Few people know that the current practice of drinking powdered and whipped tea in the Japanese tea ceremony or Chanoyu
is actually an anachronism held over from the Song dynasty in China over 1,000 years ago. After brick tea faded from popularity in the Tang, the new way of preparing tea in the Song was to whip powdered tea to a froth with a bamboo whisk. While this practice died out in China with the Mongol invasion, it was carried on in Japan's Buddhist monasteries and is now considered a pillar of traditional Japanese culture. Today, quality Matcha is being made in China and Taiwan again. This tea has a slightly different character than its Japanese counterpart. Both teas have an opaque, deep green color and a thick, savory mouth feel. Both are high in caffeine. However, our Chinese Matcha is smoother, without bitterness and has a rich, fresh green vegetal taste. While this tea is excellent brewed in the traditional manner, at about half the price of the Japanese version it also has applications in smoothies or green tea ice cream. To prepare, pre-warm the tea bowl with hot water then discard. Place 2/3 teaspoon of Matcha in the bowl. Gently pour in water (about 180°F) and stir or whisk to make a frothy concoction.