November 22, 2011
November 21, 2011
Matcha, the finely milled, emerald green tea powder, has been used in the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony for centuries. In modern times, matcha has also been used to flavor and color foods such as soba noodles, green tea ice cream and a variety of Japanese sweets. In the west, matcha found its way into smoothies and lattes and is popular because of its rich taste and multitude of healthy nutrients.
How is it made?
While tea is produced in different countries throughout the world, matcha is unique to Japan. It is grown by local farmers using traditional methods from growing to milling.
Matcha is made from shade-grown tea leaves used to make gyokuro. The preparation of matchaÂ starts several weeks before the harvest, when the tea plants are covered with bamboo mats or tarp in order to reduce the exposure to sunlight and thereby increasing the chlorophyllÂ content in the plant. It is the high cholorphyll contentÂ that gives matcha its distinctly green color. After plucking , the leaves are laid out flat to dry. During the drying process the leaves will crumble somewhat and are known as tencha. Tencha is then de-veined, destemmed and stone milled into a fine, bright green matcha powder.Â Only ground tencha can be called matcha, powered green teas made from other varietals, like sencha, are known as konacha â€“literally meaning â€œpowder teaâ€.
The most famous matcha producing tea regions in Japan are Uji in Kyoto, Nishio in Aichi, Shizuoka and northern Kyushu.
What is so good about matcha?
Matcha is renowned for many health benefits. It is rich in nutrients, anti-oxidants, fiber, amino acids and chlorophyll.Â Drinking matcha exeeds the nutritional value of a regular cup of green teaÂ since the whole leaf is consumed, and not just the tea-infused water.Â In 2003, researchers from the University of Colorado found that the concentration of the antioxidant ECGC is up to 137 times greater than the amount of EGCG in other commercially available Â green teas.
On the other hand, it is not only the nutritional value that is increased, the caffeine content is also higher than in a regular cup of green tea, making matcha a stimulating beverage that will get you going in the morning.
Matcha, like all shade grown teas contains the amino acid â€œL-teanineâ€. Besides giving the tea a sweeter taste, L-theanine also has a relaxing effect on the nervous system which seems to complement the stimulating effects of the caffeine, offering a sustained alertness without the jitters over time
How do I make it?
Use 1 tsp of matcha for each 8oz of water. Traditionally, the matcha is placed in a bowl and hot water added. It is important to make sure that the water is not too hot; 175 F is just about the right temperature. Using a traditional bamboo whisk (chashaku), whisk the matcha until it all lumps are dissolved and a frothy foam starts to build on the surface. A metal whisk will do it in a pinch, but may not produce as mixture as fine and smooth as with the chashaku.Â Since matcha can have a slight bitterness, it is typically served with a Japanese sweet.
Instead of the traditional preparation, matcha can be added to any smoothie for a little kick, whisked into hot milk for a delicious latte or added to a milk shake and yogurt.
Try this great GREEN TEA LATTE recipe that will have you wanting more or visit us at Souvia for a matcha sample.
- 1 teaspoon of matcha powder
- 1-2 cups of hot milk (can be substituted with soy, rice , almond milk)
- Â½ tsp cinnamon, chocolate flakes
November 15, 2011
Bruce Richardson, proprietor of Elmwood Tea and the author of many tea books, visited the valley and explored the way we do tea here in the Southwest.
Souvia received a nice write up that I wanted to share with all of our tea loving customers:
“Dry-tea shops are popping up across America, and one of the best is in a strip mall on the outskirts of Phoenix. Souvia’s owner, Kerstin Wingert isÂ a true tea disciple! She and her husband, Bret, honed their tea-drinking skills while living as expatriates in Japan and turned their passion into a profession when they launched Souvia in 2004. The unique name loosely translates to “way of the soul”.
Their concept is much like that of a wine store in which customer interaction is essential. The Wingerts demystify exotic teas, teach how to brew each tea, and match teas to special occasions or lifestyles. Lifelong students of tea, they became certified tea specialists through the Specialty Tea Institute. They are eager to share that knowledge, and both are often featured in magazines and on local television programs touting tea’s attributes.
Souvia’s selection of more than 150 loose teas comes from all over the world. The store also features a tea-sampling are, gift ware, and a few tables and chairs for customers to try tea before they buy. A steady stream of devoted patrons flows through the door throughout the day, an indication that the Wingert’s passion is catching on in Phoenix.
Tea Time magazine is a great resource for all of you who are interested in afternoon tea. It offers ideas for decorative table settings and yummy recipes! Get your edition at www.teatime.com or at Souvia!
November 11, 2011
In its 7th, year, Local First Arizona is celebrating locally owned businesses with free food, live music and lots of merchants showing their goods and services. Of course, you will find your Souvia Tea there as well. Come visit our booth and sample some of the new holiday flavors: Sugar Plum Fairy, Harvest Moon and Sonoran Winter!
It will be an all day family friendly fun for all ages.
SATRUDAY, NOVEMBER 12TH
AT DUCK AND DECANTER
1661 E CAMELBACK RD
SEE YOU THERE!
November 4, 2011
Of course our loyal customers have knownÂ this for a long time, but Phoenix magazine made it official in its November issue, in which it features Souvia as the best place in town to get tea and to learn about tea.
Thank you to all of ourÂ fans who voted for us!
In order to live up to our reputation, we just added 10 new holiday teas to our menu. So come in and sample a nice cup of Hazelnut or write your Christmas list over a pot of Pumpkin Pie!