You can’t take any old green tea leaf and powder it and call it Matcha. Matcha is the elite of the green tea, which the Japanese have been refining for thousands of generations. Certain tea leaves are grown especially for Matcha from a very specific plant, in a very specific region. Did I mention everything about Matcha is very specific? ~smiles~
Part of the very specific process is to grow these plants in the shade because this slows down the growth, which produces a greater share of the amino acids unique to Matcha. Select leaves are chosen during harvest. Even on this specialized plant, not all leaves make the final cut. After harvest, the selected leaves are laid out flat on the ground to dry.
At this point, the dried leaves can be known as Tencha.
Taking the tencha to the next step ~ grinding it by stone ~ produces the Matcha. It comes out as a jade green powder. Whisk it with heated water and you have yourself a drink that has been exclusive to the Zen Buddhists for a very long time.
On the other hand, if you do try to grind green tea leaves into powder that were not especially bred as Matcha ~ well it happens but the terminology for that is Konacha instead of Matcha.
In the Japanese tea ceremony, varying amounts of Matcha can be added to the heated water. To add six teaspoons matcha to six ounces of water is to have Koicha. That’s a very thick cup of tea. Most people will use less Matcha, and this thinner Matcha drink is referred to as Usucha.
Matcha is historically a ceremonial drink, but in the modern culture Matcha powder is added to many foods and beverages. Because of its green color it is often added for the express purpose of making foods green and healthy.
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