The traditional powdered ceremonial Japanese green tea; matcha has recently gained popularity in the west as a "super-food". As opposed to other teas where an infusion of the leaf is drunk, with matcha, the whole leaf is consumed. This, of course, means more antioxidants and more caffeine. Our Matcha Wako is enjoyed in thin tea preparation and is the second highest of the ceremonial grades (usucha, thin grade). It arrives vibrantly green and freshly sealed in airtight 20 gram tins which yield 12-14 servings. Our matcha is freshly ground in Japan, each time we order it.
Our producer, Marukyu-Koyamaen, first began production of tea in the Genroku period (1688-1704) in Ogura, Uji. Through subsequent generations, the quality of the tea increased, thus establishing the venerable tradition of Ujicha; by the eighth generation, the market had been extended to all of Japan. A standard of high quality, consistent from cultivation to the final product, was achieved, and the company- still family-owned- remains highly esteemed. Marukyu-Koyamaen now ranks among the foremost producers of fine teas in Japan, and has won many national prizes.
Japanese green teas are best brewed between 170-180 degrees for 1 - 2 minutes. Chinese green teas are best brewed between 175-185 for 3 - 4 minutes.
What is Green Tea?
Green tea, like white tea, is made from buds and young leaves. After the initial withering phase the tea is rolled or twisted to release the essential oils of the leaves. This additional handling causes the leaf to begin to oxidize, a process which if left alone, would produce black tea. In order to stop this process at the right time (roughly 30% oxidation) the producer introduces heat in one of two ways: with steam (the Japanese style) or with dry heat (the Chinese style). These two different styles produce two broad types of green tea. The Japanese style is dark green, glossy, and deeply vegetal while the Chinese style is lighter in color and introduces an elegant toastiness to the tea.
Health Benefits of Green Tea
Congratulations, if you are drinking tea, you have already chosen an incredible, healthful beverage. Tea is considered in many cultures to have medicinal properties. All tea comes from the same plant family, camellia sinensis, and therefore all types and styles contain the same components that contribute to significant health benefits. Influence of the varietal, growing conditions, production techniques, and your brewing practices all play roles in antioxidant and caffeine levels in your cup. Although green tea is promoted as having the highest antioxidants of all types of tea, varying factors change antioxidant contents between all types of tea. So enjoy a cup of tea, any tea, and know that you are drinking health.