The history of this beverage is quite fascinating.
Originating from Japan, the tea was long served for Japanese royalty.
And therefore became known as the 'Emperor's tea' in Asia.
Other historical reports have Matcha arriving in China as a medicinal drink.
The full benefits of this particular tea extend beyond the body.
It is a spiritual experience with healing properties.
The whisk, Matcha bowl, flavor and smell.
Are all integral parts to the Matcha experience.
Matcha is known as the finest green tea powder in the entire world!
The best Matcha is grown in the Shizuoka Prefecture of Japan.
The Shizuoka Prefecture of Japan has been producing the finest tea for over 650 years.
Shizuoka is located on the Pacific Ocean side in eastern Japan.
Shizuoka means tranquil (shizu) hills (oka) in Japanese.
It is the major tea (O-cha in Japanese) production area in Japan and is where the famous Mount Fuji (Fujisan) is located.
The mild climate of the Shizuoka Prefecture is excellent for the cultivation of the tea plant know as camellia sinensis.
It has rich mineral soil, plenty of sunshine and the perfect amount of rain.
For the finest tea cultivation and is known for the production of the best Matcha.
All authentic Matcha only comes from Japan.
Other well established areas in Japan where it is cultivated are Kyoto and Uji.
All quality Matcha comes from the main island of Japan known as Honshu.
There are three basic types of Matcha-tea.
Ceremony Matcha-tea ~ Thin Tea (Usucha) or Matcha ~ Thick Tea(Koicha).
However, it is almost impossible to obtain these grades in North America.
Almost all Matcha available here is culinary grade which is still quite excellent.
The best part about Matcha is that you consume the whole leaf.
Not just the brew from steeping the tea leaves like other teas.
Therefore, you ingest the richest nutrients and fiber of the plant.
Matcha Processing ~
The young tea leaves are picked in early May and lightly steamed to prevent any fermentation.
This allows the tea to retain its beautiful green color.
Then the tea leaves are dried.
Traditionally, at this point, the leaves would be stored in chatsubo/tea jars.
And allowed to season until November.
At which time they can be stone-ground as needed.
The leaves from various varieties of tea plants are blended to produce the best flavor, color, and aroma.
Before being stone-ground.
The leaves are processed to obtain only the meat part of the leaf.
The stems and veins are removed so that the tea will be very fine when ground.
It takes one hour to grind somewhat less than 40g of Matcha.
And in the end the final product is about 1/10th of the original harvest.
Although clippers can be used to harvest the tea leaves.
The leaves for koicha/thick tea are still picked by hand, one by one.
Matcha is the vibrant green powdered tea used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies.
It's made from the leaves of shade grown tea trees.
When the leaves are harvested they are steamed.
Dried and then further processed to remove the veins, stems and impurities.
Only about 10% of the original harvest remains.
And this is called the "tencha".
The tencha is then ground to a fine powder often in a stone mill.
It takes about one hour to produce an ounce of Matcha.
Because grinding any faster would result in a burnt tasting tea.
Today the highest grades of Matcha usually remain in Japan for use in their tea ceremonies.
And the price can be as high as $100 an ounce.
The majority of Matcha available in the general market today is now ground by sophisticated machines.
Which make it affordable to the average tea drinker.
Regardless of the grinding technique used.
The production of matcha requires a great deal of hand labor, skill and time.
Matcha is becoming increasingly popular as an international beverage.
And is found in food markets because of its versatility and health benefits.
Matcha's flavor blends well in dairy-based recipes.
And it's fine powder form makes it easy to work with.
Since you are actually ingesting the green tea leaves when you drink Matcha.
You are receiving the full benefits of all the nutrients and antioxidants in the leaves.
Research is indicating the following:
Vitamins A,B6, B-complex, C, E, K, niacin, folate, riboflavin, thiamin.
Trace minerals calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, sodium.
Rich source of L-theanine & amino acids which improve calmness, mental alertness.
Strong blood detoxifer and alkalyzer due to high chlorophyll content.
Matcha contains 70 times the antioxidants of orange juice.
Matcha has approximately 9 times the beta-carotene of Spinach, 4 times that of carrots.
Matcha contains essential vitamins and minerals for a healthy lifestyle.
Matcha adds fiber to the diet.
Matcha-tea & Banana Loaf Cake
Adding matcha-tea to your favorite loaf cakes is a great way to add a fun healthy twist to your baking.
This recipe is adapted from an easy to bake banana cake.
But you can try any cake recipe and simply add between 1 to 2 tsp of matcha or more too taste.
150 g. caster sugar
1 beaten egg
125 g. of butter
2 very ripe mashed bananas
190 g. self raising flour
1-2 tsp. of matcha
60 ml. milk
Grease your pan.
Melt butter, sugar, and vanilla in a saucepan over a medium heat.
Remove from heat add bananas and mix well.
Add the egg and mix well.
Stir in the flour, matcha and the milk.
Pour into the cake tin.
Sprinkle with a tablespoon of demerara sugar to give a crunchy topping if liked.
Bake at 170 C for 35 minutes or until ready.
Leave to set and cool.
We hope you enjoy & know you'll benefit from this amazing matcha-tea!Tweet
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