Taking the Dirt Out of Matcha Green Tea
- Holly Helt
If there’s one thing the Japanese are, it’s traditional. Almost everything in Japan seems to have a specific way in which it’s done and it’s all steeped in history. One way to dress in Kimono, one way to take a bath, one way to cook rice, and one way to make matcha.
Westerners -- Americans in particular -- can’t wait to shake things up a little! We have taken this traditional Japanese ceremonial elixir and put some spin on it by adding an espresso shot, shaking it in a jar, whisking it with electricity, and steaming it together with milk. Don’t believe me? Just watch a Starbucks barista the next time you are visiting. A Starbucks Green Tea Latte isn’t exactly the kind of matcha served in Japan, but that’s another blog post altogether.
I thought I’d seen it all until my recent visit to a distant cousin living in the beautiful state of Tennessee. I’d never been to her house, but I’d seen enough photos of her morning matcha shots to know she was an avid enthusiast.
When I arrived, Christi was overly excited to serve me some of our Chiki Tea Silk matcha. Of course, I never turn down great ceremonial-grade matcha and said YES, at which point she glided over to her gigantic silver fridge and pulled out the largest pitcher I had ever laid eyes upon!
The Hawaiian-esque jug was filled to the brim with a vibrant green beverage, highlighting the pitcher’s flower motif. I thought she might be confusing our steeped iced tea blend for matcha so I questioned it. As she was pouring the tea over ice in tall American glasses, she confirmed that it was indeed our top ceremonial grade matcha.
Perplexed, I asked how-on-earth she made it; and with my traditional Japanese mindset, asked rather horrified if this was a regular method for her household. Here is where it gets interesting!
Christi is a die-hard matcha fan of the highest order, sipping it daily for the health benefits, mental clarity, detoxing ability, and taste. Her husband Ed, on the other hand, only associated matcha with the taste of dirt dug up by their husky in the backyard! And I don’t blame him because Ed’s only exposure to matcha was a can of it purchased from a teashop that was gobbled up by a Seattle-based coffee chain! [hint: rhymes with Tee-vah-nah ;-) ]
Christi assured her husband that he was about to drink the best matcha Japan produces, but he was still hesitant. To her credit, Christi decided to dilute the tea because there was no way he would agree to taste it the way she normally drinks it and at the strength she prefers.
Christi’s recipe is dirt simple! Take 3 to 4 big ole tablespoon-fulls of matcha and place in the biggest pitcher you can find. Add a gallon of water while whisking with a giant kitchen whisk until the color is a pretty, vibrant, light green. There you have it, and I’m not kidding! Keep the jug in the fridge and drink it throughout the day. [ hint: shake it a bit first please, matcha is a suspension, it doesn't dissolve ]
Now they both reach for Christi’s matcha iced tea almost every time the fridge door is open! I, too, was guzzling it the entire week-long visit. If you have finicky folks at home who need to step up to a healthier beverage, give this fantastic recipe a try. It looks just like lime Kool Aid so here’s your chance to fool the little ones!
Thank you Christi, and here’s to y'all’s health!
All of Chiki Tea's superb teas can now be purchased directly with US Dollars, and we deliver direct to the USA and most countries worldwide from our base in Japan.
About Holly Helt
Holly is American and grew up in Japan drinking Japanese tea from age-three. She has studied two methods of tea ceremony, Urasenke and the lesser-known Yabunouchi, which has a direct lineage to Sen-no Rikyu (known as the father of the tea ceremony) ; it's also the school of practice for samurai. In 2012 she founded Chiki Tea - an online retailer of Japanese green teas, all sourced directly from small farms in Japan. Splitting her time between Japan and her home in Texas, Holly strives to bring the best teas from Japan to as many people as she can find to share in her life's passion.