Initially I was drawn to Matcha for it's astounding health benefits. Anti-aging, cancer-fighting, stress-reducing, weight-loss aid, superfood status. It blows away other green teas when comparing EGCG antioxidant levels (137 times the amount of EGCG as other infused green teas!)
Matcha is a premium form of green teas traditionally used in Japanese Tea Ceremonies. There's extra care in it's culitvation process as it's grown in the shade. This causes a greater production of chlorophyll, also adding to its brilliant green color.
Unique to other teas, Matcha leaves are steamed and ground immediately after picking. Instead of just consuming a portion of leaf infused phytonutrients, the ground form allows you to benefit from the nutrients of the whole leaf! And because of omitting the oxidation process, it prevents the bitter taste, leaving a smooth, vegetal flavor with a lightly sweet aftertaste.
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Since digging in to the use of it in tea ceremonies, I am now left with a much deeper curiosity for its rich tradition. Tea ceremonies are elaborate and poetic affairs that are meant to cultivate harmony, respect, purity and tranquility.
Every detail has symbolic meaning. From the purposely non-ornate tea houses and what's housed inside to calm the senses, to every ritualized gesture in cleaning the utensils. There is a complexity to the etiquette, showing great respect to the manner in which tea is poured and sipped. Now although I may not go as far as studying the art of Chudo (Tea Ceremony) I AM inspired to introduce another expression of being present into my day to day. Although I already enjoy tea rituals whether in the morning or after dinner, learning about this Japanese art form intensifies my own connection during this process. It is truly yet another example of when, what you put into something is directly related to what you get out of it.
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Before I share a modern adaptation for Matcha, let's take a moment to prepare our minds and channel the tranquility often found in Japanese rock gardens. I sat by this one, a view just steps from a tea house, which instantly brought a sense of calm. One can't help but notice the extreme care that must have gone into the raking. Drawing from that sensibility...now let's make some tea :)
Japanese Matcha Tea Ritual
Take your time. (Even if this only takes a few min.) Every action in making the tea can draw you deeper into the present moment.
1 - Pour a little less than a table spoon of Matcha powder into a bowl (1 tbsp per serving)
2 - Heat water til boiling (1 cup per serving). Set aside to cool for a few min. (optimum temperature for the water is ~175F/80C.
3 - Pour 1/3 cup of water into bowl with matcha and whisk quickly in a zig zag motion until a layer of foamy bubbles cover the top. Should only take 10 sec.
Pour whisked matcha into a cup and fill the rest with more hot water. Final direction is the most important :)...Take it in. Relish in the fact that you're doing something good for yourself or others!
• • • WHAT ABOUT YOU? • • •
What's your favorite daily ritual?
What's your current go-to healthy drink?
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