What is matcha?
Matcha is a special variant of green tea that uses the leaves from the Carmellia sinensis plant. Matcha uses hand picked leaves that have been shade grown in the last 3 weeks of their growth which are then ground down into a fine powder.
By shading the leaves from the sun, the leaves become high in chlorophyll which leads to their vibrant green colour.
Matcha has been tied to many Asian cultures and traditions and has created an entire art form behind the Japanese tea ceremony.
Matcha exists in varying qualities and the most premium matcha can fetch extreme prices in Japan. The quality of the matcha is affected by the soil conditions, the amount of sunlight the plant sees as well the grinding methods.
High quality matcha is very green in colour and has almost no bitterness to its taste.
“High quality matcha is very green in colour and has almost no bitterness to its taste.“
The many benefits of matcha
Matcha powder is a superfood, it contains the benefits of approximately 10 cups of brewed green tea. Matcha has long been praised as having enormous health benefits and has been proven to be:
- High in Antioxidants – The magical nutrients and enzymes of the body that are responsible for fighting off the effects of ageing, damaging UV rays and a number of life-threatening maladies. It is these antioxidants that give superfoods their appeal and matcha has the highest amount compared to any other food! By over 5 times!
- Catechins the secret weapon – The most powerful of antioxidants responsible for their cancer fighting abilities and immune boosting capabilities. Matcha tea has more Catechins (specifically epigallocatechin gallate or EGCg) than any other tea on the market.
- L-Theanine – An amino acid found in abundance in matcha promotes alpha waves in the brain which induces relaxation yet keeps you wide awake. In combination with the high caffeine in matcha means that you enter a state of calm alertness, with increased memory and concentration.
“…enter a state of calm alertness, with increased memory and concentration.“
Why does this matter?
Antioxidants are the body’s defense agents. They are chemical compounds that prevent aging and chronic diseases. Put simply, the more you have, the better equipped your body is in the fight against infections and disease.
“…matcha has the highest amount of antioxidants compared to any other food! By over 5 times!“
What else does matcha do for you?
The medieval Japanese Samurai drank Matcha Green Tea before going into battle due to the tea’s energizing properties. Whilst matcha, as all green teas, contains caffeine the unique combination of L-Theanine and caffeine creates a long lasting energy boost without the usual caffeine “crash”. A bowl of matcha can increase energy and alertness for up to 6 hours after consumption; the gradual and calm energy boosts causes none of the usual caffeine jitters and side effects. A clean natural boost that also provides countless nutrients and good health benefits to the drinker.
Matcha tea has been shown to increase the metabolism of those that drink it, which helps burn fat at approximately 4 times the rate than average! The best part is that matcha has no negative side effects from this amazing benefit. Couple matcha with your exercise routine to boost your fat burning potential futher than you could imagine.
In addition matcha has been shown to improve Cholesterol and can reduce your chance of heart disease by up to 11%.
Detoxify the body
As the matcha is shaded during the final stages of their growth, the plants gain an enormous amount of chlorophyll. The high levels of chlorophyll are what is responsible for the matcha teas vibrant green colour and are also the indicators of high quality matcha tea. The chlorophyll acts as a powerful detoxifier that is capable of removing heavy metals and other deadly toxins from the body.
Fortify the immune system
Matcha also is high in Potassium, Vitamins A and C, Iron, Protein and Calcium, these are essential ingredients to maintaining a strong immune system. Drinking matcha will keep the doctor away!
“…contains the benefits of approximately 10 cups of brewed green tea.“
Matchado prides itself on bringing home the wonders of matcha straight from the source. Our Matcha growers have gone through a thorough selection process to ensure that they supply only the highest quality matcha tea.
Due to the Fukushima Daiichi disaster many of the premium matcha growers were wiped out or contaminated, for this reason many moved over to neighbouring Taiwan, which hosts a similar climate and an equal love for the green wonder powder.
For the connoisseur, Matchado tea sells premium tea from the Uji Region in Japan and the prized Yame cermonial grade matcha. Matcha doesn’t get any better than that.
The history of matcha
It is believed that a Japanese Buddhist, Eisai Myoan, travelled to China around 1191 A.D., and became intrigued with both Zen Buddhism and green tea.
Upon his return, he introduced both to the Japanese society with an enthusiasm that quickly caught on with the elite high-class samurai. Eisai planted the green tea seeds on the temple grounds and is considered to be the first person to grind the seeds into a fine powder to consume as a tea.
Matcha was thought to elevate one’s status in society so became a highly sought after commodity, and was extensively studied and eventually grown near the Kyoto area. Tea masters developed the drinking of matcha into a highly formalised and choreographed ritual, embodying the simplicity and discipline of Zen Buddhism and thus inextricably linking matcha and zen.
Eventually the matcha tea obsession trickled down into ordinary society, where the tea ceremony became a fundamental part of Japanese culture and history.
“…the tea ceremony became a fundamental part of Japanese culture and history.“
“Chado- meaning ‘the way of the tea’…”
Chado- meaning ‘the way of the tea’ is traditionally a spiritual experience, and intricately bounds the concept of zen and matcha.
Chado celebrates the simple way of life, of being present in the moment, which is why it is often used for achieving a meditative state. However, matcha these days can be enjoyable anywhere, anytime, whether it’s for breakfast, before or after a yoga or meditation practice, or as mid afternoon pick me up (without the crash or sleeplessness often caused by coffee).
Making a matcha bowl
What you will need:
- A chasen (bamboo whisk)
- A matcha chawan (matcha tea bowl)
- A chashaku (tea ladle for measuring)
- 1- 1 ½ heaped tea ladle worth of Matchado tea powder
- 60mls (or 1/3of a bowl) boiling water- best if the water is around 80 degrees. Note: to get water to approximately 80 degrees, it is advised to place boiling water in a tea cup and gently transfer to tea bowl when needed
- Measure out the Matchado powder using the ladle, placing in the tea bowl
- Carefully pour the desired amount of boiling water over the powder
- Whisk the mixture in a quick back and forth movement (pretend you’re making an ‘M’ for matcha!). Use the tip of the whisk to break up any lumps
- Whisk until smooth and no lumps can be seen- it may need 30 seconds or so
- Drink and enjoy!
The tea ceremony
The tea ceremony is a complex and detailed event, therefore we have simplified the practise into 6 steps.
Preparation for the ceremony
- Host chooses the appropriate utensils used in the ceremony (whisk, bowl, spoon, matcha tea)
- Host cleans the room where the ceremony takes place, including changing the mats used in traditional Japanese homes (host and guests sit on the floor)
Arrival of guests
- Guests wait to be received by the host. Shoes are removed and hands are washed thoroughly as a sign of purification
- When the host is ready to receive them, they must enter the tea room via a small door, which forces them to bow, another signal of respect to the host
Cleaning the utensils
- cleaning of the utensils occurs in front of the guests with slow, deliberate and graceful moves This is all done in silence which heightens the experience of the ceremony
Preparation of matcha
- Approximately 2-3 scoops of matcha tea is placed in the matcha bowl. Hot water is added via ladle and whisked into a thin liquid
Matcha is served!
- The host will present the prepared tea to the first (and usually most important!) guest before bowing to one another
- The bowl is rotated and admired by the guests in a clockwise fashion before they take a sip
- After wiping the rim, the first guest passes the bowl to the guest next to them and the process is repeated until all guests have drunk from the bowl
- Small Japanese sweets are usually present, which complement the taste of the matcha
- The host takes the last sip before cleaning and rinsing all the utensils
Keep your matcha fresh
Storage of your matcha is very important, as tea is sensitive to temperature, humidity and light. As you will notice when your tea arrives, it is vacuumed sealed and stored in foil bags to preserve it’s flavour and aroma. After opening your tea, ensure you store it in an airtight, room temperature place, out of sunlight, to avoid the tea from beginning to degrade. It is recommended you consume your matcha within 4 weeks of opening. If you intend to keep your matcha for longer, you may store it in a fridge or freezer, provided it is tightly sealed.
You will be able to keep your matcha fresh for 8 weeks if you keep to these guidelines:
- Keep in an airtight bag
- Ensure it is stored in a cool environment out of the sun
- Reduce exposure to moisture, always use dry utensils
- If possible keep in the refrigerator
Our inspiration for creating Matchado came from a whirlwind holiday to Japan in 2013. What a place! They had everything from cat cafes, owl cafes, beautiful and mysterious Geisha, sleep capsule hotels and of course, matcha! It was the tasty bright green stuff that started as a novelty for us but soon became a passion.
One of our fondest memories of Japan was attending a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, which has been performed in Japan for centuries.
We had the pleasure of being guided through the meticulous but relaxing ritual of chado (‘the way of the tea’). We were so blown away by the simplicity and discipline of the ceremony, which only fuelled our interest in matcha and why it had been such a big hit in Japan for hundreds of years.
Arriving back in Perth with a stash of matcha (which quickly ran out!), we started seeing and feeling the full benefits of matcha but didn’t know how to get more, or what kind of quality we would be getting by ordering online. We believe that in every household there is a place for the matcha we love so much, and we want everyone to be able to enjoy it as much as we do! That’s why Matchado is here … to provide rigorously tested, high quality matcha for simple, everyday and enjoyable consumption.