Matcha is a variety of finely-powdered green tea. Matcha Uji means "froth of liquid jade" and the cultural activity called the Japanese tea ceremony centers around the preparation, serving, and drinking of matcha. In modern times, matcha has also come to be used to flavour and dye foods such as mochi and soba noodles, green tea ice cream and a variety of wagashi (Japanese confectionery).
In Tang Dynasty China (618-907), tea leaves were steamed and formed into tea bricks for storage and trade. The tea was prepared by roasting and pulverizing the tea, and decocting the resulting tea powder in hot water, adding salt. In the Song Dynasty (960-1279), the method of making powdered tea from steam-prepared dried tea leaves, and preparing the beverage by whipping the tea powder and hot water together in a bowl became popular.
Preparation and consumption of powdered tea was formed into a ritual by Zen (Chan) Buddhists. The earliest Chan monastic code in existence, entitled Chanyuan qinggui (Rules of Purity for the Chan Monastery, 1103), describes in detail the etiquette for tea ceremonies.Zen Buddhism, and powdered tea along with it, were brought to Japan in 1191 by the monk Eisai. Powdered tea was slowly forgotten in China, but in Japan it continued to be an important item at Zen monasteries, and became highly appreciated by others in the upper echelons of society during the 14th through 16th centuries. Along with this development, tea plantation owners in Uji perfected techniques for producing excellent tea for matcha.
Matcha Tea Benefits
Matcha green tea is cited as one of the best teas to drink for your health. This is because the whole tea leaf --- not just the buds --- is ground with a stone into the powder that is used to prepare the drink.
Chlorophyll:The way matcha is harvested preserves its chlorophyll content. The strong presence of this element helps your body purge itself of toxins.
Versatility:In addition to drinking it straight, the tea also goes well with desserts, smoothies and soups, so it's easy to incorporate into your diet.
Alertness:Matcha green tea is credited with helping soothe people's nerves, but at the same time makes others feel more alert and focused.
Diet Aid:Like all other natural teas, matcha doesn't have any sugar. Since it is high in fiber and assists in digestion, it's a good complement for dieters who want a healthy drink.
Immunity:This tea is attributed with supporting your immune system by helping you fight off viruses and destroying bacteria.
Antioxidants:Matcha is cited as being a far better source of antioxidants than regular green tea --- although how superior it is is debated --- as well as oranges and blueberries
How to Brew Japanese Green Tea
Green tea has the highest presence of antioxidant properties among all teas and Japanese green tea offers abundance of benefits for your health. Japan has been leading the world in average life expectancy for many years and it is believed that one factor that helps contributing to high life expectancy among Japanese people is their regular consumption of Japanese green tea.
Step 1：Boil fresh, clean water in a kettle and remove from heat.
Step 2：Pour hot water from the kettle into empty teapot. Remember not to put any tea leaves, just yet. The secret to tasty Japanese green tea is to brew it using lower water temperature. Avoid brewing Japanese green tea in boiling water or water that it is too hot, otherwise your tea will turn out to be too bitter.
Step 3：Pour hot water from teapot into teacups. This process of pouring water twice (once from kettle to teapot and then from teapot to teacups) ensures that the water is cooled down to ideal temperature before tea leaves are added.
Step 4：Now, add recommended amount of loose tea leaves to the teapot and pour hot water from teacups back into the teapot. Do not stir, shake or swirl the tea inside the teapot as it might adversely effect the taste of your tea.
Step 5：Allow tea to brew for about 45 seconds to 1 minute (infusion time might be slightly longer depending on your Japanese green tea variety) and pour flavorful tea into teacups. Remember not to leave tea leaves in the water for a long time because leaves will get cooked and the tea will turn out to be too bitter.