Surprisingly sweet, slightly grassy and almost tangibly nourishing, Matcha is the powdered bright green tea traditionally used in the Japanese tea ceremony. Made from leaves with the highest concentration of caffeine of any plant, this verdant brew gives a real buzz while remaining miraculously healthy. Used by Zen Buddhist monks to stay awake for meditation weeks, and by Japanese students cramming for exams, it is now spreading to the West mainly in the form of the matcha latte.
Its concentrated power comes from the way it is grown. Matcha is made of the tips of budding tea-bushes that have been shaded with bamboo mats for three weeks of spring growth. This keeps the caffeine content high and preserves the chlorophyll (since the sunless leaves cannot undergo photosynthesis). The leaves are stone-ground to an ultra-fine powder and kept in the fridge. A further part of matcha’s kick is that you ingest the whole, ground-up tea rather than drinking a steeped brew poured off the leaves. The amino acid l-theanine, prominent in green tea and sold as a stress treatment in Japan, is one reason tea-caffeine has a different physiological effect than coffee-caffeine. It tends to give drinkers a calm energy rather than a jittery restlessness.
Our high grade matcha from Kyoto is suitable for all purposes, including Japanese tea ceremonies and as a fine ingredient in foods.