MATCHAandMORE
4901 W. Warwick
Chicago, IL 60641








 
WHAT IS M A T C H A

What is Matcha?   Matcha is green powdered tea. It is uniquely Japanese and is the highest quality tea available in Japan. Matcha is the special tea that is used in chanoyu/the Japanese Way of Tea. Traditionally, when it is prepared, only the green powdered tea and hot water are mixed together; nothing is added to the tea. A sweet is enjoyed before drinking the matcha, which perfectly complements matcha's delicious flavor.

Thick Tea/Thin Tea   The highest quality green tea in Japan is either gyokuro, green leaf tea, or matcha, green powdered tea. They are the same tea leaves, but differ in the processing. For matcha, there are two types: koicha/thick tea and usucha/thin tea. Thick tea is higher quality than thin tea; thick tea uses the new, young tea leaves from older tea plants and thin tea comes from the new, young tea leaves from younger tea plants. To prepare thick tea, there is proportionally more tea and less water and they are blended into a creamy mixture, similar to a creamy soup. Thick tea is concentrated, therefore, it needs to be of the highest quality for the most delicious flavor. To prepare thin tea, there is more water and less tea and they are whipped together into a light and frothy mixture.
Leaves are
stone-ground
  Matcha is grown primarily in the Uji area, southwest of Kyoto. The young tea leaves are picked in early May and lightly steamed to prevent any fermentation. This allows the tea to retain its beautiful green color. Then the tea leaves are dried. Traditionally, at this point, the leaves would be stored in chatsubo/tea jars and allowed to season until November, at which time they can be stone-ground as needed. For consistency, the leaves from various varieties of tea plants are blended to produce the best flavor, color, and aroma. Before being stone-ground, the leaves are processed to obtain only the meat part of the leaf. The stems and veins are removed so that the tea will be very fine when ground. It takes one hour to grind somewhat less than 40g of matcha and in the end the final weight of product is about 1/10th of the original harvest. Although clippers can be used to harvest the tea leaves, the leaves for koicha/thick tea are still picked by hand, one by one.

Blends
are given
names
  The blends of matcha are given tea names/chamei either by the tea plantation/shop or by the grand tea master of a particular Tea tradition. After a grand tea master has given a particular tea a name, the tea is referred to as his "okonomi," a tea that is favored by him. MATCHAandMORE offers blends from Koyama-en and Shorai-en whose names were given by the Grand Masters of the Urasenke tradition: Zabosai Oiemoto, the 16th generation and present Grand Master; his father, Housai Daisosho, the 15th generation, and his grandfather, Tantansai, the 14th generation.

How to store matcha   To protect the freshness of your matcha, always store it in the freezer in an air-tight container or plastic bag. Before using, bring the matcha that you will use to room temperature and strain it through a fine sieve.
Health
benefits
  Research continues to support the many health benefits of green tea. Very high in antioxidants, green tea helps to control free radicals, which are a natural consequence of cell metabolism in the body. Polyphenols are found in high concentrations and help in the prevention of heart disease and cancer. Catechins, which are a category of polyphenols, reduces LDL cholesterol and suppresses the chemicals in the body that trigger the constriction of blood vessels, thereby helping in the prevention of high blood pressure. Research has shown that green tea catechins also inhibit the growth of various types of cancer cells and have proven to be antibacterial and antiviral. Theanine is an amino acid that produces a tranquilizing effect in the brain and is found in the leaves of green tea. It helps the brain produce more alpha waves, which make it effective against tension and stress and it increases mental focus and improves concentration. With matcha, the actual tea leaf is consumed, which gives higher concentrations of catechins and vitamins.


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