The classic Matcha flavor that we know today was discovered in part by accident. It’s believed that farmers in the 15th and 16th centuries had covered their tea plants with woven mats to protect them from frost. What they realized was that the shaded plants produced a more mellow, less bitter taste than their plants exposed to the full sun. So, farmers began experimenting with different methods of sun exposure and invented the Tana method of shading the plants with a canopy to achieve the desired flavor.
2. Storage is key
Matcha powder is carefully processed and produced in a way that preserves the delicate powder for the consumer. Once you receive your Matcha, it’s important to store it correctly to derive the best flavor, texture, and color from your tea.
Your Sōrate Matcha will arrive in a resealable package or an airtight container. It’s important that once you open your Matcha, you expose it to as little light as possible and correctly re-seal the container. Temperature and humidity can also affect the quality of your beverage, so store your Matcha in a cool, dry place. If you want to put your Matcha powder in the fridge for storage, consider adding an additional layer of protection so that your Match doesn’t absorb any unwanted odors from other foods in your fridge.
3. Matcha is eco-friendly
Unlike other types of tea, Matcha uses the entire tea leaf, which makes it far more sustainable than other types of tea and even coffee. Individual tea plants can live for up to 50 years and be harvested over and over without damaging the environment or the integrity of the plant.
Whereas coffee takes huge amounts of water and energy to produce, Matcha can be produced much more sustainably and without as many pesticides or harmful chemicals. Because the entire leaf is used, there is a significant reduction of waste as compared with other popular beverages. With proper crop rotation and plant care, Matcha farms are able to create a product that is healthy for the body and the planet.
4. Matcha is the only suspension tea
Matcha powder isn’t meant to dissolve completely! The point of whisking or shaking the Matcha in hot water is to let it be evenly distributed and suspended throughout the tea. Over time, your Matcha will settle at the bottom of your bowl, glass, or mug. So, once you prepare your Matcha, don’t let it sit for too long and enjoy it as soon as you’ve prepared it. That way the tea and flavor will be equal in all parts of the beverage.
5. The Japanese Tea Ceremony was developed nearly 500 years ago
Sen-no-Rikyu, often considered the father of the tea ceremony in Japan, was born in 1522 and developed standard practices for the Japanese tea ceremony. From the utensils used to the surrounding landscape, Rikyu refined the “ Way of Tea” and created these principles for the tea ceremony: Harmony, Respect, Purity, and Tranquility.
If you attend a “Chado” or Japanese Tea Ceremony today, you will likely witness Matcha preparation based on Rikyu’s principles and guidelines. Matcha is an ancient, storied beverage and can be connected to a rich history of Japanese culture and practices.