HISTORY & CULTURE
As early as the 8th century, tea was brought over to Japan from China for the religious and elite royal classes to enjoy. Though, it wasn’t until the 12th century that tea drinking became popularized, thanks to Zen Buddhist Monk Myoan Eisai, who planted green tea plants from China around Japanese monasteries and published the first Japanese text exclusively dedicated to tea practice.
After Eisai, tea farms began popping up around Uji, a region near Kyoto filled with mountainous forests, after locals discovered it to have the perfect climate and conditions to cultivate the green tea plant, Camellia Sinensis.
Tea growers noticed that the tea grown in the forested areas had a higher-quality, stronger flavour, which they attributed to the surrounding trees shading the plants. As such, tea growers began to cover the rows of tea bushes with straw to block out the sunlight, inventing the shading method unique to matcha.
Matcha was consumed most regularly by Zen Buddhist monks to assist with long hours of study and meditation and the upper levels of the Japanese warrior class to aid with energy before battle. It wasn’t until the 15th century that Japan's first tea rooms were built and the modern tea practice was established by three main tea masters: Murata Shuko, Takeno Jōō, and Sen no Rikyū. The three tea masters crafted the definition of wabi-cha – the Japanese “Way of Tea” – the act of ritually preparing and serving tea for guests, requiring complete attention and care.
The traditional Japanese tea ceremony usually takes place in a tearoom on a straw tatami floor surrounded by a garden, and involves choreographed movements for the preparation, purification, and serving of matcha along with traditional Japanese sweets to guests. Today, the matcha tea ceremony remains a culturally significant practice in Japanese society.
Matcha's health benefits can be attributed to its high content of amino acids and polyphenols, particularly L-theanine and the catechin EGCG. Amino acids are the building blocks of the human body, creating proteins crucial for cellular regeneration, muscle mass growth, and much more! Polyphenols are micronutrients that we get from certain plant-based foods and one of the most abundant sources of antioxidants in the human diet. Antioxidants are compounds released through digestion, helpful in fighting fight free radicals (unstable atoms that can damage cells) to protect you from some illnesses and aging.
Catechins, like the EGCG catechin in matcha, are antioxidants exclusive to tea. In matcha, you’re getting nature’s greatest source of them in their whole food form. EGCG has been found to possess anti-inflammatory, metabolic, and powerful antioxidant benefits (100x more powerful than vitamin C – speaking of which, matcha has more than 2x the amount of vitamin C than other types of tea). It’s known to help prevent some cancer, while also lowering blood sugar levels, reducing inflammation and cholesterol, increasing energy and endurance, and improving bone health.
Matcha has one of the highest antioxidants concentrations out of any plant-based food! On the ORAC scale (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity – a measure of a food’s antioxidant capacity in units per gram), matcha’s ORAC value far exceeds all other antioxidant-rich foods like goji berry, dark chocolate, and acai berry.
Caffeine can be useful for enhancing attention, focus, and concentration, but too much of it can cause an elevated heart rate, blood pressure and create anxious/jittery feelings. That’s where matcha stands apart from the rest! PerfectTed matcha drinks and powder (1 tsp) contain just as much caffeine as shot of espresso but less than a cup of coffee.
The amino acid, L-theanine, helps distribute caffeine in the blood in regular doses to avoid the jitters and crashes of coffee and other energy drinks. That's why matcha's natural energy can last up to 6 hours (compared to coffee which lasts 1-2 hours). L-theanine (which coffee lacks) also stimulates the production of alpha waves in the brain, evoking a feeling of relaxation and tranquility, without causing drowsiness.
Packed with antioxidants and amino acids, matcha is a better-for-you alternative to coffee. No spikes, no jitters, no sudden crashes... just smooth caffeine. L-theanine helps improve focus, making matcha perfect for the creative, the hustler, the innovator, and the change-maker.
CULTIVATION & HARVEST
10 days before harvest, green tea bushes are covered with special curtains (called 'Kanreisha') to shade the tea from direct sunlight. Shading preserves high levels of L-theanine, giving the tea a less bitter and more sweet, distinctive umami flavor. It also stimulates chlorophyll production, giving the leaves a richer, greener colour.
The best matcha comes from the “first flush” — baby green tea leaves that grow during the spring. Only the newest buds are hand-picked to produce ceremonial grade matcha.
Within an hour of being plucked, the tender green tea leaves are treated with steam to halt the oxidation process and preserve the rich green color. The steaming process creates a uniquely sweet and vegetal flavor profile. The leaves are then de-veined and de-stemmed, leaving only the most nutrient-rich parts. Instead of being rolled, shaped, and dried like traditional green tea leaves, the leaves are then laid flat to dry on a conveyor belt that runs through a brick oven known as a hoiro.
The leaves are slowly ground in an ishi-usu (a stone mill) into a fine soluble powder. The slow process and soft stone prevent friction and heat, which can damage the delicate leaves. It takes about one hour to grind 30g of matcha!
PerfectTed harvests only the highest quality, organic, ceremonial grade matcha from sustainable farms.
The easiest way to determine quality is through matcha’s colour. Higher quality (ceremonial grade) matcha is vibrant green, while lower grades are duller and brownish.
- First flush (youngest & finest, first leaves picked)
- Naturally sweet, umami flavour
- Creamy texture
- Vibrant green colour
- Highest levels of antioxidants & L-theaninev
- Less vibrant colour
- Stronger vegetal taste & more bitter
- Grassy & bitter when consumed alone
- Duller, darker in colour
- Best for cooking and baking
HOW TO MATCHA
Add 1 tsp of PerfectTed matcha to a cup or bowl
Use a bamboo whisk (chasen), frother, or blender to mix until frothy (whisk in zig-zag motion if using chasen)
Pour 2 oz. (2 shot glasses) of water over the matcha
Add 6 oz. or more of m*lk (we oat) for a latte, or water for a tea
MATCHA & WHISK MAINTENANCE
Avoid boiling water: preparing your matcha with water hotter than 85°C/185°F can burn it and alter its taste.
To prevent oxidisation, keep your matcha sealed in an opaque, airtight container (we suggest leaving it in our tin) to minimise light and air exposure. We also recommend storing your matcha in the fridge.
WHISK. WASH. DRY. REPEAT.
Preparing your matcha with a traditional bamboo whisk (chasen) is a great way to fit a moment of mindfulness into your day. The tines (fine strands) on the chasen help to separate clumps and create a frothy finish. After the first few uses, the tines will “bloom” and separate out slightly, and after continued use, some of the tines may break off, which is all part of the natural ageing process.
1. Prep: soak the chasen tines in warm water for ~30 seconds before use to keep the tines supple.
2. Use: gently whisk in a light, fast “M” or “W” shaped motion. Avoid scraping the bottom of the bowl when whisking the matcha as this can cause the ends of the tines to break.
3. Clean: thoroughly rinse the tines with warm water immediately after every use and shake off any excess water (don’t use soap, sponges, or detergents, and never put your chasen in the dishwasher). Use your fingers to clean any matcha stuck between prongs.
4. Storage: stand the whisk upright after use to allow the tines to dry in open air or place the head of the whisk on a chasen holder if you have one to help retain the shape.