At the Vancouver Tea Festival, there are workshops attendees can sit in on and I went to Whisk Matcha’s Matcha 101 class.
Kimmy from Whisk Matcha has been rapidly making a name for herself by being the matcha queen of Vancouver! I got the opportunity to sit in on her matcha 101 class and taste her matcha.
Mat = ground, Cha = Tea.
Matcha comes from the non-fermented plant, Camelia sinensis. There are 5 major regions that produce matcha, Kyoto, Aichi, Kuoaka, Kagoshima, Shizuijia. The sourthern climate in Japan is best to grow tea. Just like wine, the quality of matcha is influenced by the terroir and the growing, harvesting, processing techniques used.
Authentic matcha must be shade grown
For matcha to maximize its flavour and nutrients, it is shade grown. There are different shading techniques such as the “Jikagise“, directly covering the tea plant with a black cloth, or ‘Tana Canopy‘, creating a canopy using black cloth. The former method is used for economical matcha but it smothers the tea in heat and leaves no room for hand picking. The Tana Canopy allows the plants to breathe and for tezumi, handpicking tea leaves.
Why are tea leaves hand-picked?
The Tezumi Method, hand-picking tea leaves is labour intense and costly but it ensures the tea leaves do not come from brown, nutrient lacking branches from last year.
Tea leaves used for matcha must be picked from green shots during spring. This is because the nutrients from photosynthesis and the terroir are fed into the growth of new shots and not last year’s tea branches.
Matcha vs. Green Tea: which one is better?
Matcha is grounded version of green tea leaves and you are consuming all the insoluble vitamins like Vitamin A, fibre from the leaves itself! There is around 35 mg of caffeine in 1 gram of matcha and intaking caffine in the form of tea allows for a slower but longer release so there is no crash like coffee.
I don’t want to give away Kimmy’s entire presentation but I felt more educated on the process of matcha that a lot of people take for granted. There is nothing wrong with economical versions of matcha but for those who want greater health benefits and most importantly taste, Kimmy is your go to expert for choosing the one that is right for you!