japanese-tea-culture

Matcha

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てん茶 Tencha

Tea that has been dried without the kneading process. After the leaves are steamed, they are dried without any kneading and the stems and leaf veins are removed. The resulting product is referred to as Tencha. Similar to Gyokuro, traditional reed or straw material, or alternatively cheesecloth, is used to protect the leaves from sunlight. This gives the leaves a very unique seaweed-like aroma and this is what is most commonly used for tea ceremonies. Furthermore, these leaves have an optimum astringency and with the flavour and colour make a great ingredient to western-style desserts and ice cream.

抹茶 Matcha

Matcha is powdered green tea that has been stone ground. Other than it’s usage in tea ceremonies, it is a very common ingredient in drinks, sweets and ice cream.

In the past Matcha was typically made from leaves from 70 to 80 year old ancient trees or more younger trees (3 to 15 years) but in more recent years Matcha is being made using Tencha that results from a wide range of tea varieties and production methods. In order for it to be ideal for sweets and ice cream products, the tea leaves are grown uncovered and are dried without any kneading. It is used presently as a very popular food ingredient.

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