I got the opportunity to try a wonderful new tea today. It was called Kama Matcha and it is a ceremonial grade green tea powder that I bought online. I ordered it on a Monday and it arrived on Wednesday. Quick delivery; a good sign. When I opened the box, I found a nicely decorated little tin. It held 100 g of matcha powder. The color was a bright green, which is what you would expect given the quality.
I actually thought about sprinkling some on my lunch, but that would be a waste with a tea of this quality. Instead I got out my utensils—my bowl, my whisk, my spoon—and I got set to prepare my tea. I poured a little green tea powder in the bowl and poured some 80° water over it. I took my whisk and with quick motions, I beat the tea to a nice froth.
I couldn’t drink it right away because my mouth is very sensitive to heat, so I had to wait a few minutes. The suspense was killing me. When I was finally able to bring the frothy green liquid to my lips, the aroma hit me first. It entered my nostrils and went straight to my brain, signaling the deliciousness that was to come. The first sip of tea that touched my lips and flowed down my throat was amazing. It tasted bitter and grassy; it was everything a good matcha should be. I definitely recommend this tea to anyone.
For those who don’t know, matcha is a green tea powder made from the highest quality leaves. Produced only in Japan, it is one of the best teas money can buy. In fact, it is the tea used in the Japanese tea ceremony. It is one of the most difficult teas to brew, but when done correctly nothing can compare. You can get more information on matcha on this page: http://www.letsdrinktea.com/types-of-tea/green-tea/matcha-green-tea-powder/
This tea comes from several different regions in Japan, but the most famous is the Uji region near Kyoto. I had the good fortune to live in Japan for three years and to travel around Japan for many months. I spent three of those months in Kyoto and while I was there I tried a lot of teas. But the best I ever had was on a trip to Uji, where I had the good fortune to take part in a tea ceremony.
The cup of matcha they prepared for me on that day was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. Ever since then, I’ve been trying to replicate the taste on my own and I think I’ve done a good job but I’ve never come close their tea. If you’re ever in the area, don’t do what most people do and only see Kyoto and Osaka. Make sure you leave time to go to Uji or at least one of the other famous tea growing regions in Japan. Not only are the rural areas outside the city beautiful, but they are much more authentic, too. There is no better place to try a cup of real Japanese green tea.
Check out this Japan travel guide for more on the country.