Matcha originated when tea was introduced to Japan by Japanese monks that had returned from studying Buddhism in China. At the time of their return, the style of preparing any tea was to grind it into a fine powder and then beat it in a bowl to create the tea infusion. Over time, China moved away from powdered tea while Japan held onto some of these methods. Over time the process was improved and mastered resulting in the matcha powder we know. Today in addition to the traditional method of drinking matcha, it can be found in smoothies, baked goods and lattes. What hasn’t changed through all this time is the quality and benefits of those powdered green leaves.
Matcha is created from the highest grade tea leaf in Japan known as tencha. To create tencha, the tea bushes are grown in the shade. The process to cover acres of plants with large cloths is very laborious. Reducing the exposure to sunlight increases the chlorophyll content of the tea leaves , creating the much sought after umami /vegetal flavours of the tea. Like all Japanese green teas, the leaves are steamed at a high temperature to stop the oxidation process, preserving the lush green flavour of the leaf. However unlike other green teas, these leaves will not be rolled. Instead the stem of the leaf along with its veins will be removed so that the leaves can be ground into a fine powder. Stone mills are used to turn the tencha into matcha powder as no other process grinds the leaf as precisely as a stone mill. This method of stone milling is extremely time consuming taking up to an hour to create 30 grams of matcha powder.
Of all green teas, matcha offers the highest level of antioxidants and caffeine. Unlike a typical tea where you steep the leaves and then remove them, with matcha, because the leaves have been finely powdered, you are ingesting the entire leaf, therefore receiving all of the antioxidents and vitamins that the leaf offers.
The Naked Leaf we are pleased to offer Calgary three different varieties of matcha. The first is our pure Premium Organic Grade Matcha. This is for when you will be enjoying your tea without adding any sugar or other ingredients. Wonderfully flavorful on its own. The second is our Culinary Matcha. A slightly lower grade of tea that is fine to drink on its own, but is perfect for cooking. This tea can be used in baking, sauces, meat rubs or any other way you may want to add matcha into your diet. Our third is a Sweet Matcha powder for adding to smoothies, lattes or sprinkling on your yogurt. More tea than sugar, this is not an overly sweet blend.