Matcha, otherwise known as Camellia Sinensis, is native to South and East Asia and has endured a fascinating journey that first began in China before later becoming the epicenter of Japanese tea ceremonies.
Drinking matcha is an ancient tradition popularised in the 11th century by Zen Buddhist monks and later followed by the Samurai masters, sipping on the glorious green drink in preparation for battle.
The process also became a key part of Zen Buddhist monks’ daily ritual, believing the meditational benefits of matcha provided them with sustained energy and a level of mental capacity never experienced before.
If the Zen Buddhists are telling us this is the drink of the gods, we should be taking note and that is precisely what we did.
The popularity of matcha in western countries has exploded over the past decade, with a wider understanding and appreciation that matcha is a delicacy to be taken very seriously. Although there is no denying the abundance of medicinal properties, the taste profile of matcha hasn’t got everyone convinced.
Historically, the flavour profile was recognised as extremely bitter tasting. Naturally, matcha has many bitter characteristics (it’s a leaf after all), but like with most ingredients, there are levels of quality to take into consideration. A poorly cultivated matcha will taste super green, earthy, almost seaweed like (doesn’t sound appealing right?!).
However, Japanese tea growers have mastered the art of cultivation for centuries, getting the absolute most out of the tea. During the 15th and 16th centuries, they discovered shading the tea plants for 20-30 days before harvest provided a mellow, smooth and perfectly balanced result.
When creating our Matcha Blend, we experimented with many ingredients and eventually landed on the below three. A cinnamon from Vietnam, we opted for a sweet, aromatic and a fragrant cinnamon to bring balance to a naturally bitter tea. Coconut sugar from Indonesia, rich in flavour with a hint of caramel sweetness which elevates the natural qualities of the matcha and ceremonial grade matcha from Uji, Japan, a captivating fragrant and vibrant green colour and a mellow umami.
The carefully considered combination of ingredients provide all the aspects of an authentic matcha, with elements of natural sweetness to be enjoyed by a wider audience.
A distinguished, velvety, smooth texture, accompanied by delicate sweetness and a mild bitter undertone. We may just have tweaked things a touch, adding our Urban Blends twist and creating a little bit of ancient history of our own.
Our Matcha derives from the heart of the Japanese tea lands. The ancient tradition of growing Matcha is one of true craft. There are many factors contributing to the quality of the finished crop; a major element is the cultivation of Tencha (lush green tea leaves prior to being ground).
Our Matcha is hand picked from small hold farms in Uji, near Kyoto, Japan. The crops require huge tana curtains to keep out 60 - 70% of sunlight, usually erected 25 – 35 days prior to harvest. The perfect amount of shade allows the plant to concentrate nutrients into the leaf itself, whilst at the same time creating a balanced flavour profile between the plants natural bitter catechins and sweet L-theanine. Leaves picked just a couple of days too early or late, will compromise the teas overall quality.
The tea plants are trimmed and cultivated below 2 metres tall, ready to be hand picked. Of exceptionally high-quality, the Uji Japanese matcha is renowned for its wonderful health benefits and exponential amount of antioxidants. Antioxidants are chemical compounds that help to prevent aging, chronic disease and infection.
The vast majority of tea leaves are allowed to oxidize (ferment), accelerating the blackening of the leaves, changing the type of antioxidants found in the tea. In contrast, matcha leaves are immediately steamed, dried and stored.
Matcha is extremely low calorie and contains a calming amino acid. Matcha is also full of antioxidants and anti-ageing compounds that can help to prevent chronic disease and infection. It is known that matcha can help with reducing inflammation, a cause of heart disease, diabetes, cholesterol and has many claims for overall better health, from helping to lose weight, better brain function and improved focus.
Consuming matcha can help focus your energy, strengthen the immune system and minimises the invasion of the body from pesky viruses and bacteria. The ECG found in in matcha can naturally improve your metabolism, increasing the number of calories you burn. The beneficial antioxidant intake is from the rare group of molecules called catechins.