Organic Ceremonial Grade Matcha 60g
Organic Ceremonial Grade Matcha 60g
(up to 60 servings per pouch)
Premium 1st harvest leaves, for a smooth, delicate, traditional matcha tea, best enjoyed with water only. Excellent hot or iced.
Matcha - what you need to know...
We are big fans of Matcha here at the healthy hippy! If you’re gonna drink something it may as well have health benefits right? Hard to go past a good matcha latte with nut mylk!
Below is some info on what Matcha is and the laborious process involved in cultivating it. It’s important to note that not all matcha is created equal, as you’ll read, which explains why there is a variation in grades and also therefore prices with matcha.
What exactly is Matcha?
Matcha is a true green tea, but it’s growth style, harvest and production style are quite different to other green teas (and also oolong and black teas).
The most superior and highest grade matcha is grown in Uji, Japan where it has been cultivated by family lineages for hundreds of years. A Zen Buddhist started the cultivation of tea there at the beginning of the 13th century. Many matcha connoisseurs (not joking, it’s really a thing) consider Uji to have the ultimate terroir for matcha cultivation, and many of Japan’s most distinguished matcha come from Uji.
Truly superior matcha must has five key characteristics:
- brilliant colour intensity
- superior umami
- excellent terroir (which by definition means a rare tea)
- dreamy frothability, and
- a long, smooth finish that contains crema to the very last drop.
The combination of those five traits is a very rare occurrence; most matcha has a dull colour, bitterness instead of umami, is mass-produced, forms weak crema, if it forms it at all, and has little to no finish.
What makes it so special? How is it harvested?
The very best matcha, gets harvested—always by hand—just once per year, typically in May. Roughly six weeks before harvest, the tea fields, which are surrounded by scaffolding of sorts, are covered from the top. Traditionally, straw was used for this but it’s common now to use black vinyl sheets. The idea is to slowly and gradually decrease the amount of sunlight, and hence photosynthesis, by covering up more and more of the light allowed to shine on the plants. The highest grade matcha is grown in near-darkness by the time harvest rolls around.
As a result of this decreased light, the tea leaves begin to crank out increasing amounts of both chlorophyll and amino acids; the newest growth is very, very delicate, with ever-softer and ever-thinner buds. This increased amino acid content serves to concentrate specific molecules, most of which are glutamates, which give the matcha its intense umami flavour profile. Great matcha is sweet and mouth-watery, with no traces of bitterness, because of this high amino acid content.
Only the smallest, youngest/greenest parts of the plant—the two leaves at the tip of each new shoot—are picked. They are then steamed to preserve the colour and nutrients, and to stop the enzymatic action within the leaves, then thoroughly dried in large cages equipped with heated blowers.
Once dry, they are sorted for grade (with the youngest, greenest, most tender leaves earning the highest marks). Then the laborious and immensely time-consuming task of destemming and deveining happens. The leaves that make it through this rigorous process are called tencha, and, of course, the quality of tencha varies widely. Tencha is then kept refrigerated until it’s ready to be ground, using large granite wheels that rotate very slowly and gently to avoid scorching, into a very fine powder known as matcha. It takes more than an hour to grind 30 grams, which is one of the reasons hand-milled matcha costs so much. It is this grinding process from which matcha—抹 茶, literally, “ground tea”—derives its name.
The ground tea is then vacuum packed and refrigerated at low temperatures until it ships
Why drink matcha? And what kind?
Matcha is very high in antioxidants, and has a whole raft of benefits;
- Enhanced concentration and focus
- Increase in energy
- Bolstered immunity
- Increase in metabolism
- Elevated mood and an inner calm
- High levels of vitamins and minerals
- Improved skin complexion
One cup of Matcha is reported to have the nutritional value of up to 10 cups of regular green tea & over 100 x the antioxidants! Pretty good going really.
There are different grades, with ceremonial being the most superior and the one used in well, you guess it, ceremonies, traditional tea ceremonies at that.
The next is latte grade, which, again is pretty self explanatory…
And culinary, which is more bitter but wonderful to use in, well, culinary preparations. Raw cakes, and for colouring icings are two of our favourites!
We’ve tried many Matcha over the years, and have found matcha matcha to be top notch. Our favourite way to have it on the daily is in a latte, but we’re also partial to the whisked to perfection tea, and have been known to use it for food colouring for party food.