Matcha Latte GradeCertified organic by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries, Japan
A great value matcha from Uji, Japan, this is perfect fo lattes and culinary use although it also drinks very well on its own, with a smooth and mellow flavour that lacks bitterness.
Also available to buy as part of our great value Matcha Set.
Origin: Uji, Kyoto
Harvest: Ichibanca (first harvest) 2019
This is first harvest matcha, or ichibana, which is the most prized crop of the year. This particular farmer only makes matcha once a year (as opposed to most Japanese teas which are harvested three or four times per year) as the use of organic fertilisers mean the leaves grow particularly slowly. The advantage is a high quality crop with a smooth and mellow flavor, and lack of bitterness – the ultimate sign of high quality Matcha.
Generally speaking, higher grade matcha is brighter green with a more noble aroma, such as our premium ceremonial grade matcha.
Matcha is the fine powdered tea used in the Japanese tea ceremony Chanoyu. It is produced in a similar way to gyokuro, but with even more intense shading for up to 30 days before picking.
Shading increases the chlorophyll and amino acid content of the tea and are important for balancing matcha's high caffeine content, which is attributed to ingesting the whole tea leaf rather than an infusion created by steeping the tea leaves in water.
The tea leaves used to make matcha are briefly steamed, individually stemmed and deveined then dried, but not rolled like most other Japanese teas. The dried leaves are called tencha and, without stems or veins, appear as flaky, dark green bits of pure leaf.
The tencha is ground in granite mills to produce a powder of vibrant green hue and the consistency of talcum, which are key quality indicators.
First sift the matcha for a more mellow flavour and to remove lumps.
For usucha, or 'thin tea', which is how matcha is normally served, use 2 chashaku (or 1 teaspoon/2g) of matcha to 70ml of water.
For koicha, the 'thick tea' used in Japanese tea ceremonies, use 4 chashaku (or 2 teaspoons/4g) of matcha to 50ml of water. Only high quality matcha, like our Ceremonial Grade, is suitable for koicha.
Warm a chawan (wide tea bowl) with hot water then pour away. Place the matcha powder in the chawan and add water at 80°C. Carefully stir the tea to dissolve it with a chasen (bamboo whisk), then whisk in a 'W' motion at high intensity until the surface of matcha has a frothy appearance. Take care not to crush the powder with the whisk on the base of the bowl.
The idea is to drink the liquid with the frothy head still intact, so relatively quickly, which serves to dissipate some of the strength of the tea. Water at 80°C is hot enough to draw out some of the teas bitterness without being overwhelming. High quality matcha has a balancing sweetness from the chlorophyll.
Crystallised sweets are the perfect accompaniment to a bowl of matcha, which cuts through the dry matcha notes.
NB Ingesting the whole leaf does mean you are drinking more caffeine than when steepling whole tea leaves, however the amino acid L-theanine does counter the the affect.