Come and enjoy a sweet, bowl of matcha, and/or check out some potential gift ideas this Sunday.
My Green Tea will be accompanying Japanese Confectionary Chef Tokara‘s special Toryanse (open house) to whisk matcha, enjoy this month’s delightful wagashi morsels, and showcase the Japanese community’s beloved ceramic artist, Mika Sullivan’s life works. Her pottery will be available for sale by her family, the pieces will be the last of her works.
We as a family have been using Mika-san’s pieces, as there is no one who can make a “Kata-kuchi chawan” (bowl with a spout), like she can. Actually many, if not all of My Green Tea’s instagram shots of tea use most of her beautiful cups and/or chawans.
Though she has left this earth earlier then we all wanted her to, she’s left us with priceless pieces that are perfectly user-friendly and timeless in design.
Her drip-preventing chawan really makes it easy to pour samples of our Matcha and I am so thankful to experience such well made pieces. To this day, we continue to use her user-friendly, distinctively Kyoto inspired ceramics as tools to help spread the practice of tea.
If you have a chance to stop by to check out her collection, or just to take a moment to enjoy Tokara-san’s quaint Japanese vibe, please do. ^__^
TOKARA (6208 Phinney Avenue North, Seattle WA 98103)
How can you tell junk Matcha from the REAL stuff🤔? Well open your eyes, inhale through your nose, whisk attentively, and taste the difference.
Though this beverage is ancient, newer technologies have allowed tea growers to perfect their blends. Tradition has shown us that the most delicious matcha comes from Kyoto in a Village called Uji.
The reason why traditionally people still revere Uji tea is attributed, not only for their rich soil and pure water, but the special topography and foggy micro climate. The Uji and Kizu rivers both flow through the valleys and every year it rains more than 60 inches. The steep valleys create great temperature differences between day and night, resulting in fog, preventing frost from forming. Thus simply knowing where your Matcha comes from is a big factor when delineating between good and junk matcha..
The grade of the tea depends on many factors, here are 4 basic ways you can differentiate the quality of matcha:
(1) “Open your eyes”
to color💚👀. In dry and wet forms, low grade matcha is more yellow in color whereas higher grade matchas’ are a lush vibrant green color. You certainly don’t need to be a scientist to see the difference between the two grades in any which form. But if need be, stretch your eyes out, close them for a bit, massage them ;). Perhaps using a white and/or light-toned tea utensils/cups to get a clearer view.
(2) “Inhale through your nose”
and smell👃🏼, higher grade matcha has a sweet grassy aroma whereas lower grades have a distinctive hay-like smell. Don’t sniff too close as this powder is incredibly fine. Definitely mind your breathing as you can easy make a mess simply breathing through your mouth 😀 (you don’t want to blow away your precious matcha powder).
(3) ” Whisk attentively,”
Mind your utensils and be present when using your precious tools to prepare your precious tea. These ease or difficulty in “whisk-ability” 🌪 may also show you the quality of your matcha. (Please note that this may also depend on your water temperature 🌡 and whisking technique. After whisking the two grades vigorously we noticed that it was harder to whisk the lower grade matcha and the bubbles were also yellow in color while the higher grade was easier to whisk and more consistent powder green color.
(4) “Taste👅 the difference”, really good matcha has a unique slightly bitter, sweet umami flavor while lower grades lack thereof.
Now that you are a matcha pro, I dare you to try our delicious Uji grown Matcha! ^_^
Back in October My Green Tea had the opportunity to participate in a special tea ceremony designed by our beloved and talented friend, Yuri Kinoshita. Hosted by Pottery Northwest, Yuri had worked closely with Wally Bivins and Yoshi Kawamura for this event.
Words cannot describe this serene atmosphere she created, inspired by Kimigamo Shrine’s iconic sand mounds in Kyoto. Hence the coned shape sculptures that hold her tea utensils.
Known for her accomplishments as a lighting designer from Kyoto, her work seems to continuously transcend all expectations. This Mugen event did not only serve as an exhibition, but a demonstration of traditional Japanese tea ceremony style known as Ryurei, of course with a Yuri Kinoshita twist.
Just as the traditional Ryurei tea ceremony style they used a table and chairs, instead of sitting on a Tatami mat. Unlike traditional Ryurei tea ceremony style Yuri custom designed and built the 30” ceramic mountain to hold her tools, hot water, sweets, and chawan (tea bowl). Her traditional, yet contemporary use of such material reminded us of one of our favorite tea heroes of all time, Sen no Rikyu. Thank you for allowing us to participate in your beautiful vision.
Japanese monks recognized the properties of the deep green elixir a thousand of years ago and used it as an aid in their meditation practice. In long hours of stillness they found that drinking Matcha helped keep their mind calmly alert.
For centuries Matcha has given us relaxation without causing drowsiness. Science has confirmed that such practice may be attributed in a rare amino acid Matcha contains, known as L-Theanine. L-Theanine promotes a state of relaxation by influencing the brain. Whilst stress induces beta waves an active, more agitated state, L-Theanine creates alpha waves, which lead to a state of relaxed attentiveness.
While this magical protein is common in all green teas, Matcha may contain up to five times more of this amino acid than common black and green teas! Unlike tea’s counterpart, coffee, Matcha promotes concentration and clarity of the body and mind without any of the nervous energy found in coffee. If you are on the pursuit of replacing your everyday coffee in the morning, try Matcha to give you that energy boost and clear focus.
With the increase research more readily available, the question is beginning to sound more like: “Why not drink Matcha green tea?”
As we age many experience an overload of iron, stress, and acid(s), all of which are contributors to multiple degenerative diseases, including liver fibrosis, heart attack, and cancer. Experiencing the nutrients of unfermented green tea can prevent and perhaps even reverse the effects of free radical, stress-induced tissue damage in the brain, liver, kidneys, etc.! Matcha takes this factoid to a new level. Not only are you able to experience the nutrients that ultimately regenerate cells in your body, you are experiencing it x 10 in every one cup of Matcha! Matcha tea is a super finely ground powder derived from dried young buds and leaves of the Camillia sinesis (aka: tea plant), so your not straining, rather you are ingesting the entire tea leaf.
In short here are some of the super power qualities Matcha has to offer:
Contains high amounts of antioxidants* including the powerful catechins EGCG*
Burns calories and boosts metabolism
Provides sustained and focused energy
Detoxifies effectively and naturally
Lowers cholesterol and blood sugar
Packed with vitamin C, magnesium, zinc, and chromium
I must say the winning flavor of the closing year comes from our casually ceremonial Jyoraku Matcha green tea. It is produced in Kotanabe, Kyoto, Japan by the Nishimura family that has been producing this very blend for 140 years (in their 200 year-old family-owned fields. As we say in My Green Tea, their tradition and spiritual connection to Tea is famous in the Kyoto prefecture.
I am no scientific expert, but I guarantee that this will not be the last blog posting on how beneficial this ceremonial grade green tea is.
A cup of Matcha a day will for sure keep that doctor away ^.<
Antiodixants: the chemical compounds that prevent aging and chronic diseases (aka: the body’s defense agents. The more you intake, the better you equip your body in fighting infections and disease.
Catechin EGCg: AKA: epigallocatechin gallate. A super class of antioxidant that help fight bacteria and infections.