A Google+ follower asked what matcha is, which inspired me to start a series that spotlights the different types of tea.
Matcha is a finely ground green tea that is produced in Japan. Tea bushes are covered about 20 days before harvesting. This slows growth and increases the production of amino acids. The leaves are laid flat to dry until they become somewhat crumbly. This is called tencha. The veins and stems are removed from the tencha and stone ground into matcha. It has a consistency similar to talc baby powder.
Matcha is traditionally prepared using a bamboo whisk (chasen), wooden spoon (chashaku) and a bowl (chawan). It is served as part of the Japanese tea ceremony, also known as Chanoyu. Matcha has become quite trendy and can be found in everything from smoothies, lattes and other drinks. I love baking with it because it is easy to add to almost any recipe. The possibilities are practically endless. Due to the labor involved, matcha can be quite pricey. However, a good bowl of matcha is an amazing experience and I consider it to be worth the expense.
Matcha is generally prepared using water that is about 175 to 180 degrees.