Matcha is prepared using special stone mills under carefully controlled conditions
Long a popular and revered tea in Japan, Matcha has made its debut here in the United States a few years ago and has since conquered many tea lover’s taste buds. It has also made its way out of the tea cup and into many food and skincare products.
How is Matcha different from other green teas? This Japanese green tea differs in how it grown, manufactured and prepared from regular green teas.
- The tea plants used for Matcha are primarily grown in Shizuoka prefecture, Japan. (41%) and Nishio area.
- The raw material which becomes Matcha after processing is called Tencha. The tea plants are shaded for about one month before the harvest and only the new leaves are picked. The deprivation of sunlight makes the leaves thinner, tender and produces a fresher, deep green color. It also alters the biochemistry of the tea leaf by increasing the levels of chlorophyll.
- During the manufacture, the tea leaves are de-veined and finely ground between granite plates into a fine powder. Premium matcha, such as our Matcha Harmony undergoes rigorous testing to ensure the high standard of quality our customer have come to expect.
- Preparation is easy! Simply whisk the tea powder in hot water (175F) until it is well mixed and frothy. Alternatively, matcha can also be added to smoothies and juices.
Since the leaves are consumed whole, matcha provides tea drinkers 100% of the available polyphenols and antioxidants we so often read about in research articles. These antioxidants are measured on the ORAC scale (oxygen radical absorbance capacity with values like 24 for blueberries and 18 for kale.
On this scale, one gram of matcha scores 1384 ORAC units, making it truly a super food!
Try our blueberry matcha iced and you combine two superfoods into a deliciously healthy summer drink!
Cleansing is the first and a very important step in keeping your skin healthy and radiant. Rather than spending a fortune on expensive exfoliating products, you can make a very effective facial cleanser yourself using simple ingredients, some of which you may already have in your pantry.
Oatmeal is a mild and soothing skin cleanser that is well-suited for sensitive skin and honey has antiseptic and moisturizing properties.
For the cleanser, use 1/2 cup uncooked oatmeal, 1 cup warm water and 1tbsp. of honey. Blend all ingredients in a food processor at high speed until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Pour into a clean container and close.
You can also add lavender and rose for aging and dry skin that needs a little extra nourishment.
To use the cleanser, gently massage a dime-size amount into your skin. Scrub and rinse well with warm water!
Today, I would like to answer a question we frequently come across at the store
“What do I do to get rid of those gnarly tea stains in your cups?”
An easy and safe way to remove the brown tannin stains is to,
1. wash the cup, using some elbow grease and a brush to get rid of the surface stain that may be present.
2. Mix a paste of either baking soda and water or equal parts of white vinegar and salt
3. Wet the stained areas of the cup and apply the paste with a soft cloth
4. Scrub until the stain is gone
It works like a charm – every time!
I would like to add, however, that in many culture, the tannin patina is the evidence of a well used tea pot and much like seasoned cast iron an, enhances the flavor. So, maybe you don’t to think about it again before you scrub!
After a long hiatus, we finally got organic rose petals back in stock!!!
Aside from adding a nice floral note to any tea, roses are excellent for your skin. They refresh and cool – just what we need here in the hot and dry desert climate.
- Simply infuse rose petals in jojoba or sesame oil and use the resulting fragrant oil as an additive to your daily moisturizer.
- If you overheat in the summer, soak a washcloth in some cooled rose/water infusion and apply to your temples and wrists. It is extremely cooling and comforting – not to mention beautifully fragrant!
- If you tried my previous recipe for rose vinegar, then know that it is not just a tasty dressing over a summer salad, but it can also be applied to a sunburn to soothe and heal!
Who would have thought – one flower – so many ways to enjoy it!
Spring is all about renewal and expansion into new life. As it is in nature, so it is at our little tea shop. We launched our spring menu April 1st and on it you will find a selection of wonderful teas – such as this “Cloud and Mist” tea from China
Traditionally called “Yunwu Cha” (literally meaning cloud and mist), this is the rarest category of green tea that China produces. Even though it has been produced much longer than other green teas, the volume manufactured is rather small.
Cloud and Mist teas take their name from the cloud seas surrounding certain peaks at particular times of the year. Not only are the clouds a source of water but they limit the amount of sunlight the tea plant is exposed to. By doing so, the plant is forced to develop more slowly and to compensate chemically for the absence of sunshine. As a result, more caffeine is developed and the amount of chlorophyll in the leaf increases. This altered chemistry produces quite unusual tea flavors.
Tang poet, Bai Juyi, wrote about this tea: “No wine can touch the senses, like this tea made with spring water”.
It’s delicate sweet and refreshing notes will surly convince you too!
Green tea does not equal green tea just like no two red wines are alike. Aside from growing region, elevation, climate and harvest time, the processing after the leaves have been picked also determines the aroma and flavor in the cup.
Chinese green teas, for example, are pan-fired which sometimes add a certain smoky aroma while Japanese green teas are briefly steamed. It is the steaming of the leaves that gives them their bright green color and the green/yellow hue in the cup.
The flavor of Japanese green teas is often described as fresh grass, seaweed or spinach. Some are smooth, rich in flavor and others brisk, slightly astringent and refreshing.
Since the leaves are steamed, flavor and color is extracted more easily and therefore steeping times should be shorter. I usually start steeping my tea 1 1/2 minutes but would not recommend to go longer than three minutes. Longer steeping times makes these teas bitter. I also use slightly cooler water than the recommended 175 for Chinese green teas since it prevents the tea from becoming too astringent. 165F – 170F usually produces a delicious cup.
Paying attention to these small details is worth it if you are looking for a superb tea experience!
For Easter this year, I plan on dying eggs the way my grandmother used to do it. No artificial colors were used in the process and the eggs always turned out with beautiful and rich colors.
Artificial colors may offer a wider variety of colors, however they are not necessarily good for you. You may think, what does it matter – I am coloring the outside of the egg. Aahh – but eggshells are porous and many times you’ll find that the egg white of your boiled egg as marble pattern of pink, blue or whatever color you used. In Europe, certain colors have even been banned because their use in food has been linked to ADHD.
So why fret over whether your egg dyes might be harmful or not – just turn to Mother nature and color your eggs naturally!
Experiment with fruits and vegetables such as turmeric for yellow eggs, red beet for pink eggs, black tea for brown, elderberries for blue/purple and spinach for a nice bright green color.
2 cups fruit or vegetable of choice
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
Take the fruit, vegetable of choice cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain through a cheesecloth. Let the liquid cool, then add 1tsp. distilled white vinegar (necessary to make the color stick to the egg shell).
Of course you’ll need plenty of hard boiled, cooled eggs. Place them in the dye and leave for 5 minutes – or until the desired hue is achieved.
Voila – your Easter eggs are ready to eat – colorful and completely natural!