Make matcha tea? Read everything you need to know about matcha here
The Japanese green tea matcha is the espresso among tea. It is a strong green tea and is addictively delicious. Just like espresso, matcha contains caffeine and it gives you an energy boost. Next to this, matcha also offers many health benefits. Drinking this beloved Japanese tea could therefore just become your new morning addiction! How do you make the perfect cup of matcha tea at home? Where does matcha come from? Continue reading for everything you need to know about the green gold from Japan: Matcha.
What is matcha?
In Japanese, Matcha is written as: 抹茶. Matcha, like other types of green tea, is made from the general tea plant. Matcha is a finely ground powder from specially grown and processed green tea leaves.
What is the difference between matcha and regular loose green tea?
The tea farms destined for matcha are completely shaded for about 20 days before harvesting. In this way the tea leaves can grow without being directly exposed to direct sunlight. This causes both the amino acid theanine and the alkaloid caffeine to increase in the tea leaves. It provides a sweet taste and a pronounced aroma.
How is matcha made?
From early to mid-April, the tea leaves selected for matcha are kept in full shade. They are carefully picked around the beginning of May. Once the leaves are picked, the worker steam them to prevent oxidation. In this way the leaves retain the natural green color, fragrance and nutritional value.
Then the tea leaves are cooled and dried. After the leaves have dried completely, they are ground into a fine powder. Traditionally it is ground manually on a stone mill, but nowadays this is usually done with machines.
What's the health benefits of matcha?
Studies on matcha and its components have revealed several benefits of matcha. It shows that drinking matcha can help protect the liver, help heart health, and even aid in weight loss. Matcha is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are the magical nutrients and enzymes responsible for younger looking skin, boosting memory and concentration, increasing energy levels, burning fat and preventing a number of life-threatening illnesses such as cancer.
Does matcha contain theine (caffeine in tea)?
Matcha powder contains as much caffeine as coffee, but it will be absorbed more slowly by the body. This means that you will be less likely to suffer from caffeine side effects after drinking matcha. Drinking matcha is therefore a good alternative to coffee. Just make sure that, like drinking coffee or regular tea, you don't drink too much matcha. In general, it is recommended that you drink no more than 5 cups of matcha per day.
How long can you keep matcha fresh? How should you store matcha?
The shelf life of an unopened package of matcha depends on how it is packaged. Our matcha tea is packed in airtight tin cans. Therefore it stays fresh for a long time and you can store it for up to 2 years. After this period, the matcha is not immediately bad, but the taste and quality diminishes quickly.
Once you have opened the can, it is best to use matcha within 2-3 weeks. Always close the can well to keep the taste good. When storing matcha, avoid direct sunlight and places with high temperature or humidity. After three weeks, the tea will not immediately spoil. However, the good taste and smell only decreases sharply.
5 accessories/tools for making matcha tea
To prepare matcha you need a little more patience than when making a cup of coffee. Matcha is a finely ground powder and needs attention before you can beat it back. In Japan, special tea tools are usually used to prepare matcha. We have listed the accessories/tools for you:
1. Chawan - Matcha bowl
A chawan is the pronunciation of tea bowl. Chawans are available in a wide variety of sizes and styles. Different styles are used for different season to enjoy matcha tea. In summer, shallow bowls are used, which allow the tea to cool quickly. In winter, deep bowls are used to keep the tea warm for longer. If you don't have a chawan at home, you can use a regular bowl for this. Though the diameter is recommended be at least 12 cm.
2. Chasen - Matcha Whisk
A chasen is a bamboo whisk that is used to whisk matcha thoroughly to create a beautiful, rich foam. Rinse the chasen well after use without any detergent. Dry it with a dry towel. Then let the chasen dry preferably on a kusenaoshi (holder) or just upright (with the handle down) in the open air.
3. Kusenaoshi - holder for the matcha whisk
A kusenaoshi is a holder for the chasen. After drying, place the chasen on the kusenaoshi to keep the chasen in good shape.
4. Chashaku – bamboo teaspoon
A chashaku is a bamboo teaspoon and is a traditional Japanese tea accessorie. With the chashaku you can measure the perfect amount of matcha. For one cup of mathca tea you need 1 ½ chashaku scoops of matcha. After use, gently wipe the chashaku with a soft, dry cloth or tissue. Do not use water for cleaning.
5. Fine tea strainer
It is not entirely unimportant, but also not a must to use a fine tea strainer for making matcha. A fine tea strainer allows you to break the small lump of matcha. If you don't have one, make sure to spend extra time mixing the matcha powder well.
Bekijk en bestel matcha accessories here on our website.
Make matcha tea? This is what you need to do
In Japan, drinking matcha is not about the drink itself, but about the ceremony around it. A matcha tea ceremony is a process where the guest is the central. We strongly recommend attending a traditional Japanese tea ceremony in a Japanese tea house.
Do you want to enjoy a nice cup of matcha tea without too much hassle? Then we have listed a simple way for preparing matcha below. You can make a light matcha tea (Usucha) or a somewhat stronger matcha (Koicha) by following our tips below.
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This is how you easily make a cup of matcha tea:
1. Pour boiling water into the bowl.
2. Gently dip the tip of the chasen in the hot water. This warms the tea bowl and softens the bamboo, making the chasen flexible and resilient for an effective whipping action.
3. Pour out the hot water and dry the inside of the bowl with a clean, dry cloth.
4. For Usucha, scoop 1 chashaku (bamboo teaspoon) matcha or for Koicha 2 chashakus matcha into a fine-mesh sieve above the tea bowl. The scoop of matcha should be rounded and reach exactly the point where the chashaku begins to bend.
5. Strain the matcha into the dry empty bowl. This will ensure that won't be any lumps and that the matcha tea becomes smooth.
6. Pour boiling water into a separate teacup and let it cool for one minute (the temperature should be around 85ºC).
7. Gently add a tiny bit of hot water to the bowl of matcha.
8. Take the chasen (bamboo whisk) in one hand and hold the edge of the tea bowl with the other hand. Mix the matcha and hot water until well blended.
9. Carefully pour the remaining hot water into the bowl, about 70 ml for Usucha and 40 ml for Koicha.
Making Usucha (light matcha)
1. Whisk the matcha and hot water vigorously in a quick, back and forth “W” (or “M”) motion with your wrist (not your arm). If the tea has small bubbles, start beating the surface of the tea and continue until matcha has a thick foam with lots of bubbles on the surface.
2. At the end, make a circular movement and take up the whisk from the middle of the matcha cup/bowl. This creates a slightly higher fluffy foam in the middle.
Making koicha (stronger matcha)
1. For this you do not make a foamy layer with a quick tapping movement. Instead, do a slow kneading motion from side to side, up and down, and in a gentle 360 degree twisting motion. This way you will get a full, smooth and even matcha without foam.
Making Matcha Latte? Continue reading here for our Matcha Latte recipe.
Watch out: since matcha is a leaf powder, it doesn't really dissolve. The fine powder floats in the hot water while beating. So enjoy the matcha before the particles sink to the bottom of the bowl.
Ordering authentic Japanese matcha? Shop here for our top quality matcha collection from Japan.
Bron: Justonecookbook.com, Time.com, Wikipedia.com, Zobegaafd.nl, Healthline.com