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matcha

11.07.2012 / Food & Leisure

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Green elixir

Fresh and energizing, matcha is the finest Japanese tea qualitiy. It comes in thin green powder put into tiny cans hermetically sealed to preserve the intense scent, and it must be kept in the freezer.

 

Matcha used to be the official drink of Japanese  tea ceremonies (O cha no yu), yet  it has gradually become a standard flavor for Japanese desserts and sweets, along with azuki, jyagaimo and mochi. Today, you can find bright green matcha-flavored ice-creams, cookies, candies, pancakes, frappè, cappucino and much more.

 

A popular summer version of this tea – extremely refreshing -  is iced-matcha served in ceramic tea-bowls (take a look at these ones by artist Ajiki Hiro). Just put a small amount of jade green powder in your chawan and mix it with cool water, as it doesn’t need infusion. Stir it quickly using a chasen, the typical bamboo tool, until you obtain a soft green foam – your matcha is now ready to drink.Matcha crops are located in the area of Uji, in the Kyoto Prefecture. Actually, matcha plants are the same used for Gyokuro tea (the finest japanese leaf green tea); what changes is the production process, starting from the growing methods.  As soon as they sprout, the plants destined for matcha are covered with straw or a plastic sheet, to allow the leaves to retain  the highest possible quantity of chlorophyll – which accounts for  the typical “matcha green” color and the grassy flavor.

 

As you can imagine, matcha is a hate-it-or-love-it drink; however, once in a lifetime it is definitely worth a try. You can have it at almost every teahouse in Japan, but if you are really into tea then don’t miss a visit to the World Tea Museum, which is located in the Shizuoka province, behind the impressive Mount Fuji (stop at Kanaya – two hours away from Tokyo). The museum occasionally invites visitors to hand-pick tea leaves in the fields, an amazing experience.

 

[Sara Francesca, infocre.wordpress.com]


Links

http://www.ochanosato.com/

http://www.e-yakimono.net/html/ajiki-hiro.html

http://www.chanoyu.com/



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