By: Estelle Vosloo
Matcha refers to a powder-fine form of green tea the nucleus of the sacred traditional Japanese Tea Ritual. This tradition has been honoured in its purest form and have survived centuries of Western threat towards comfort and quick.
But what has sparked so much world interest in a tea that has been around since the Song Dynasty in 618 and lauded for its health and meditation benefit by 13th century Monks? Even the brave and fearless Samurai was known to take an occasional swing of Matcha when he knew he would have to think on his feet (and probably sword in hand too). The world dragged themselves up from their coaches and took note when research confirmed this teas impressive claim to fame Its stupendously high anti-oxidant levels!
According to claims by UK entrepreneur and creator of the first ever Matcha based ready to drink beverage, Vivid, a cup of Matcha contains at least ten TIMES the number of anti-oxidants found in store bought green tea. In an interview with Clare Dwyer Hogg of www.independent.co.za Shillcock emphasizes that besides the high concentration of anti-oxidants, Matcha has a respectable level of caffeine and L-theanine – an effective mood-booster that also strengthens brain power. The slow release reaction of the teas caffeine into the bloodstream leads to more sustained energy levels.
Gutsy entrepreneur and tea enthusiast James Shillcock confessed Our biggest hurdle was that Matcha is extremely bitter in its raw form but Shillcock overcame this problem by mixing the Matcha with more pleasant tasting fruit juices while keeping it real and not adding any additional sugar to the product. But taste is a little matter of inconvenience when the goal is to reach a wrinkle free 100! Afterall if it was good enough for dedicated Monks and sword wielding Samurai warriors it is good enough for you!
But Matcha didn’t quietly sit on the tea shelf next to the Ceylon tea minding its own business, no! The bright green colour was too irresistible and begged to be added to everything from frozen yogurt to pancakes and macaroons with the happy bonus of a good old massive health boost. It has kicked up a storm and has insisted on becoming a (rather expensive, but well received) trend.
It probably deserves to be a bit pricey. The cultivation process, availability and preparation is time consuming and labour intensive.
The tea bushes are covered to prevent any direct sunlight from reaching the leaves. This process will then naturally slow down the plants growth phase and allows the collection of increased levels of chlorophyll. At this point the leaves turn a darker shade of green which causes the production of amino-acids and in particular L-Theanine.
The tea buds are handpicked and placed flat to dry. Once it has been successfully dried the leaves are easily de-stemmed and de-veined (again by hand). The dried leaves are collected and then stone ground by hand (what else, right) until it reaches the consistency of talcum powder this process might take as long as an hour and will present you with a mere 30g of the green gold for your tiresome efforts.
Locally a company called The Tea Merchant sells Matcha at R350 per 40g of powder this translates to 8 cups of tea at just under R 43,00 a cup. Their site claims that Matcha has as much as 70 times more anti-oxidants than contained in orange juice. Needing 8 oranges to squeeze out a cup of orange juice and paying almost R37 per kg for those oranges …. then Matcha is not that expensive at all! Make sure you call them up before buying your Matcha to avoid disappointment as the product is in huge demand! Visit ‘The Tea Merchant’ athttp://www.theteamerchant.co.za/collections/green-tea
Publication: https://www.kisekimatcha.com; Author: Unknown; Publish / Update or Modification Date: Unknown; Link to Original Article: https://www.kisekimatcha.com/en/about-matcha/the-different-qualities/rolling-and-drying.html; Date Accessed: 3 March 2014.
Publication: The Independent http://www.independent.co.uk/; Author: Clare Dwyer Hogg; Publish / Modification date: 7 November 2013; Link to Original Article: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/features/matcha-the-day-heard-about-the-soft-drink-thats-set-to-be-the-next-big-thing-8927953.html; Date Accessed 03 March 2014.
Publication: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org; Author: Unknown; Publish / Update or Modification Date: 25 February 2014: Link to Original Article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matcha; Date Accessed: 03 March 2014.
Publication: www.hungryrabbitnyc.com; Image by: hungryrabbit; Publish / Update or Modification Date: 25 January 2011; Link to image:http://hungryrabbitnyc.com/2011/01/kiss-me-matcha/; Date Accessed: 4 March 2014.
Publication: Pinterest; Image by: (re-pinned by The Tea Merchant); Publish / Update or Modification Date: Unknown; Link to image: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/129056345544746760/; Date Accessed: 4 March 2014.
Publication: www.cookingwithjapanesegreentea.blogspot.com; Image by: Unknown; Publish / Update or Modification Date: 30 April 2012; Link to image: http://cookingwithjapanesegreentea.blogspot.com/2012/04/green-tea-diet.html; Date Accessed: 4 March 2014.
Publication: www.myorganicrecipes.com; Image by: www.myorganicrecipes.com; Publish / Update or Modification Date: 17 March 2011; Link to image:http://www.myorganicrecipes.com/tag/tea-2/;Date Accessed: 4 March 2014.