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Encyclopedia > Matcha
Matcha
Type: Green
Other names: 抹茶, 'Rubbed Tea', 'Ground tea'
Origin: Japan
Quick description: Well-known stone ground tea, generally expensive.

Matcha (抹茶? IPA: [matʲːɕa]) is a fine, powdered green tea used particularly in Japanese tea ceremony, as well as to dye and flavour foods such as mochi and soba noodles, green tea ice cream and a variety of wagashi (Japanese confectionery). The most famous Matcha-producing regions are Uji in Kyoto (tea from this region is called "Ujicha"), Nishio in Aichi (tea from this region is called Nishiocha) both on the main island of Honshū; Shizuoka, and Northern Kyushu. Image File history File links Matcha. ... Green tea (绿茶) is tea that has undergone minimal oxidation during processing. ... Articles with similar titles include the NATO phonetic alphabet, which has also informally been called the “International Phonetic Alphabet”. For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words, see IPA chart for English. ... Green tea (绿茶) is tea that has undergone minimal oxidation during processing. ... A woman wearing a kimono performs a tea ceremony outdoors, while seated in seiza position. ... Rice Cake Pounding mochi in an usu Making mochi with a modern piece of equipment Mochi (Japanese: ; Chinese: ) is a Japanese rice cake made of glutinous rice pounded into paste and molded into shape. ... Soba served on a zaru Soba ) is the Japanese word for buckwheat. ... Green tea ice cream for sale Green tea ice cream ) is a Japanese ice cream flavour. ... A selection of wagashi to be served during a Japanese tea ceremony. ... Uji (Japanese: 宇治市; -shi) is a city on the southern outskirts of the city of Kyoto, on the Keihan line or the JR Nara Line towards Osaka. ... Kyoto )   is a city in the central part of the island of HonshÅ«, Japan. ... Nishio (西尾市; -shi) is a city located in Aichi, Japan. ... Aichi can refer to: Aichi Prefecture Aichi Steel Corporation This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... HonshÅ« (本州 Literally Main State) is the largest island of Japan, called the Mainland; it is south of Hokkaido across the Tsugaru Strait, north of Shikoku across the Inland Sea, and northeast of Kyushu across the Kanmon Strait. ... Shizuoka Prefecture ) is located in the ChÅ«bu region on HonshÅ« island, Japan. ... KyÅ«shÅ« region of Japan and the current prefectures on KyÅ«shÅ« island KyÅ«shÅ« ), literary nine provinces, is the third largest island of Japan and most southerly and westerly of the four main islands. ...


Matcha is generally expensive compared to other forms of tea, although its price depends on its quality.

Contents

History

Powdered tea, stored and traded as tea bricks, was invented in China during the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Preparation and consumption of powdered tea was formed into a ritual by Zen (Chan) Buddhists.[citation needed] A compressed tuo of Xiaguan Te Ji pu-erh. ... Northern Song in 1111 AD Capital Kaifeng (960–1127) Linan (1127–1276) Language(s) Chinese Religion Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism Government Monarchy Emperor  - 960-976 Emperor Taizu  - 1126–1127 Emperor Qinzong  - 1127–1162 Emperor Gaozong  - 1278–1279 Emperor Bing History  - Zhao Kuangyin taking over the throne of the Later Zhou... Zen is a school of Mahāyāna Buddhism notable for its emphasis on practice and experiential wisdom—particularly as realized in the form of meditation known as zazen—in the attainment of awakening. ...

A bowl of matcha on a black lacquered tray with a traditional sweet
A bowl of matcha on a black lacquered tray with a traditional sweet

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 16th century tea master Sen no Rikyu formulated the rules of Japanese tea ceremony, specifying matcha as the correct tea to use. Image File history File links Powderedgreentea. ... Image File history File links Powderedgreentea. ... A woodblock print by Yoshitoshi, (Japan, 1887) depicting Bodhidharma the founder of Chinese Zen. ... Myōan Eisai, founder of the Rinzai School of Zen, 12th century. ... (15th century - 16th century - 17th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 16th century was that century which lasted from 1501 to 1600. ... Sen no Rikyu (千利休; 1522 - 1591) is considered the most profound influence on the Japanese tea ceremony. ... A woman wearing a kimono performs a tea ceremony outdoors, while seated in seiza position. ...


Production

The preparation of matcha starts several weeks before harvest, when the tea bushes are covered to prevent direct sunlight. This slows down growth, turns the leaves a darker shade of green and causes the production of amino acids that make the resulting tea sweeter. Tea leaves in a Chinese gaiwan. ... Phenylalanine is one of the standard amino acids. ...


After harvesting, if the leaves are rolled out before drying as usual, the result will be gyokuro (jewel dew) tea. However, if the leaves are laid out flat to dry, they will crumble somewhat and become known as tencha (展茶). Tencha can then be de-veined, de-stemmed, and stone ground to the fine, bright green, talc-like powder known as matcha. Gyokuro is a fine Green tea from Japan. ...


Note that only ground tencha qualifies as matcha, and other powdered teas are known as konacha (粉茶, lit. "powdered tea").


The flavour of matcha is dominated by its amino acids. The highest grades of matcha have more intense sweetness and deeper flavour than the standard or coarser grades of tea harvested later in the year. In chemistry, an amino acid is any molecule that contains both amino and carboxylic acid functional groups. ...


Grades

Grades of matcha are defined by many factors.


Location on the green tea tree

Where leaves destined for tencha are picked on the green tea tree is vital.


The very top would have developing leaves, that are soft and supple. This gives a finer texture to higher grades. More developed leaves are harder, giving lower grades a sandy texture. The better flavour is a result of the tree sending all its nutrients to the growing leaves.


Also, as a result of chlorophyll's relationship to tannin, younger growth is greener and more vibrant in colour, while more developed leaves further down the plant have had their chlorophyll convert gradually into tannin[citation needed], giving a more bitter flavour and duller brown-green colour profile. Chlorophyll gives leaves their green color Space-filling model of the chlorophyll molecule Chlorophyll is a green pigment found in most plants, algae, and cyanobacteria. ... Tannins are astringent, bitter-tasting plant polyphenols that bind and precipitate proteins. ...


Treatment before processing

Tencha leaves are traditionally dried outside in the shade and are never exposed to direct sunlight. However, these days, drying has mostly moved indoors. Quality matcha is vibrantly green also as a result of this treatment.


Stone grinding

Stone grinding is an art form in and of itself. Without the right equipment (matcha outside Japan is often exploded, lowering quality) and technique, matcha can become "burnt" and suffer degradation in quality.


Oxidation

Oxidation is also a factor in determining grade. Matcha exposed to oxygen can easily become compromised. Oxidation smells like hay and affects colour and texture as well. The most fundamental reactions in chemistry are the redox processes. ...


Preparation

A bamboo tea whisk (a chasen), used for whisking matcha
A bamboo tea whisk (a chasen), used for whisking matcha

Prior to serving, the matcha is often forced through a sieve in order to break up clumps. There are special sieves available for this purpose, which are usually stainless steel and combine a fine wire mesh sieve and a temporary storage container. A special wooden spatula is used to force the tea through the sieve, or a small, smooth stone may be placed on top of the sieve and the device shaken gently. Image File history File links Chasen. ... Image File history File links Chasen. ... A common spatula design A spatula, known as a fish slice in British English, is a kitchen utensil with a long handle and a broad flat edge, used for lifting fish and fried foods. ...


If the sieved matcha is to be served at a Japanese tea ceremony, then it will be placed into a small tea caddy known as a chaki. Otherwise, it can be scooped directly from the sieve into a tea bowl. A woman wearing a kimono performs a tea ceremony outdoors, while seated in seiza position. ... A typical lacquerware natsume (a chaki made of wood). ... A 16th century black Raku-style chawan, used for thick tea (Tokyo National Museum) A chawan (茶碗) is a bowl used for preparing and drinking matcha (powdered green tea) in Japanese tea ceremonies. ...


A small amount of matcha is placed into the bowl, traditionally using a bamboo scoop called a chashaku, then a modicum of hot (not boiling) water is added. The mixture is then whisked to a uniform consistency, using a bamboo whisk known as a chasen. There must be no lumps left in the liquid, and no ground tea should remain on the sides of the bowl. Because matcha can be bitter, it is traditionally served with a small sweet. A selection of wagashi to be served during a Japanese tea ceremony. ...


Usucha, or thin tea, is prepared with half a teaspoon of matcha and approximately 75 ml (2.5 oz) of hot water, which can be whisked to produce froth or not, according to the drinker's preference (or to the traditions of the particular school of tea). Usucha creates a lighter and slightly more bitter tea. Schools of Japanese tea ceremony refers to the various traditions of the Japanese Way of Tea, known as ryūha (流派) in Japanese. ...


Koicha, or thick tea, requires significantly more matcha, as many as six teaspoons to 3/4 cup of water. Because the resulting mixture is significantly thicker, blending it requires a slower, stirring motion which does not produce foam. Koicha produces a sweeter tea, and is served almost exclusively as part of Japanese tea ceremonies.


Other uses

Matcha Latte

Matcha is now a common ingredient in sweets. It is used in castella, manju, and monaka; as a topping for kakigori; mixed with milk and sugar as a drink; and mixed with salt and used to flavour tempura in a mixture known as matcha-jio. It is also used as flavouring in many Western-style chocolates, candy, and desserts, such as cakes and pastries (including Swiss rolls and cheesecake), cookies, pudding, mousse, and green tea ice cream. Even the Japanese snack Pocky has a matcha-flavoured version. Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 450 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (960 × 1280 pixel, file size: 178 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Taken at a Japanese supermarket File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Matcha... Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 450 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (960 × 1280 pixel, file size: 178 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Taken at a Japanese supermarket File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Matcha... Vendor sells kasutera at a festival in Hakone Kasutera (カステラ) is a sponge cake made of sugar, flour, eggs, and starch syrup. ... Manju (Japanese: 饅頭, manjū) is a famous, popular, and traditional Japanese confection. ... Monaka (Japanese 最中) is a Japanese snack food made of azuki bean filling sandwiched between two thin crisp wafers made from sticky rice. ... Kakigori Kakigōri ) is a Japanese dessert made from shaved ice flavored with syrup. ... Tempura Tempura Ice Cream Tempura (Japanese: てんぷら or 天麩羅, tenpura) refers to classic Japanese deep fried batter-dipped seafood and vegetables. ... Chocolate most commonly comes in dark, milk, and white varieties, with cocoa solids contributing to the brown coloration. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Confectionery. ... A selection of desserts Dessert is a course that typically comes at the end of a meal, usually consisting of sweet food but sometimes of a strongly-flavored one, such as some cheeses. ... Homemade swiss roll, filled with lemon curd Swiss roll is a type of sponge cake baked in a very shallow rectangular baking tray, and then filled, rolled up, and served in circular slices. ... Polish Cheesecake A slice of Jewish-style baked Lemon Cheesecake Japanese white chocolate cheesecake Green tea flavored cheescake served with green tea ice cream A cheesecake is a sweet, cheese-based pie. ... This page is about edible cookies. ... Pudding can be prepared with a large variety of toppings such as fresh fruit and/or berries, and whipped cream Christmas pudding Dessert pudding Illustrations from Isabella Beetons Mrs Beetons Book of Household Management, 1861 In the United Kingdom, and some Commonwealth countries, pudding is the common name for... Mousse is a form of creamy dessert typically made from egg, sugar, and cream usually with other flavors such as chocolate or fruit. ... Green tea ice cream for sale Green tea ice cream ) is a Japanese ice cream flavour. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


The use of matcha in modern drinks has also spread to North American cafés where, as in Japan, it has become integrated into lattes, iced drinks, milkshakes, and smoothies. It has also been incorporated into alcoholic beverages. This does not cite any references or sources. ... A strawberry milkshake topped with whipped cream and strawberry syrup A milkshake is a sweet, cold beverage which is made from milk, ice cream, and sweet flavourings such as fruit syrup or chocolate sauce (in Canada and most regions of the United States, and the United Kingdom. ...


The health benefits of green tea and matcha have also raised significant interest in North America. Consequently, it can now be found in numerous health food products ranging from cereal to energy bars.


External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Stash Tea: Stash Matcha Green Tea (306 words)
Matcha is the powdered leaf tea used in the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony.
For the tea ceremony the powdered Matcha is measured with a chashaku (bamboo spoon) and is placed in a chawan (serving bowl), hot water is added, then whipped with a chasen (bamboo whisk) until frothy.
Matcha has a bright jade green color and an unexpected distinctive flavor that is mellow and slightly sweet.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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