Matcha

Wednesday, 18. May 2016

Matcha

Origin

Matcha stems from Japan, however its story began in China. During the 6th century tea was used as a remedy. Back then tea varieties were dried and finely ground. With the processing method in hand and a few varieties of tea in a bag, a monk made his way to Japan in the 12 century. As the knowledge of this special tea preparation method was dwindling in China, it was quickly beginning to spread and gain popularity in Japan. During the 16th century, a unique tea ceremony developed for Matcha that is still a symbol of the Japanese culture today. 

Production

The method used to produce Matcha is extremely complex and expensive. First the tea plant is covered with lightproof nets. This prolongs the maturing phase which in turns leads to the ingredients becoming more concentrated. This also results in a severe increase in quality. The leaves are steamed and dried after harvest. After sorting the stems, the leaves are picked and ground to a fine powder using granite mills. These traditional mills are responsible for the finest possible graining, however take much longer to process. Thirty grams of Matcha can take up to an hour to ground to a fine powder. 

Storage

The finely ground Matcha powder is more sensitive to oxygen and can perish quickly when stored incorrectly. Ideally it should be stored in the refrigerator within an air-tight container. This will prolong its durability and polished taste, keeping all its fine notes in tact. 

Health Benefits 

Numerous health benefits are attributed to conventional green teas. It is said to have preventative effects when it comes to diabetes and cancer mainly due to a substance called Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). According to scientific estimations, Matcha contains three times more EGCG than conventional green tea. The green powder also contains a multitude of phytochemicals and vitamins. 
Matcha cuts the increase in blood glucose by half after a meal is consumed, simultaneously stimulating digestion. It enhances the mood, supports concentration and alerts the mind without the known nervousness that goes along with consuming coffee. 

Preparation

Brew one to two grams of Matcha powder with warm (not boiling) water, approximately 80°C. Blend the mixture using a bamboo whisk until a green foam forms on the surface. According to Japanese tradition, increased foam results in a more rounded and enjoyable tea experience.