This month’s tea is probably one of the most expensive teas you can drink. As you might have recognized from the picture, it is matcha. matcha is finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea leaves. Those leaves are shade-grown and therefore have more theanine and caffeine.
Matcha comes in roughly three quality grades. There is the cooking/culinary grade, which is the cheapest (10-30€ for 100g) and is best use for, as the name says, cooking. It slightly more bitter than the other two grades. The second grade is called premium. This is already more expensive (40-70€ for 100g). It is characterized by a fresh, subtle flavor. This grade is perfect for both new and everyday matcha drinkers alike. The highest grade is the ceremonial grade. This is stone-ground into a powder by granite stone mills. It is high-quality and rather expensive ($80–120€ for 100g). But even within those grades there are differences. The one I prepared on the picture belongs to the ceremonial grade but is still not the most expensive one.
I already like the smell of a good matcha. To me, it almost smells a little bit sweet and mild. If you can smell mild at all =). The taste is hard to describe if you didn’t drink matcha or green tea before. It has a distinct taste and yes, I also needed to grow into enjoying matcha =). I started to drink it for the health reasons and for the ceremonial character of preparing a bowl of matcha.
This leads me to how to prepare a bowl of matcha?
There are different ways to do it. Currently I follow the following process:
I take my matcha hand-made Japanese bowl (yes there are specific matcha bowls for it, but it is also okay if you take a regular bowl) and add approximately one tea spoon of matcha powder into the bowl. Now, I add a little cold water to it and use the chasen (a tea whisk) and mix the matcha with the water until it is a paste. Then, I pour 70-80 °C water over it. First just a little. I take the chasen again and stir the mix until I get a nice foam on top. I repeat this step for 2-3 more times always trying to create more foam. Now, you can enjoy your bowl of matcha. Please also take care of your chasen so you can enjoy it longer. My first one didn’t last long due to mistreatment.
Here are also two more recipes. Both stem from the tea shop T2.
- Add matcha and 200 ml 80 °C water to your matcha bowl and whisk in an M shape (so just stir ^^), gently breaking up any lumps, until the mixture starts to froth.
- Gently warm 500 ml milk of choice in a small pan or pot until heated but not boiling.
- Remove milk from the heat, add matcha mixture and honey to taste. Pour into two cups and serve.
- Add matcha and 150 ml 80 °C water to your matcha bowl and whisk in an M shape (or, again, just stir =) ), gently breaking up any lumps, until the mixture starts to froth.
- Fill a jug (1 liter) with ice and lemon slices.
- Pour matcha mixture over ice and lemon, then top with soda water. Stir well and serve.
Take care and enjoy, Stephan