文 By: 許玉蓮 Hooi Yoke Lien
一．準備溫水—水溫約60°C~70 C °，水量約60CC。
Spring is a season specially dedicated to green tea. In addition to Long Jing and Biluochun, we also enjoy appreciating a bowl of matcha.
Originated from Japan, matcha is a high quality green tea among Japanese tea. It is only second to Gyokuro. Popular green tea varieties in Japan include sencha, bancha, konacha (the tea buds and small leaves that are left behind after processing sencha), hojicha, and kukicha.
On this article we will discuss about what sort of tea the matcha is all about. The production of matcha involves three key processes, namely shade-grown, steam for harvest, and stone grinding.
Shade-grown: The material of matcha is green tea, and spring is the only season suitable for production of green tea leaves. As new buds are growing on the tea bushes – around 20 days before the harvest – the bushes shall be covered to prevent direct sunlight. The young buds can be covered by reed and rice straw. If possible, block direct sunlight entirely so that soft and new buds grow on tea bushes. This is to reduce the mouth-puckering taste of fresh leaves and enhance mellowness.
Only green tea produced from fresh leaves of such stringent process qualifies as the material for matcha.
Steam for harvest: The material of matcha – green tea leaves – has to be steamed for harvest. Steaming method is different from other stir frying methods of green tea leaves.
The process of steaming produces the unique fragrance and mouthfeel of matcha.
Stone grinding: Having steamed the harvesting leaves, keep the dried leaves in refrigerator at below-freezing temperature. Under room temperature, proceed with the process of cutting stem. It then becomes tencha.
Tencha can then be ground into very fine powder known as matcha.
Matcha produced by stone grinding is fine. Its temperature also brings out the fragrance of matcha – in the flavours of laver and reed.
Does this mean matcha is equivalent to green tea powder? Not really. Without the aforementioned processes – if the tea powder is produced from non-shade-grown tea leaves, and the stir-fried leaves are ground by machine – it is not matcha; it is green tea powder instead.
When evaluating matcha, several matters worth our attention. Firstly, matcha is covered by steam tea and thus appears to be deep or dark green. The green tea powder appears in the light greenness of grass. Secondly, matcha is without mouth-puckering taste and less bitter. While matcha provides pure and fine taste, green tea powder is slightly coarse. Thirdly, matcha is of the fragrance of laver and reed; green tea powder is of vanilla's fragrance. Fourthly, fineness – two micrometres have over 6,000 grains of matcha, while green tea powder numbers at 100 to 300 grains.
The methods to appreciate matcha are as follows –
I. Prepare 60 CC of hot water of 60 to 70 °C.
II. Prepare utensils – whisk (chasen), spoon (chashaku), and one bowl (chawan) for each person.
III. Prepare matcha – open the cover and take two grammes of matcha and put into the bowl.
IV. Pour small portion of hot water into the bowl.
V. With the whisk touching the bottom of the bowl, stir the tea in 'W' direction.
VI. Pour small portion of hot water into the bowl and continue stirring so that matcha and water perfectly blend with each other. As more air is stirred in, it thus produces thick foam.
VII. Drink from the bowl directly
Prepare matcha – open the cover and take two grammes of matcha and put into the bowl.
Pour small portion of hot water into the bowl.
With the whisk touching the bottom of the bowl, stir the tea in 'W' direction.
Pour small portion of hot water into the bowl and continue stirring so that matcha and water perfectly blend with each other. As more air is stirred in, it thus produces thick foam.