3/08/2016 – Just a note before going into the blog post. I’ve amended some parts of the post to keep updated with current things (my job for example) but the majority of the post will be from the original post.
Due to my personal fascination in tea, I consider myself lucky to want to try a variety of teas from across the world & my jobs in one way or another have allowed me to meet people who have introduced me to wonderful blends of many different cultures. One of the drinks I am most fascinated with at the moment is the Matcha Tea, a green tea from Japan
In May (2015) I went to Cheltenham Food & Drink Trade Show. I really enjoy these shows as they are obviously a great chance to promote your business & meet new customers but I really love them for the other suppliers. Its amazing to see what wonderful food & drink people are doing & this show was no exception.
I met Tako, from The Sweet Octopus , a Japanese green tea expert who runs a ‘Green Tea Room’ in Manchester specialising in ‘Japanese Gourmet Teas & Patisserie’ She was super friendly & we chatted about the lack of quality tea in England & further more how difficult it is to get a good matcha tea (or any tea) that isn’t ridiculously expensive. She told me her tea comes from traceable & good quality tea garden from outside Kyoto City in central Japan. The farmers have been working there for generations so know their stuff when it comes to tea! Tako gave me a sample of a regular Matcha Tea & a Latte Matcha & both were delicious! Not something that I am used to but I have been interested in Matcha as a different type of tea for a whole so was excited when I got to try some decent ones prepared properly. Take then generously gave me a small pot of the Matcha Tea, a little sample packet of the Latte Matcha & bamboo whisk!! I was one happy girl!
Matcha is a green tea, that comes from the same plant as all other teas – Camellia Sinesis (the breakdown of teas & the different types I will do in another post). But rather than just stopping when the processing has got the finished green leafs that you might find in a regular Green Tea or Jasmine Leaf, the leaves are ground to a fine powder. This means that when you are drinking the Matcha, you are ingesting the leaves not just an infusion so you get a lot more nutriants that you don’t get with a normal cup of tea.
The only problem is that because it comes as a fine powder, it does require a bit more preparation than a teabag or normal loose leaf does. The fine powder requires a whisk (& a strong wrist) to ensure that you get a smooth drink.
You don’t want boiling hot water as that can burn the tea but boil the kettle & leave it for a few minutes to cool slightly. As your not adding milk to the tea, it takes ages to cool to a drinkable temperature so theres no rush. Once you have your measurement of powder (The smallest amount will go a long way but its really about how strong you like it), put a small amount of water in to create a paste when whisking with a special bamboo whisk . Once you have a smooth consistancy top up with more water to dilute it & your ready to drink! A good Matcha should have a light & fresh taste with a frothy top. It’s a great drink as its full of antioxidants & other tea related natural chemicals which are good for you. Rather than the peak & dip caffeine high you get from coffee, this keeps you sustained for longer without the shakiness that you get with our bean friend (though I am all for a decent cup of coffee though). It also is great for boosting your metabolism & boosting your skins natural glow. It’s smell isn’t as sweet as normal tea as the leaves are there in your cup rather than a hint of them,its very grassy & has quite a scent of vegetation but the taste is very refreshing & for want of another word – green. It tastes as it should be, natural & full of flavour. I have to say, today as I finish writing this post, I haven’t had the best of days with my eating as I ate breakfast quite early this morning, walked to work & then was really hungry all morning & ending up having something very unhealthy for lunch! This whole afternoon I have felt sluggish & like I needed a nap & wasn’t as productive as I would have liked to be. The walk home certainly helped but I have just finished drinking the bowl I made for the pictures & I am already feeling like I have had a bit of a pick me up & feel better from just the one drink. I have tried to drink this a few times a week with breakfast just to give me an extra boost of all the goodness that comes with drinking Matcha. Also the bright green colour can’t help but make you smile, it is so cheery & makes feel instantly summery!
Just quickly mention as well the Latte Matcha. Though I haven’t used my sample pack yet, the process is pretty much the same but has a more milky taste. The smell isn’t too good but the taste is the most amazing hot choclately/tea blend! It’s delicious!! To both the teas, you can add honey for sweetness if you need it (though its not traditionally done) which is a good way to get into it, then slowly reduce the amount you add so by the end your drinking the blend on its own.
The Sweet Octopus also has a Tokyo Patisserie which makes the most delicious light green tea cakes, of which I got to sample at the show. It does prove that you can use the tea in so many different ways. I am tempted to try to make a matcha green tea cake of some type or smoothie or something, I just need to find some decent recipes.
I’m not going to lie, its an acquired taste. If your quite fussy with your food & drink, it might take some getting used too but if your quite adventurous then its a great & delicious drink!