Updated: May 11, 2019
Matcha tea is the most prized amongst green teas as the Queen of all teas and has been worshiped in Japanese tea ceremonies for centuries. When it first came to Japan from China in the 12th century, it was used by Buddhist monks to help stay awake during long meditations. The 16th century marks the creation of the traditional tea ceremony, which has made an enormous contribution to Japanese culture, influencing ceramics, floristry, calligraphy, garden design and architecture. Traditional tea ceremonies last until this day but the use of matcha has stretched beyond the boundaries of tea houses and is becoming a powerful alternative to a daily cup of coffee worldwide.
What is matcha and why it was used by Buddhist monks?
Matcha is made from the newest green tea leaves, which are cultivated in a special way and picked at just the right time to have highest level of nutrients. The young leaves are milled into a fine powder in a way that retains all the goodness matcha is famous for. Buddhist monks appreciated matcha, because it helped them to stay both alert and calm during long meditations. Today scientists have established that while matcha does have caffeine, it also has a special amino acid L-theanine, which has a calming effect by creating alpha waves in our brains. It also assists us in focusing, remembering and learning. L-theanine is the reason behind the calm in matcha tea.
Why matcha is becoming more and more popular?
This powdered green tea is also packed with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, chlorophyll and mega doses of antioxidants. It has 137 times more antioxidants than a regular green tea and is therefore considered a super food. Antioxidants are essential in keeping us young and protecting from various infections.
Matcha decreases cholesterol and sugar levels in the blood, is a great source of vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc and magnesium. It elevates our mood and helps to focus. It can increase your physical endurance by about 25%, so you literally have more energy and power in the day to do the things you want to do. Scientists have also discovered that matcha contains a rare and powerful antioxidant called Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) which helps fight cancer cells.
In addition, matcha aids in detoxing and accelerates the thermogenesis process, speeding up the burning of calories, so it’s very good for people who want to lose some weight.
How does matcha help you to be here and now?
Even though matcha is now being used to make everything from lattes to smoothies and desserts, in Japan it has originally been reserved for tea ceremonies. Drinking matcha was more of a ritual that helped people to slow down and be more present in the here and now. In our modern rushed world we lack rituals to slow us down, so having matcha could serve as a good reminder to breathe in and out and tune back into your inner powers.
How to make matcha?
Warm the matcha bowl with hot water and dry it well with a cloth. Add 1 gram of matcha powder (1/4 of a teaspoon) and pour over 30 ml of hot, but not boiling water (approx. 70-80°C). Whisk it with a bamboo whisk until frothy. Whisking may not come easy at first and can take some practice to master (it’s all in the wrist!), but this is nothing to be discouraged about. You’ll soon get the hang of it and can revel in your frothy masterpiece. The tea is usually drunk in small amounts, but you can adjust the concentration depending on individual needs and desires. It is a superfood, so 1 gram is a perfect portion, but if you feel like a double shot, why not?
Why having a proper matcha bowl is such a big deal?
One reason for having a proper matcha bowl is to have enough space to whisk the tea as the taste greatly depends on it. Matcha bowls are larger than regular tea cups and are specially designed for comfortable whisking.
Not all matcha bowls – called chawans in Japan – are created equal. The best ones do not come from factory lines, but are handcrafted by ceramic artists. This is where form meets function and is elevated by unique artistic expression. You don’t have to go crazy about a matcha bowl, but if you decide to go all in and have a full experience, get ready to embark on a personal quest for your perfect matcha chawan. It may sound like sprinkling magic dust, but matcha really does taste better in authentic ceramic bowls, probably because of the more porous surface allowing the tea to breathe and open up its nuanced taste while being whisked.
What do you need to make the best matcha tea?
· Clearspring ceremonial or premium grade matcha tea supplied by us, the Shibumi team
· Ceramic matcha bowl
· Bamboo whisk
· Bamboo scoop
Why is Clearspring matcha special?
The answer in short is - uncompromising quality. Clearspring is a British brand founded by a Kiwi from Taranaki, Christopher Dawson. Chris lived in Japan for more than 20 years, passionately involved with authentic Japanese foods which were being slowly eradicated by the industrial food industry. He found new markets for these foods abroad, particularly in the UK, which was tuning into natural, organic and healthy lifestyles. Chris eventually moved to London with his Japanese family to start Clearspring. The company recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and is going strong serving its quality-loving customers from around the world.
Clearspring matcha comes from the famous Uji region in Japan known for tea cultivation. This is the region where the Japanese first started growing green tea after it arrived from China. But not all matcha teas are the same. The best ones are organically grown, picked at just the right time and processed in a way that preserves its finest qualities. We’ve tried many different matcha teas and Clearspring matcha truly stands out with its vibrant colour, deliciously fresh scent and elegant taste.
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