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June 20, 2010

What an amazing day we had at Matcha Box yesterday.  The day started early, really early.  Who did we meet while walking down the street early in the a.m?  Our new pal Adam Sherlip who showed up almost before we did in order to come in and get his matcha fix before heading off for an honest day’s work.  Actually, Adam came to have his matcha AND an iced matcha AND to spend some time soaking in the relaxing atmosphere at the box.  We love when people come to sit and enjoy.  Almost as soon as Adam left, our Tea Ceremony Master Marybeth Welch (of the Urasenke school) came by with a fresh batch of wagashi that she makes from scratch.  Marybeth is one of the very few people who continue to make completely handmade wagashi.  While she was there, we asked her for a demo of her skills.  She graciously offered to demonstrate the traditional preparation of koicha, or thick tea.  Now, we can all close our eyes and imagine what a thick matcha might be like, but we’d probably be wrong.  Koicha is very thick.  It almost has the texture of peanut-butter.  Marybeth likes to say that the texture is a cross between pudding and buttermilk.  She was not kidding.  If you were to hold the bowl upside down, it would take a few minutes for the tea-pudding to drip out.

Marybeth passes the bowl to Zach

Two lucky passersby came in at just the right time and were able to witness Marybeth in action.  Goderick and Ozlem (he of France and she of Turkey), were captivated by the presentation.  We all took turns sipping from the bowl.  The koicha was amazing.  It was thick and creamy and surprisingly sweet.  Zach had the lion’s share of the koicha and he was feeling GREAT! for the rest of the day.

Goderick and Ozlem drink it all in, Zach drinks it all up!

Later in the afternoon we were visited by Erik Sanko, a world famous musician and marionette master whom we remembered from the seminal band The Lounge Lizards.  He couldn’t have been more lovely and interesting.  He even brought in a WWII-era Swiss backpack covered entirely in pony hair!  While he and Zach nerded out over all things jazz, we were chatting it up with a mysterious supermodel whom we are calling Natashia X.

Erik Sanko and mystery woman Natasha X. enjoying matcha two ways.

We also had a visit from LA designer Jimmy Raskin, world famous photog Spencer Tunick, and a seemingly endless flow of well wishers and matchaholics.  We love this town.

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