beautiful as it is good for us.
This spring-harvested, shade-grown, stone-ground green tea delivers bountiful health benefits, enlivening flavors, and a remarkable energy boost. Traditionally served using a ceremonial bowl, bamboo whisk, and measuring ladle, matcha has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity of late. This is thanks to its abundance of antioxidants and aesthetic properties alike (i.e., it may well be the most Instagram-ready beverage on earth). Considered a superfood and used in an endless array of recipes from lattes to cakes, it’s as versatile and beautiful as it is good for us.
Boasting more than ten times the amount of antioxidants found in a cup of traditional green tea, matcha stands up to coffee as well, with some varieties actually rivaling the caffeine content of a regular cup of joe. Unlike coffee, however, matcha contains L-Theanine, an amino acid known to create calmness without drowsiness; combined with caffeine, it amounts to a considerable level of alertness without a case of the jitters. Containing cholesterol-lowering catechins, more than seven times the antioxidants found in high-quality dark chocolate, and 60 – yes, 60 -- times those found in spinach, it’s a power-packed superfood to be reckoned with.
Containing cholesterol-lowering catechins, more than seven times the antioxidants found in high-quality dark chocolate, and 60 – yes, 60 times those found in spinach, it’s a power-packed superfood to be reckoned with.
Largely grown and produced in Japan, matcha’s origins are actually thought to be Chinese. During the Tang Dynasty, green tea was powdered and dried into bricks from which people could break off a small piece and stir it into hot water. In the 12th century, a monk introduced the concept of powdered tea to Japan, from which the traditional chanoyu ceremony evolved. Over time, matcha – which literally translates to “powdered tea” – fell out of vogue in China but remained popular in Japan, first as a drink reserved for Samurai warriors and members of royalty and later among the general population. In the 21st century, word of its healthful properties, unique flavor, and versatility began to spread worldwide, bringing it into culinary focus on a global scale.
Unlike traditional green tea, from which leaves are discarded after steeping, matcha tea is fully dissolved in a suspension as the powder is blended with the water. It can be made in two ways: usucha, or “thin tea,” and koicha, or “thick tea.” Usucha (or thin tea) is the more popular method; Koicha in particular is best enjoyed in a small ceremonial cup or bowl, known as a chawan.
For an intense cup of Koicha, double the amount of matcha and half the amount of water.
Whisk and ladle to blend them together into a paint-like texture.