If you fear not knowing where to begin with the beautiful & calming ritual of preparing a bowl of Ceremonial Matcha, fret not as we break down all the mysteries and myths right here for you.
First and foremost, where did the practice of grinding tea leaves into powdered form and whisking it with hot water in a tea bowl come from? While the Japanese tea ceremonies popularized the enjoyment of powered green tea, we can actually trace the origin of the practice back to the Tang dynasty of Imperial China (spanning the years of 618 - 907). The production process of tea powder was created for convenience to transport and trade. Within the society, powdered tea was a medium for competition among royalties, noblemen, and common citizens alike to validate the quality of the tea leaves. The activity was first introduced in the Tang dynasty, but it really took off and prospered in Song dynasty (960 - 1290) where scholars and cultured individuals were well-cultivated and respected.
It was when a Zen Buddhist monk visited from Japan during the Song dynasty that he brought the tea seeds and the tradition of powdered tea back to his country. Matcha is signature to the Chado philosophies of the monks, which translates to "The Way of Life", making the ritual a rigid and sacred ceremony available to monks and royalties only. It was until years later, that common citizens are able to farm and harvest their own teas, making matcha available for everyone.
CLEAN SOURCE. SINGLE ORIGIN.
To extend the tradition of tea enjoyment for all, we have traveled across the country of Japan to different tea farms and meeting with various producers to find a well-balanced Ceremonial Matcha that taste divine but at a price point and accessibility available to everyone. Our matcha is sourced directly from a pesticide-free farm in Shizuoka, Japan, near the foot of the Fuji Mountain. We've picked the Okumidori cultivar for it's smooth texture, mellow flavors of umami, and an abundance of sweetness.
Below, you will find a list of utensils that could be helpful in making your first (or nth) bowl of matcha, simplified, hassle-free, and enjoyable.
Hot Water (boiled and cooled down to drinkable temperature)
Tall Cup (used to soften the tips of the whisk)
COOL WATER DOWN
Once you have your equipment ready, you could start by boiling the water, and pouring 80 ml of the boiled water into a vessel to cool it down to a drinkable temperature. This is because when you add the water to the tea bowl to prepare for whisking, it is advised that you or the guest you are serving should drink the whisked and frothed matcha as soon as you can, as the matcha is essentially grind tea leaves, which are insoluble in water and will separate again over time.
SOFTEN THE TIPS
Pour a separate 15-20 ml of hot water to the tall cup and place your whisk inside so that at least three quarters of the tips are submerged in the water. This helps to clean off any residue from your previous matcha sessions as well as soften the tips of the whisk to ease the frothing process. Leaving your whisk in the hot water for 2-3 minutes should be enough.
MEASURE & SIFT TEA POWDER
Measure out one teaspoon of matcha (for one person). Then, to ensure no lumps can make its way into your creamy concoction, it is best to sift the matcha into the bowl directly so that you can obtain a fine consistency as well as being able to retain the flavors as much as possible. We recommend strainers or sifts that are made out of metal as it cleans out much better than other materials such as wood, ceramics, nylon or silk. Sifting one time should be enough.
POUR & WHISK
By now, your hot water should have cooled down enough to a drinkable temperature (you can test by placing your hand outside of the vessel; it should feel hot but not to the point where you need to remove your hand immediately). Pour the water into your tea bowl and begin whisking briskly but gently.
[Use a "W" or "M" motion when you whisk]
For smaller bubbles and a smoother froth, first ensure that your matcha mixture looks evenly distributed (there are no huge lumps or layers of matcha still clustered at the bottom of your tea bowl etc). Then, you can slow down your whisking motion and begin making gentle circles on the surface of the tea mixture. This method slowly breaks down any large bubbles created from your vigorous whisking but maintains some volume and structure that you want in a froth.
To remove your whisk, bring the whisk back to a perpendicular position right at the center of the tea bowl, and gently lift the tips off the frothy layer of your matcha mixture.
As mentioned previously, the matcha and water will separate again over time. The water temperature will also cool down much faster since you are using a wider bowl. Therefore, we highly recommend drinking your matcha immediately after whisking to enjoy it in its optimal state.