My love affair with matcha started well before visiting Japan.

Steeped in tradition, this unique member of the green tea family has a rich history and starring role in Japanese tea ceremonies.

By way of an introduction – matcha is a type of tea derived from green tea leaves, but is grown, processed and prepared differently to stock standard green tea. 

Once the tea buds begin to sprout, the crop is shaded before harvest. This increases the leaves chlorophyll (the green pigment in plants), producing bright green leaves with a unique and complex taste that’s kind of sweet, kind of umami in flavour.

Once harvested, the leaves are finely milled into a powder that can then be whisked with water to make a frothy and smooth cuppa. This is different from regular green tea, where leaves are infused with water than removed – with matcha, you drink the whole tea leaves too!

We sipped matcha throughout our trip, and visiting the Ippodo tearoom in Kyoto was the pinnacle. The centuries-old tea purveyors produce high-quality Japanese tea, including matcha. After being introduced to the company many moons ago, I’ve been shipping their tea to NZ for years. Enjoying a tea bowl, alongside seasonal wagashi, was a big tick on the foodie bucketlist.

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