With Matcha shops sprouting up from LA to New York, Japan’s ancient ceremonial tea is having its moment of fame in North America. Having ten times the antioxidants and amino acids found in a cup of steeped green tea and the added benefits of chlorophyll and fiber, matcha, a Japanese powdered green tea, is what is keeping us younger, slimmer, smarter right now. Its versatility has cleared its pathway into bakeries, kitchens and bars across the country, but its smooth and satisfying, rich umami taste is what gives it staying power.
Powdered tea has fallen in and out of popularity throughout the ages. First introduced during the Song Dynasty in China, it went out of fashion there but resurfaced in Japan during the 11th century by way of traveling Japanese Zen Buddhist monks. By the 15th century, Sado, the Way of Tea, or the Japanese Tea Ceremony, ritualized the use of matcha. Sado was based on principals of peace, balance, purity and respect. Likewise, matcha was, and is, known to induce a more relaxed, focused, meditative state*.
Matcha is super concentrated in both the garden and the factory. Tea plants that are cultivated for matcha are grown under shade cloths that keep them from photosynthesizing.
Thus, creating a dense, super green tea that is ingested, rather than steeped.
The finest ceremonial grade matcha is still used for Sado today, but lower grades are used to color and flavor everything from ice cream to soba noodles to mochi. Keep an eye out here for more recipes using Firepot’s sweet Amai Matcha, like our Sweet Potato Matcha Mochi. We would love to hear your ideas and recipes as well.
*The amino acid, L Theanine, naturally occurring in green tea and found in concentrated amounts in matcha, increases alpha wave frequency in the brain, thus creating a relaxed state.