Matcha!

Hello friends! Today we are here to talk about matcha, that yummy goodness with a distinct flavor you know you love. In all seriousness, if you haven’t jumped on the matcha bandwagon yet, you probably haven’t had good matcha 😉 It has numerous health benefits and provides sustained energy throughout the day.

Rishi Matcha

When Rishi contacted me about sharing some of their matcha, I was SO EXCITED! My family has used Rishi for years–literally it is a family joke that we always get tea in our stockings. I currently have a few giant containers of peppermint in my pantry as well as several smaller sized tasters of green tea chai, masala chai, chamomile, and of course, my love, matcha

What is Rishi, you might ask? According to them:

Since 1997, Rishi Tea has led the industry in sourcing organic teas and exotic botanicals of extraordinary character. This mission carries us around the globe every year at peak season to work and taste side-by-side with growers in the fields. Discovering the many hidden gems of their traditional cultures inspires our blends and invigorates our passion for the culinary arts. With an innovative spirit for trade, travel and study, we welcome you to join us on our botanical journey to leave no leaf unturned.

According to me? Delicious, organic, quality, adventure, calm…all in tea. Their matcha is no exception. 

Rishi-Hubei-China

Making my matcha latte has become my favorite morning activity. There is a local coffee shop near my apartment that makes absolutely beautiful matcha lattes (and all lattes). They know how to do the foam art like no other. They are how I first tried matcha, and have been hooked since then. 

I scared myself thinking that it was really difficult to make though, and for a long time resisted buying matcha to make at home. Instead, I let it be a rare treat for way too long. Boy, do I wish I started making it earlier! It is a truly wonderful way to start your day.

What is Matcha?

Rishi Matcha

Matcha is made from ground green tea leaves. Many of the health benefits it yields come from consuming the whole tea leaf. The one I use, Rishi’s Teahouse Matcha, is a top grade of organic matcha. It is made from the first springtime harvest of tencha (the green tea leaves used to make matcha), and is savored for its umami sweetness, creamy taste and enlivening energy. 

The traditional cultivation of tencha requires shading the tea garden for 3-4 weeks prior to harvest. This elevates chlorophyll and enhances L-theanine and other stimulating amino acids responsible for matcha’s unique bounty of energy. Tencha is made from tea strains specifically cultivated to be:

  • Low in tannin
  • High in caffeine
  • Rich in flavor and umami

 

Health Benefits of Matcha

Some of the many benefits matcha gives include:

  • Calm, focused energy
  • Increased production of dopamine and serotonin, which can enhance mood, improve memory, and promote better concentration
  • Antioxidants, including EGCg, a potent type of antioxidant called a catechin. Matcha contains over 100x EGCg than other teas

 

How do you make matcha?

Rishi matcha

There are several ways you can prepare matcha. I’ll be doing a more detailed post soon, but the typical way (and according to Rishi’s website) is to:

  1. Sift 1 ts of matcha into a bowl
  2. Add 2.5 oz of hot water or milk (170 F) into the bowl
  3. Whisk with a bamboo chasen until thick and foamy

 

What the heck is a chasen?

brand new chasen on left, used for ~3 months chasen on right

brand new chasen on left, used for ~3 months chasen on right

A bamboo chasen is used to whisk the perfect bowl of matcha. It is usually hand-carved from a single piece of bamboo. The tines are split into thin sections and then crafted into the perfect shape for whisking matcha. The one I use from Rishi has 80 tines, making it ideal for whisking matcha thoroughly to create a nice rich foam. This is the foam you really want in a nice bowl of matcha.

To use your chasen, you want to place it in a bowl of hot water before each use. This  will help soften the bamboo tines and make the chasen flexible and springy for great whisking action. After using it, rinse the chasen thoroughly in warm water wash away any remaining matcha foam. The life of a chasen can be extended by storing it in a relatively humid environment. A dry environment might cause the chasen to split along the handle, which is expected over time from a standard quality chasen. Typically, chasens will last for 100-200 bowls of matcha.

Rishi Tea

I hope you enjoyed this little matcha tutorial. Are you going to end up making some matcha on your own? Maybe start with a latte at a nice coffee shop, and go from there. You won’t be disappointed!

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