This week we’re all about Matcha. Matcha has been steadily gaining popularity in Canada, where it has been served both hot and cold, with or without milk. Even with all of the ways Matcha has been re-imagined, it is actually one of the healthiest ways to consume tea. Why? With Matcha you are consuming the entire leaf, rather than infusing and removing the tea leaves. Matcha is a finely ground powder made from Tencha (tea leaves that are specifically manufactured for Matcha production) leaves. The method of grinding tea leaves into a fine powder was made popular throughout China until the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Buddhist Monks from Japan brought this production method back with them when they returned from China. The leaves are deveined and the stems removed in order to prepare them for being stone ground by hand. It takes approximately one hour to grind 30g of Matcha, one of the reasons why Matcha’s price point is a lot higher in comparison to other teas. Tencha leaves are shade grown for 3 weeks before they are harvested, and never exposed to direct sunlight during their last period of growth. Shade growing the leaves increases their overall chlorophyll levels, and halts photosynthesis. Matcha is available in two different grades: Ceremonial and Culinary. Ceremonial quality is the premium grade, used in Japan’s tea ceremony. Culinary is used in baking, confections, and makes a less expensive cup for daily consumption. Matcha is best prepared in a wide bowl using a whisk until the tea has a frothy appearance. You’ll notice in our sensory evaluation of a ceremonial grade of Matcha that we use the term umami. Umami is a Japanese word that means ‘pleasant savoury taste’ and one of our 5 senses. Umami delivers a meaty and long-lasing sensation on your tongue. Please see below for our sensory evaluation for a Ceremonial grade of Matcha.