Also Known As: Macha Matcha, maccha
Matcha green tea is the powdered, or finely-milled, green tea used in Japanese tea ceremonies. The Japanese tea ceremony centers on the preparation, serving, and drinking of this tea.
Matcha green tea is now used to flavor and dye foods like mochi and soba noodles, green tea ice cream and a variety of Japanese candy.
There are blends of matcha green tea given poetic “tea names” called chamei. These names are given to the blend by the producing plantation, shop, or creator of the blend.
The name may also come from the grand master of a particular tea tradition. If named by the grand master of some tea ceremony lineage, the blend becomes known as the master’s konomi, or favored blend.
Harvesting is done very specifically for matcha. The tea leaves come from shade-grown trees that are covered several weeks before harvest to prevent direct sunlight on the leaves. Covering the plants slows down growth and turns the leaves a darker shade of green. It also causes the plant to produce amino acids that result in a sweeter tea.
The tea buds are hand-picked, only the finest buds chosen. After harvesting, the leaves are laid out flat to dry. They will crumble a little and at this point called tencha. Tencha is de-veined, de-stemmed, and stone ground to the fine, bright green, talc-like powder known as matcha.
To grind 30 grams or about 6 teaspoons of matcha green tea, it can take as much as an hour. There are several grades of matcha, the highest grades have a deeper flavor and more intense sweetness than the standard or coarser grades of tea. The taste of matcha green tea is strong and some say a little like grass or spinach. The taste depends on the quality and source of the tea.
What is matcha green tea? Matcha green tea is a whole leaf green tea specially harvested and then ground with stone into a powder. The tea is sold in bulk powdered form. Matcha green tea comes in different grades.
Ceremonial-grade is the highest, but hard to find outside Japan. This grade is used by the major Japanese tea schools and Buddhist temples specifically for the tea ceremony. Premium grade is easier to find, and used for everyday drinking. Ingredient-grade is cheaper and is often used to flavor foods and beverages.
Besides different grades, there are two types of matcha green tea. One is call koicha, and it is a thick tea, the other is usucha, a thin tea. Koicha is made using a scoop, and usucha is made using a whisk.
Koicha is sweeter, with a mellow flavor and is generally mixed with relatively little water to form a thick emerald brew. It is used exclusively for Japanese tea ceremonies. Usucha is less sweet, and mixed with more water to create a thinner, frothier tea.
Matcha Green Tea Preparation:
Measure a heaping teaspoon into a ceramic cup and add boiling hot water for one cup of tea. Whisk until frothy and any lumps are broken up. Enjoy thick or thin. Drink the tea before the sediment settles to the bottom of the cup.
Home Remedies Using Matcha Green Tea:
Historically the medicinal benefits of matcha green tea are tied up with the Japanese tea ceremony. It is believed that drinking of matcha tea during the tea ceremony simultaneously helped to stimulate the mind, create a mental alertness, and yet produce a calm, meditative state.
Today matcha green tea is used for antioxidant protection, to fight cancer, and cleanse toxins from the body. It is also believed to have mood enhancing amino acids.
It is used to raise energy, fight stress, boost the metabolism, and help control body weight. Matcha tea may also regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and support healthy teeth and gums.
There is research being done on green tea including some by the National Cancer Institute or NCI. “NCI researchers are also investigating the therapeutic use of green tea.”
One recently completed but unpublished NCI trial studied the anti-tumor effect of green tea among prostate cancer patients. Other ongoing NCI studies are testing green tea as a preventive agent against skin cancer.
Side Effects of Matcha Green Tea:
There are no side effects noted.
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