Wednesday, May 13, 2015



Matcha, sometimes spelled “maccha,” is an amazing gift of nature which contains no calories, fat or carbohydrates.  The brilliant jade green powder from Japan has been traditionally used for over 1,000 years in the Japanese tea ceremony where it is whisked in hot water rather than steeped before serving.  A Japanese Zen monk introduced matcha during the Song dynasty at the end of the 12th century. 

Nishio in Aichi, located on the island of Honshu, and Uji in Kyoto are the regions of Japan most famous for producing the leaves used in this premium tea.  It is cultivated for 5-7 years before maturation and is shaded for about four weeks before plucking, resulting in longer, thinner and softer buds with increased chlorophyll content and sweet flavor.  The leaves are hand-plucked just once per year and its complicated production methods make it one of the most expensive teas in the world.  After harvesting, the leaves are laid out flat to dry and then once dry, some crumble.  These leaves are known as tencha and only these leaves are deveined and ground then sifted into the fine, powdery substance known as matcha.  Even with mechanical grinders, grinding is a lengthy and slow process that takes about an hour to produce about 1oz of finished tea.

There are two methods, koicha and usucha, that are used to prepare matcha depending on factors such as occasion and season.  Koicha refers to thick tea, almost like paste, that uses twice as much tea and only the finest macha.  Usucha is the traditional thin tea.  To make a traditional cup of matcha, first heat water to just below boiling (175ºF) and warm the tea bowl and whisk.  Measure 1/2tsp matcha into the bowl and add 2oz water, stir the tea with the whisk and then whisk briskly back and forth for about 15 times.  The foam should be spread evenly over the top.  It is best to drink it immediately in order to appreciate the aroma and flavor, and to prevent particles from settling at the bottom of the bowl as it cools.

Matcha has a naturally sweet flavor with a slightly vegetal aroma and makes an exquisite tea to drink, however, it is also used to add flavor to foods such as chocolate and smoothies.  The highest food grades are used in sweet foods such as ice cream, cookies and cakes while lower grades can be used in energy bars and supplements.  Matcha is a strong source of vitamins A and C and minerals such as calcium and iron and is the most healthful of any of the forms of green tea.  It is an incredible detoxifier, increases metabolism and has cancer-fighting qualities plus slows down the aging process with its antioxidants.

Matcha powder has a one year shelf life,
but is best used within a couple months after it is opened,
due to exposure to light and oxygen

1tsp matcha powder
1/4c sugar
1c raw almonds
dash of salt
            Combine sugar, salt & matcha in mini food processor and process until thoroughly mixed.  Place almonds & sugar mixture in a large heavy bottom pan and heat on medium, stirring frequently.  When sugar melts, lower heat and keep stirring until all sides of almonds are coated.  Turn out onto waxed paper, separate and cool.  Enjoy!

4 sticks butter                                              
2tsp vanilla
1c sugar                                             
4c flour
1/2tsp salt                                        
4tsp matcha powder
            Cream together butter and sugar then add vanilla.  Add dry ingredients and blend until dough pulls together.  Flatten dough into 2 disks and roll out between two sheets of wax paper to ¼” then refrigerate 20 mins.  Cut into leaf shapes and place on cookie sheet and bake at 275 degrees for 45 mins. or until dry in appearance.  Cool and store in airtight container.
Dip: Melt 11oz white chocolate and then add a combination of 1Tbs matcha powder and 1tsp vegetable oil until well blended.  Dip half of each leaf in chocolate.


Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the man who takes re
fuge in him.”
Psalm 34:8

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