The basis for the Matcha that we drink today dates back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907) in China when tea leaves were steamed and formed in to tea bricks that made it much easier to trade and store. They prepared this type of tea by extracting and boiling the tea powder in water and adding a touch of salt, quite different to what we see today.
It wasn’t until the Chinese methods of preparing powdered tea and Zen Buddhism linked together in 1191 that matcha started its real journey. Japanese monk Eisai was studying Buddhism at the time in China and brought back a selection of tea seeds and the knowledge of making tea that was handed down to him by monks in China. In turn it is said that he planted these in the temple gardens and cultivated the tea for the tea ceremony, it was considered the highest quality of tea in Japan.
Since this form of tea was extremely limited at the time this drink became a status symbol for the upper class from the fourteenth through to the sixteenth centuries. Now it’s enjoyed worldwide and can be a beverage or integrated in to other types of foods.
The Tea Ceremony
Famous to Japan is the tea ceremony, a ritual that was bought back from China and has been slowly refined and perfected by the Japanese. Perhaps most famous of all is Sen no Riky?, not only did his teachings in tea leave a last effect, his teachings developed forms in architecture, gardens and art that derived from the concept of ‘ichi-go ichi-e’ or ‘one time, one meeting’. This describes the concept of treasuring your meetings with people and cherish the moments that we have in our life.
Today the tea ceremony, called “Chado” or “Sado” in Japanese, continues today and is one of the main pillars of their culture.
Not only is matcha delicious in taste, this powdered tea has many health benefits and was used as medicine when Eisai brought this type of tea back from China in 1191. When drinking matcha you are ingesting the whole leaf, contrasting to other tea where you throw the leaf away. This results you reaping all the benefits that tea has to offer.
Every sip of matcha tea offers a strong dose of antioxidants. In fact, matcha has more antioxidants than any other ‘superfood’, including blueberries and pomegranate.
Catechin EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) is renowned for having cancer-fighting properties, as well as preventing heart disease and slowing the process of ageing. Since over 60% of the catechins in matcha are actually EGCG, one dose of matcha a day can go towards helping to restore, preserve and protect your well-being.
Energy & Focus
L-Theanine is an amino acid (a building block for proteins) that is found in green tea. This combines with the caffeine content in the tea to increase your focus and sustain your energy throughout the day.
Other benefits include helping to relax your body and your mood through the increased amount of dopamine. The best way to start your day.
Chlorophyll is one of the key elements that makes up matcha. Chlorophyll is strong in antioxidants and has anticancer effects. Since high amounts of Chlorophyll are present it will benefit the immune system and can help to clear your skin, protect you blood and heart, also prevent inflammation in the joints.
Here are the recommended instructions for making Matcha ( 1 serving )
Please be aware that matcha tea can be bitter and is best to drink this type of tea with something sweet to balance the taste.
Note: It’s best to soften the bristles of the whisk before the tea is made using water.
1. Pour hot water (70 – 80ml) into a cup and let it cool to around 80?.
2. Discard the hot water from the tea bowl and use 1.5 teaspoons of matcha.
3. Pour the hot water and stir the match slowly with the whisk so that the particles loosen and there are no lumps in the bowl.
4. Start to move the whisk in a more rapid movement, using your wrist to flick forward and then backward in the tea bowl. Repeat this between 40 and 50 times, slowing and whisking the surface to make sure any bubbles are gone.
Iced Matcha Drink
Use the above instructions but add 4 to 5 cubes of ice to make a refreshing take on the normal matcha drink. This is the perfect drink for summer and the ice takes away some of the bitterness.
1. Double the matcha powder or use less water to create a thicker tea will to give you a wake up call in the morning!
2. Want the a quick dose of power? Add it to your cereal or porridge in the morning and you will feel the health benefits.