Among the accessories for preparing tea, matcha tea accessories play an important role in the elaboration of this emerald green tea powder whose origins are intrinsically linked to Buddhism and trade between China and Japan. Matcha tea has a unique taste, has multiple health benefits and promotes meditation.
The matcha tea ceremony: a Japanese tradition for a quality tea
Matcha is a green tea powder imported from China to Japan in the 12th century by a Buddhist monk. Its specific preparation, codified by the nobility, is at the origin of the tea ceremony.
Matcha tea is a refined and expensive tea to make. According to the traditional method still used, the tea leaf is dried and crushed in a stone grinder. In order to take full advantage of its many benefits, the preparation of matcha tea relies on three main utensils, both modern and traditional:
- the matcha bowl, or chawan, to prepare and drink the tea;
- the matcha tea whisk or chasen ;
- the matcha tea spoon or chashaku.
The whisk and the spoon are made of bamboo, handcrafted. The accessories allow to sift, whisk and appreciate this singular green tea. At first sight strange, the preparation is simple and easy.
The essential accessories for the preparation of matcha teas
Matcha teas are not infusions and their preparation differs from that of a more traditional tea. The accessories are the guarantors of a quality tea and allow you to participate in an ancestral elaboration and a unique, soothing and comforting experience.
- The bowls or cups used for the preparation of matcha tea are preferably flat-bottomed.
- The content of the measuring spoon is usually one gram. This amount may be sufficient, but traditionally two measures of chawan are used.
- The whisk, the most famous accessory, comes in different shapes and sizes. The chasen, with its fine yet rigid strands, aerates the tea and creates a creamy foam on the surface of the cup.
- The whisk is often accompanied by a stand (naoshi) which facilitates drying, prevents mildew and prolongs the life of the whisk.
- A sieve is recommended, but not required, to make the powder even finer. Some storage boxes include a sieve.
- The matcha tea box, or natsume, is traditionally made of lacquered wood.
These accessories can be sold separately or as a box or complete set, ideal for a gift.
The preparation of Japanese matcha tea
The preparation of matcha tea is not just a dissolving of powder in water. The mixture of water and air allows theoxygenation of the tea and the foam obtained on the surface releases unique aromas.
- Use the teaspoon to take a dose of matcha and put it in a tea bowl or chawan.
- Add a small amount of cold water to the bowl and slowly whisk it into a lump-free paste.
- Add hot water at 70 or 75 °C. In any tea preparation, especially green tea, it is important to pay special attention to the quality and temperature of the water. Boiling water alters the taste of the tea and gives it a certain bitterness.
- Whisk the mixture firmly and vigorously with the chasen whisk to obtain a green foam, for about 20 seconds. The movement starts from the wrist and is not circular, but Z-shaped or zigzagging.
- Enjoy this preparation, preferably with wagashi or small Japanese pastries.
The use of matcha tea in derivative products
Matcha tea is both an exceptional tea and a popular tea known for its health benefits and increased concentration during meditation. The use of this subtle tea is declined in several derivative products (ice creams, cookies, etc.) and many cooking recipes.
Kyoto is the ideal city to discover the origins of matcha tea and the tea ceremony. Without going to Japan, you can nevertheless travel and live this unique experience by equipping yourself with traditional utensils, a quality tea and by following the essential steps for its preparation. Follow the steps of the preparation and the accessories of matcha tea, in a country of traditions in the middle of intense aromas!