WHAT IS MATCHA
Matcha is the most premium variety of shade-grown Japanese green tea leaves that are ground into a fine powder. For centuries, monks have enjoyed matcha prior to extended meditation sessions. While other green teas are grown throughout the world, true authentic matcha is unique to Japan.
HISTORY OF MATCHA
Matcha as we know it is very much a Japanese phenomenon, where it has played an integral
role in their culture since the
12th century, and tea masters have perfected the art of its cultivation and craft. Its history stretches
even further, however.
As far back as the 8th century, Zen monks in China were the first to develop the process of pulverizing green tea leaves (which had first been steamed, then dried, then packed into tight molds for easy portability). Around the year 1190, a Japanese Buddhist monk named Eisai Myoan visited China and fell in love with this unique manner of enjoying tea, and was the first to bring matcha back to Japan.
Very quickly, matcha spread throughout Zen monasteries in Japan, once monks found that it kept them awake and alert during long periods of meditation, in addition to having valuable medicinal properties.
As the centuries progressed, interest in matcha in China waned, slowly replaced by other forms of Chinese tea that grew more popular.
In Japan, however, matcha became a cultural focal point through a very formal ceremony known as “chado”, as well as a staple part of their diet. The expert cultivation and traditional methods of shade growing and stone grinding were perfected by Japanese tea masters and passed down through generations.
Today, the popularity of matcha has never been greater or more widespread as the world has finally taken note of this Japanese treasure.
HOW MATCHA IS MADE
Green tea plants are shaded weeks before harvest to boost nutrient production
In the spring and summer, leaves are selectively picked depending on grade
Immediate steaming & drying after harvest preserve flavor and nutrients
Leaves are de-stemmed and de-veined to improve texture and taste
Stone grinding slowly and gently pulverizes leaves into a fine powder
The finished matcha is packaged into specialized tins or pouches to maintain freshness
Ceremonial grades are ground from first harvest leaves, have a smoother flavor suitable for traditional preparation as tea (just mixed with hot water and whisked), and are more expensive. These grades are characteristically more vibrant green in color.
Culinary grade matcha is ground from second harvest tea leaves, still providing beautiful color and rich, distinctive flavor to blended preparations including lattes, smoothies, baked goods, and other recipes.
Ingredient grade matcha is from later harvest tea leaves, with a less vibrant green color, and a more pronounced green tea bitter flavor. It is the most affordable grade and is best used as an all-purpose ingredient in food production or supplements.
It is entirely up to your personal preference which grade of matcha you use for your own enjoyment (plenty of folks use culinary matcha for tea while others won't even bake cookies with anything less than ceremonial). Our grade designations are simply guidelines for what we think works best for each use case.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF MATCHA
GREEN TEA ANTIOXIDANTS
Matcha naturally contains beneficial antioxidants.
SUPPORTS HEALTHY METABOLISM
One antioxidant found in matcha, EGCG, has been shown to help support healthy metabolism.
The unique combination of caffeine and l-theanine in matcha provides a calm yet alert feeling. Unlike the jittery buzz of coffee, many report feeling a better sense of focus.
OTHER BENEFICIAL NUTRIENTS
Matcha also contains fiber, chlorophyll and vitamins.