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Got a matcha? Meet Matcha! Matcha is a type of green tea made by finely ground, powdered tea leaves mixed with hot water to produce a green, frothy, delicious drink. It is a beverage served during traditional Japanese tea ceremonies and is an ingredient in some Japanese dishes.
What is Matcha Green Tea?
Matcha is made from the finest tea leaves. Only the fresh, newly-budded tea leaves are hand-picked to ensure their quality. 20 days before harvesting, the tea bushes are placed under a shade. This process makes the leaves produce more chlorophyll and more amino acids. Unlike green tea, wherein the leaves undergo initial rolling, the tea leaves in matcha are laid out flat to dry in the shade. The stems and veins of the leaves are removed, leaving only pure tea leaves. After drying, the leaves are stone-grounded to create a fine, talc-like, bright green powder.
The History of Matcha Tea
In the Japanese tea ceremony, there are 2 ways of preparing matcha: the usucha, or thin tea, and the koicha, or thick tea. In preparing the tea, you need the following equipment: natsume (tea caddy), teaspoon (chasaku), tea whisk (chasen), and tea bowl (chawan). Usucha is made by mixing a half teaspoon of matcha with 1/2 cup of hot water. Koicha is made by 1 heaping teaspoon of matcha to 1/4 cup of water. Koicha is usually made from tea plants that are more than 30 years old and, thus, produces higher-quality tea leaves. Matcha is traditionally served with a wagashi (Japanese sweet) before drinking.
Drinking Matcha Tea
When drinking green tea, you only drink the liquid from the brewed tea leaves. When drinking matcha, you drink the entire leaf without stems and veins. This allows you to receive more nutrients than drinking brewed green tea. Matcha provides you with more antioxidants and amino acids than most antioxidant-rich foods and even green tea.
Matcha has been a significant beverage and part of Japanese culture for centuries. Now that you’ve met Matcha, you can now also enjoy its wonderful taste and countless health benefits.