Understanding the magical history of matcha might elevate your tea-drinking experience
Matcha revolutionized the way we drink tea. Before 12th century Zen monks popularized this powdered form of Camellia sinensis, leaves were dried and compressed into bricks before drinking. Matcha’s first advocate, the Zen monk Eisai, taught his pupils how to properly cultivate and regularly consume powdered tea for optimal spiritual and physical health. Back then, the growing process was revered as much as the ceremony of drinking tea.
An Enchanting Upbringing
Tea bushes were treated with great respect and care from seed to harvest. In the winter, they were allowed a full season of rest in order to accumulate nutrients below ground. The tea bushes would awaken from their slumber in the spring, fortified by their hibernation and ready to transfer energy into newly forming buds. This is why the first spring harvest is always the sweetest and most nutritious - just as we feel best after a period of rest, Camellia sinensis creates the best product when it’s allowed the entire winter to restore.
Since sunlight causes bitterness, wooden structures topped with reed screens were built around the bushes to block ~75% of the sunlight. 10 days later, a layer of straw was placed over the reeds, blocking 90% of sunlight. This added effort renders an incredibly soft, bright green leaf to later be hand-picked by skilled harvesters.
After harvest, the leaves are steamed to prevent oxidation before being put into columnar wind turbines outfitted with nets to dry and catch all the leaves. Next the leaves are sent to ovens with three layers of conveyor belts where they go through multiple rounds of drying at various temperatures. At this point, the leaves are called raw tencha. It’s not until the leaves are cut, separated from twigs and veins, and stone-milled into a powdered form that they finally become matcha.
Before the 20th Century, matcha was consumed as ‘thick tea’ (koicha) in which a large amount of matcha was mixed with only enough hot water to make it fluid. Koicha was considered the purest form of matcha because in order for it to be drinkable, only the sweetest, most tender leaves could be used. Thin tea (usucha) was reserved for more laid-back occasions. This is what we drink today.
Reclaim Ritual - Make Your Tea Time Exceptional
Many people might not realize that they are as attached to the process of making a morning pot of coffee as they are to the caffeine. Humans crave rhythm and routine- it’s in our DNA! Creating a ritual around our tea making and drinking process can be highly beneficial to your physical and mental health. Maybe squeezing in a few words of gratitude, prayers, or simple stretches while your water boils and savoring the first few sips slowly and silently will not only calm your adrenals but also get your mind in the cool, calm, and collected setting it craves in our hectic world.
We've turned modern matcha magical with our carefully formulated blend.
To elevate the modern matcha drinkers experience, we add adrenal nourishing herbs like Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) and Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) to our Matcha Magic. These adaptogens fortify and calm our stress response. Heart strengtheners like Rose (Rosa rugosa), rich in Vitamin C, and Ginger (Zingiber officinale), improve circulation and support cardiovascular function. A touch of Cardamom (Eletarria cardamomum) supports digestive function, cleanses the breath, and imparts a lovely, aromatic finish. We use organic matcha, finely ground and with a bittersweet taste the pairs perfectly with the other herbs and a spot of cream.
The Perfect Cup of Magic Matcha
CC Flickr pics: Dinesh Valke, Christine Lynch, Markus riedi, Betty Dish, Brian Wotherspoon,
Eileen Brantley & Amy Wright
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