It’s no secret that we love a matcha green tea latte at The Neat Café, so on a recent trip to Japan, we sent Neat marketer, Kathryn, to find out a little bit more about the popular bright green powder that tastes so delicious. Turns out there’s a lot more tradition behind your favourite Instagram shot than you might think…
The Tradition of Matcha
Millennials might have been the ones to kick-start the matcha trend in the Western world, but the Japanese have been drinking it every day for hundreds of years, and as they produce 80,000 tonnes of tea per year, half of which is matcha, they are certainly the experts! It's history actually dates back to the 12th century, when the traditional Japanese tea ceremony called Ocha, was born. This is a highly choreographed ritual all about harmony, respect, purity and tranquillity. It’s an artistic pastime focusing on aesthetics and predefined movements, pouring tea from the heart in order to inspire transformation.
When it comes to its preparation, Matcha differs greatly to brewing up a regular green tea - instead of infusing the leaves in water and removing them to drink, matcha tea leaves are whisked up with hot water and consumed directly. Just one cup has as many antioxidants as ten cups of regular green tea, and it boasts some pretty impressive health benefits, including boosting metabolism, improving alertness and even fighting disease. Look out for a very finely ground powder that is bright green in colour to make sure you're sipping on a high-quality matcha.
How Matcha Is Drank Today
In Japan matcha is still often drunk traditionally (whisked with bamboo whisk and diluted with warm water), and is often served with sweets, such as mochi, to balance out the bitter taste of the tea – much like we like an English breakfast tea with a good biscuit! However, it is also now found in a lot of other sweet treats, such as in milky lattes, ice creams, cakes and so much more. This is much more common to find in bigger, more metropolitan cities, such as Kyoto, where they have been influenced by the use of matcha is other areas of the world – because we all know how aesthetic they look on our Instagram feeds!
Want a taste of Japan without the 11-hour flight and serious jet lag? Try our Organic Matcha Green Tea, which is certified organic and of ceremonial quality, or stop by The Neat Café on Regent St so that we can whip you one up ourselves!