Digital Media Concepts/Matcha
Matcha is powdered green tea leaves that is finely grounded and used in many forms of food. It is very unique in the way it's processed, the history of it, and beneficial when it's consumed. Matcha is grown only in Japan and is harvested in a span of three weeks. Unlike typical green tea leaves or tea bags, the powdered form Matcha is suspended in any liquid but popularly in water or milk.
In traditions, such as the Japanese Tea Ceremony, centers around the preparation, serving, drinking of Matcha as hot tea. In modern days, Matcha has been infused in milk teas, pastries, and a variety of deserts. Matcha has two different grades used between ceremonial use and commercial use, but there is no industry standard or requirements.
Matcha(also known in Chinese/Japanese: 抹茶) comes from the same plant that is grown for green teas, black teas, and oolong teas called camellia sinensis. Although all these tea comes from this one plant, they're fermented differently: green tea is unfermented; its simply steamed and dried, oolong tea is partially fermented, and black tea is fully fermented. On the other hand, matcha is defined as "true green tea," but the growth, harvest, and production differ from green teas, and other teas greatly.
There are five key characteristics that make truly superior matcha:
- Brilliant color intensity
- Superior umami
- Excellent terroir
- Dreamy forthability, and
- A long, smooth finish that contains crema to the very last drop
Mainly, matcha is cultivated in Uji, Japan which is located on the southeast border of Kyoto. The very best matcha is harvested by hand once a year in the month of May. The ideal place for growing matcha are mild climate, remote, and the soil must be fertile, elevated roughly 600 meters, in order to produce the best quality matcha. In late March or April, before its harvest, a black vinyl sheet must be placed over it, to decrease sunlight(photosynthesis) which increases both chlorophyll and amino acids. The increased amounts of amino acids and chlorophyll give the matcha its intense umami flavor. For the end of the process, they are dried up and sorted for different grades.
How it's usedEdit
Traditionally, a teaspoon of matcha powder is mixed with a cup of hot water to make tea. New trends have given ways to rise on new ways of incorporating it. Besides using matcha to make hot tea, it can be use the other way around in iced teas. Following suggestions on using matcha are Matcha Latte with milk, smoothie, oatmeals, granola bars, and salads. Some dietarians have recommended using Matcha for popsicles, with orange iced teas, and granola bars. Matcha is gradually becoming available in food stores, tea stores, and online.
Matcha is separated into a total of four different grades: kitchen grade, cafe grade, classic grade, ceremony grade. Both kitchen grade and cafe grade are the greatest for using matcha in blends, while classic grade and ceremony grade are best for simply sipping. The separation of grades in matcha differs in flavor profile but not in nutrients. 
|Ceremony Grade||Vegetal & Creamy, delicate & sweet||Tea whisked in a bowl|
|Classic Grade||Creamy with a distinct bitter note||Tea whisked in a bowl|
|Cafe Grade||Full bodied, grassy, slightly astringent||Lattes, blended drinks, desserts & recipes|
|Kitchen Grade||Most astringent||Lattes, blended drinks, desserts & recipes|
The three main core benefits of consuming matcha powder are boosting energy, burn calories, and detoxing digestive waste. Amongst many other "superfoods," matcha has been deemed to have the most antioxidant ability. Consuming one single serving of matcha equals drinking ten cups of brewed green tea in order to get the same amount of nutrients offered in one serving of matcha. The unique properties of matcha support weight loss, as its calorie free and boosts metabolism and burn fat at the same time. 
Matcha has dated back to when dynasties have ruled China and Shoguns' have ruled Japan. The origins of matcha is traced all the way back to the Tang Dynasty in China, where they've made these "tea bricks" by roasting and grounding tea leaves. Mixing the grounded tea leaves with water and salt they've formed the tea bricks which makes transporting and trading easier. In the year 1191, Eisai a Japanese Buddhist Monk who studied in China in pursuit of Buddhism has brought back tea seeds and methods of preparing powdered green tea to Kyoto. Matcha was grown in limited amounts and was regarded as a luxurious status symbol. Soon after, near the 1500's a Zen student named Murato Juko, included the cultivation, consumption, and ceremony with matcha. Ever since then, the four basic principles of the Japanese Tea Ceremony are:
The Japanese Tea Ceremony is also translated as "The Way of Tea."