What is matcha?
Matcha (抹茶) is a type of green tea originated in China and brought over to Japan in 1191. Unlike any other types of tea, matcha is a finely ground powder made from stone-grinding the finest tea leaves from tea trees grown under unique conditions. Brewing matcha involves whisking it into warm water, as opposed to simply steeping. Thus, the entire leaf is consumed, carrying with it a more sophisticated flavor profile as well as greater nutritional properties than any other types of tea.
What does matcha taste like?
High-quality matcha tastes savory-sweet, vegetal and refreshing. Some blends can be marked by nutty, roasted notes, while others can be floral in flavor. High grades of matcha contain more of savory ‘umami’ notes characteristic of shade-grown green tea, and only hints of bitterness, with a long finish that revs on for a few minutes on your palate.
What is the history of matcha?
As the most consumed beverage in the world after water, tea has a long and complex history that spans multiple cultures over thousands of years. Matcha has evolved through a fascinating journey that first began in China, and continued via the spread of Zen Buddhism to Japan before it was later assimilated as the centrepiece of the Japanese tea ceremony. Now it has attained global popularity to become one of the most unique and highly-prized delicacies of the 21st century.
How is matcha prepared?
In traditional Japanese tea ceremonies, there are two styles in which matcha is prepared – Usucha and Koicha. However, in the modern day there are many different ways in which matcha can be prepared – including blended matcha drinks and a range of desserts. Visit Shop by Use to for more information.
How is matcha grown and produced?
Matcha is derived from the same tea plant as all other types of teas — camellia sinensis. The leaves undergo a shading process before they are harvested. Once harvested, the leaves are steamed for 15-20 seconds to retain their natural vivid green color. Post-steaming, the leaves undergo a drying and destemming process to filter out only the finest parts of the leaves, which is called the tencha. The final step of the matcha process is the grinding of the tencha leaves into a powder. Using a traditional stone grinder made from granite stone, the tencha is ground into a fine powder to produce the matcha powder ready to be brewed.
Where is Matchaeologist matcha grown and produced?
All of Matchaeologist’s matcha is produced in Uji (hence the appellation ‘Uji Matcha’), the birthplace and the ‘Holy Land’ of this highly-prized tea.
Which grade of matcha is right for me?
If you’re looking to savor the pure taste of matcha or enjoy matcha tea in a traditional way, we recommend the Misaki™ or Matsu™ grades. If you generally use matcha in blended drinks such as matcha lattes, we recommend the Meiko™ grade. For use in recipes, we recommend the Midori™ or Mirai™ grades. Please refer to Shop by Use for more information.
Does matcha contain caffeine?
Matcha contains a small amount of caffeine. When brewed in a traditional method, a serving of matcha contains approximately 34mg of caffeine, or less than one-third of that found in a cup of coffee. However, caffeine in matcha works differently in two ways: it is released into the body much more slowly and it works synergistically with L-theanine, a unique amino acid of green tea, to produce a calm-alert effect that can enhance your focus without the jitters.
How do I determine the quality of matcha?
While it’s not typically easy to determine the matcha quality simply by looking at the label alone, there are four main “sensory cues” one can use to assess the quality of matcha: color, texture, aromas, and taste.
Color: Higher grades of matcha should have a deep, electric, blue-ish green color as opposed to light, camouflage, yellowish-grey color.
Texture: Fine matcha should have an ultra-fine texture similar to talcum powder, with an average particle size of around 8 microns.
Aromas: The aromas of fine matcha should be fresh, sweet, buttery, and inviting to the nose.
Taste: When brewed correctly, superior matcha should not taste bitter or astringent.
Why is the color of matcha so vivid green?
The shading process increases the amount of chlorophyll in the tea leaves – the process that gives matcha its distinctly electric green color. The steaming process then allows for the vivid green color of the tea leaves to be maintained.
What is L-theanine?
Discovered in Japan in 1949, L-theanine is a compound found naturally in only 3 plants in the entire universe — in the edible Bay Bolete mushroom, in Guayusa, and in tea. Matcha contains approximately five times more L-theanine than regular green tea. The amino acid compound directly boosts the production of alpha brain waves, which relax the mind without inducing drowsiness.
What are EGCGs?
EGCG is the shortened term for epigallocatechin gallate which are extremely beneficial catechins that are found in matcha. They can decrease the direct effects of sunburn and are also known to reduce the metabolic changes in skin that can lead to ageing and wrinkles.
How do Matchaeologist ensure their matcha is 100% safe and radiation-free?
All of our teas are subject to radiation tests (CESIUM-134, CESIUM-137) administered by QSAI Analysis and Research Center to ensure that they are 100% safe for consumption. We also adhere to the FSSC 22000 Food Safety System Certification framework for managing food safety responsibilities. We also carry out pathogen tests for traces of bacterial contamination and heavy metal on a regular basis.
Why is matcha sold in such small quantities?
As matcha begins to oxidize once the packaging has been opened, the quality of the tea will start to degrade. It would therefore be difficult to get through the packaging without the quality decreasing. As a result, for personal consumption, we generally encourage our clients to purchase matcha in a smaller packaging, but purchase it frequently for optimal freshness.
What is the difference between matcha and other teas?
Matcha differs from other types of tea in two main ways. Firstly, it comes in a powder form and is prepared by suspending it in warm water, making it the only ‘suspension tea’. Secondly, matcha is grown under shade, meaning that 30 days before it is harvested, the tea plants are covered under shade, allowing them to grow in near darkness. As a result, the tea plants compensate for the lack of sunlight by producing more chlorophyll within the new shoots to help facilitate photosynthesis, thus enhancing the amino acid content of the new tea leaves. It is these young tea leaves that are subsequently hand-picked and processed into matcha. Due to the more concentrated amino acid compounds as well as the fact that it’s consumed whole (not only steeped), matcha offers a unique and complex flavor profile compared to other teas.
Why is matcha more expensive than other types of tea?
There are a number of factors that make matcha more expensive than other teas – all of which are related to the meticulous growing and manufacturing process of matcha. First of all, matcha are hand-picked from only the top tea leaves of shade-grown tea trees to ensure that they are soft and sweet. This is only done during Spring Harvest (first flush), which is considered the most optimal time. During the filtering process, harsher stems and veins have to be siphoned out, leaving only the most precious part of the leaves to make matcha. As opposed to other types of tea, matcha also needs to be ground into a fine powder. At Matchaeologist, we grind our matcha in a traditional way using a granite stone grinder for optimal result. This is a time-consuming process as it can take up to an hour to grind just ~20g of matcha. In sum, given that more care and attention is required to process each gram of this matcha, this ceremonial delicacy is generally priced much higher than other teas.
Are Matchaeologist products organic?
All of our teas are grown organically. We adhere strictly to the Japanese Agricultural Standards (JAS). We have been producing this tea for over 100 years and it is completely safe for consumption.
Where does matcha come from?
Matcha comes from the same tea plant from which all types of tea are derived – camellia sinensis.
How much matcha should I drink per day?
We recommend 1-2 cups of matcha per day if you wish to truly reap the health benefits of it. In order to stay within the National Health Service’s daily caffeine guidelines, we recommend no more than 5 cups of matcha per day.
What is the best time to drink matcha?
Due to the caffeine content of matcha, we recommend consuming it in the morning or early afternoon.
What is the difference between ceremonial and culinary matcha?
Ceremonial Matcha generally describes matcha grades appropriate for use in traditional tea ceremonies, and Culinary Matcha describes matcha grades suitable for use as an ingredient in drink or dessert recipes.
If I have no bamboo whisk, can I use something else?
To prepare matcha in the best way possible, we recommend using a bamboo whisk.
How can I enjoy matcha aside from drinking it as a tea?
There are a countless number of ways in which matcha can be enjoyed, aside from as a tea! This includes matcha lattes, matcha brownies, matcha doughnuts, matcha cheesecake, matcha ice cream, matcha affogato, matcha tiramisu – the list goes on. Head over to our Instagram page for some inspiration.
I am new to the world of matcha – how do I get started?
Our Matcha Brewing Kit is the perfect place to start if you are new to the world of matcha. The kit contains our artisanal matcha, Matsu™, a Cloud Glass Chawan (hand-blown double-walled glass bowl), a Full-Hand Chasen (full-length bamboo matcha whisk), and a Bamboo Chashaku (matcha measuring spoon), everything you need to get started on your matcha journey.
Keeping Matcha Fresh
How should I store matcha?
Once the package is opened, we strongly recommend that you use it up as soon as possible. An opened package of matcha will keep ideal freshness for about 6 months. We also recommend storing it in a cool dry place, away from moisture, sunlight and odors. If you would like to keep your matcha fresh for a longer time, we recommend that you store an unopened package in the refrigerator. If you would like to store it long-term (beyond 6 months), we recommend storing it in the freezer.
What is the shelf life of matcha?
The shelf life of our matcha is 24 months (2 years). However, once opened, we recommend consuming it within 6 months for optimal freshness and potency.
Does matcha powder expire?
Matcha does not go off per se. However, similar to other teas, it has a freshness period that we recommend for optimal taste and benefits.
Side Effects of Matcha
Will matcha help with my weight loss?
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that men taking green tea extract burn a significantly larger number of calories in 24 hours than those either taking coffee or no additive. Components in matcha can increase thermogenesis (the rate at which your body generates heat) by over 40% without any of the negative side effects that can be found in other fat oxidising agents.
Will matcha help boost my energy?
Matcha provides a calming yet stimulating effect, and can act as a productivity-boosting drink with its stream of clean energy that’s gentle on the body.
What are the health benefits of matcha?
Modern scientific research confirms that matcha is full of naturally occurring antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins and flavonoids, all of which are associated with a myriad of health benefits. This includes boosting the immune system, improving the heart, promoting a healthy weight, reducing stress and rejuvenating skin.
Can I drink matcha if I'm pregnant?
Many health authorities, including the National Health Service and Mayo Clinic, have stated that it is safe for matcha to be consumed during pregnancy. Unlike coffee, which should be limited during pregnancy, around 5 servings of hot-brew matcha can be consumed per day – bearing in mind that the caffeine release is also much slower compared to that of coffee.
Does matcha have any negative side effects?
Matcha is generally considered to be safe for consumption.