A simple & delicious way to enjoy ceremonial matcha

When making a drink with ceremonial grade matcha, think simple and complementary. With amazing freshness, creaminess, sweetness, umami and delicate flavours like baby vegetables, ceremonial matcha is usually sipped unadulterated. 

There is one pairing that we're especially fond of though - a slice of lemon! Check out the video below to see how we make it. The video will also show you how to make ceremonial matcha tea at home. You can gather or purchase the essentials and make yourself a matcha lemon tea.

One of our customers sums it up really nicely:

"I love trying out new matcha and this didn’t let me down! Virtually no graininess, tastes fresh, no seaweed taste, and it's from Uji. Some matcha teas can have a very thin feeling in your mouth, this one was full bodied and had no bitterness. I’m a big time matcha drinker and will be buying this again." 

- Tony L.

If you've got a matcha in the $30 range, think about experimenting with some small additions. You may not want to add anything if you've got yourself a $40+ matcha, but to each their own!

The brightness from a squeeze of citrus complements matcha's vegetal, grassy flavours. Try it out with a little lime or grapefruit with the lemon.

What's more, researchers at Purdue University found that adding lemon to matcha increased the amount of catechins (antioxidants) available for absorption as much as 60 percent. 

Don't want to add anything to your matcha? Try a traditional pairing of Japanese sweets with your matcha. Japanese sweets, or 'wagashi', use simple ingredients and have a mild sweetness. They are typically made in shapes of nature like leaves, flowers and fruit. An example would be mochi, which is most commonly a small ball of sticky rice with sweet azuki bean paste inside.

 

Does 'ceremonial' even mean anything anymore?

Let's back it up and dig a little deeper into this. So, what is ceremonial grade matcha? The simple answer is ceremonial grade matcha is a top grade matcha that is good enough to sip straight as a tea.

But what makes it 'good enough'? Evaluate your matcha on colour, aroma, flavour, texture/mouthfeel, and freshness.

The term 'ceremonial' has lost most of its meaning, as many marketing terms do, but it's a good place to start to narrow down your options. Just remember that there's no formal regulations around its use.

Ceremonial grade should refer to a top grade matcha that could be used in the Japanese tea ceremony as koicha, or thick tea (very little water). Nowadays, the best way to judge if a matcha is top grade is to get to know the brand!

A 'good enough' ceremonial grade matcha should:

  • be made with the youngest leaves - the uppermost leaves on the tea plant plucked during the first harvest in Spring. 
  • be shade grown for at least 4 weeks just before harvesting.
  • be stone ground. Stainless steel grinding methods can add heat and reduce the nutritional profile of the matcha.
  • be from Japan.

A ceremonial matcha will be rich in amino acids, which gives it a natural sweetness (little bitterness) and amazing creaminess.

Once you get into ceremonial matcha tea, you can find so many different flavours depending on what region of Japan your matcha comes from and how experimental the farmers are. We'll save that for another post :)

 

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