Feature Piece: The Start
Traditionally drunk by samurai before battle, matcha has been part of Asian culture for centuries. Often drunk in the morning, or featured in Japanese tea ceremonies, Matcha symbolises the start of something new – be it the day or relationships between neighbours and friends. Matcha itself is a finely ground tea from Japan, the best quality of which derives from the Uji region just south of Kyoto – Japan’s former capital.
After the harvest, the tencha leaves are sorted, de-veined, de-stemmed and then ground between millstones to produce a fine powder. Matcha has risen in popularity in recent years partly due to its health benefits, of which there are many: lower cholesterol, high in antioxidants, protection of the liver, weight loss and even as an anti-aging ritual for generations of Japanese women.
There are many ways to make matcha – be it in original tea form, a latte, baked into cakes or even put on popcorn. However, you can easily make matcha tea at home – even without a ceremonial chawan bowl and chasen whisk.
How to make Matcha:
Sift roughly 1 tsp of matcha powder into a bowl
Pour in 60ml of just under boiling water – roughly 75 degrees
Whisk rigorously from side to side – if you whisk in a circular motion, your tea won’t foam
Matcha can often be bitter at first – you can add a sweetener such as maple syrup or add milk to make a latte whilst you adjust to the taste