How to: Have Matcha On The Go!

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Matcha is all the rage these days, and with good reason. It’s quite delicious and packs a great long-lasting energy punch. Many of Kat’s friends have started getting into matcha, and try to make it in the morning. The problem is it can be a little time consuming. You need the right equipment, and just the right whisking technique to create a frothy bowl of matcha. A few of her friends have started asking Kat if she had any tips for creating a quicker cup of matcha at home. Well, we actually do have a secret for quicker matcha preparation! It just involves a little bit of elbow grease.

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In order to prepare your matcha in a flash, you just need a jar with a tight fitting lid, hot water, and matcha powder. You can use a fancy mason jar but honestly Kat often just saves small jars in her cupboard and grabs one when she wants matcha in a hurry.

Simple place your matcha in the jar, and add the hot water (make sure it’s about 165°. Then, all you need to do is shake! Shake it up until the powder is completely dissolved. Just be careful, if your jar isn’t very thick, it will get hot quickly. you may want to grip your jar with a tea towel. With vigorous shaking you’ll also get a nice frothy matcha. You can sip from the jar, put it in a mug, or just keep the cap on and sip on the go!

Navigating The World Of Bottled Teas

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I’m a lucky teacup- Kat loves hot tea all year round, even in summer! But dearies, she does enjoy a nice refreshing iced tea now and again. As much as I hate to admit it, since I like to be the one to get all the attention! Kat often tries new bottled iced teas when she sees them in the store. There are so many to choose from and many aren’t to her liking. But she enjoys picking up a new bottled tea now and again. It’s convenient and thirst quenching. Sometimes she’ll even come across one that she loves.

 Dearies, the other day Kat came home with a bottled green tea, and I started having fond memories of our trip to Japan. In Japan you can find walls of bottled teas in convenience stores and even vending machines. Wouldn’t it be great to see bottled unsweetened teas instead of sodas in our vending machines? In Japan green bottled teas such as sencha, genmaicha, and houjicha and very popular. They also enjoy iced barley tea, mugicha. This nutty, toasty tea is caffeine free and delicious.

 Years ago there were only a few bottled tea choices in our stores, and they were all heavily sweetened and flavored. These days there are a number of flavored teas, but also unsweetened choices. There is a wider variety of teas including oolong, and white teas. In case you find yourself in the grocery store in need of a quick thirst quenching sip, here is what you’ll find in the refrigerated case:

 Sweetened teas: There are many bottled teas that have a varying levels of sweetness. Some like Honest Tea are lightly sweet, and some can be almost as sweet as sugar. When Kat is in the mood for a sweet tea, her favorite is ‘half and half’ which is half tea, half lemonade. The tea is lemony and a little sweet, but still has bold black tea flavor. She enjoys the Harney & Sons bottled version of this tea. It’s the perfect balance of tea, lemon, and light sweetness.

 Flavored teas: Most of the sweetened teas are also flavored. You can find everything from fruity flavors like peach and raspberry to more tea-like flavors such as honey and jasmine. There are also a few unsweetened flavored teas on the market. Kat likes flavored teas from Ito En’s brand Teas’ Tea, in flavors such as rose, jasmine and lemongrass green.

 Kombucha: Kat’s absolute favorite bottled tea is kombucha. She loves this fizzy, tangy drink. You can find it in a variety of flavors, and some even have chia seeds added. Kat loves the little seeds, they give the drink an interesting texture. If you’re curious to learn more about kombucha, check out my previous post.

 Unsweetened teas: When Kat picks up bottled teas, she always looks for the unsweetened teas first. Ito En is a brand that has a nice selection of unsweetened teas. She also enjoys Wegmans unsweetened bottled teas. Kat remembers looking everywhere for unsweetened bottled tea and was amazed to find it in Wegmans. Her favorite is the green tea. It is pure grassy green tea flavor, and nothing else added.

Dearies, what bottled teas do you enjoy? If you see a new and exciting bottled tea at the store, I’d love to hear about it!

The Basics of Matcha

Let’s just get it out there: The nation has a case of Matcha Madness!

So many of Kat’s friends have been talking about it – Matcha Lattes, Matcha cookies, Matcha smoothies – but most of them are not sure what it really is.

Here’s the scoop: All matcha is powdered tea, but not all powdered tea is truly matcha.

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Matcha, the word itself, is a Japanese word that embodies not only the cultivation but the processing of the tea leaves. For you wine aficionados, you may be familiar with the term, “terroir.” This refers to the impact of the soil and environment impact the flavor of the wine grapes. A Cabernet from a certain region of France, for example, will have slightly different flavor characteristics from a Cabernet from Napa even if they are processed in the exact same way. Terroir affects tea as well.

With that in mind, we start with the uniqueness of the terroir in different regions of Japan. Then we add the process, with starts with Tencha. In Japan, there are strict regulations of the cultivation of Tencha. For weeks prior to the harvest, the tea plants are shaded, which increases the production of chlorophyll within the leaves, intensifying the natural sweetness and delicate, smooth flavor. Then the leaves are plucked by hand, steamed to stop the oxidation and slowly dried. The stems and leaves’ veins are typically removed to reduce potential bitterness. The dried leaves are then slowly ground in hand crafted stone granite mills, which is believed to get the finest grade of ultra-fine powder.

In Japan, the matcha label is backed with these high standards, and any other form of powdered tea is listed as that: Powdered Tea. Outside of Japan, there are no universally accepted standards for matcha, so what you find labeled as matcha in the U.S. might not necessarily be Japanese-defined matcha.

Does it matter?

As wine lovers will tell you, there is no replicating the impact terroir has on their favorite wine. Lovers of Japanese Matcha will tell you there’s no replicating the oceanic, strongly vegetal quality it has. Char loved using powdered green teas for cooking, and Kat has inherited that love of infusing dishes with powdered green tea, but when it comes to a cup of matcha, there is no substitute for Japanese-defined matcha.

Then there’s preparation! But, if a picture is worth a thousand words, a video must be worth a million. We love this video demonstration of matcha preparation by tea blogger, Nicole Martin.