Dear Mom, allow me to introduce you to matcha!
As Mothers’ Day 2013 rapidly approaches, my mind has been spinning with exciting ideas to treat my mom to something special. While she’s an avowed lifelong coffee drinker and a bit of a hard sell when it comes to tea, the unique charm and delicious taste of matcha make me confident that I can convert her. Please enjoy my attempts below! -Christina Gubala, Matcha Source
Me, lost in a bowl of matcha
First, and most importantly, happy Mothers’ Day! I love you! I certainly hope that we get to spend some time together soon. I have recently joined the team at Matcha Source here in Los Angeles, and while I knew very little about the tea before meeting Alissa and embarking on a few tasting adventures, I find that I have fallen in love with it. For some reason, this refreshing yet calming beverage has gotten under my skin and I find myself daydreaming of ways I can integrate it into every aspect of my day.
Now, I’m sure you may find this strange coming from me, as I, like you, have a sworn affinity to Central American coffee. I’m still starting my days with our beloved Guatemalan beans, but my afternoons are suddenly becoming the domain of the tea ceremony. It all started last week, when I had once again over-committed myself and underestimated the amount of traffic in Los Angeles on a Friday evening. I’d spent Friday afternoon learning, practicing, and toying with the art of the tea ceremony, a simple process for brewing the optimal cup of matcha. Alissa and I tossed some frozen blueberries and a dash of pineapple juice into the blender with a few small scoops of Gotcha Matcha, and the results were surprisingly delightful! Each improvised recipe that day was more delicious than the last, and when all was said and done, I had consumed quite a bit of matcha over the course of my work day.
As work came to a close, I hit the road and embarked on my traffic-riddled commute home, and after about 20 minutes, I noticed a subtle calm overtake me. While an afternoon coffee would have caused me an anxious belly and a panicked mind, the matcha was making me feel… prepared. My brain felt clear and free from worry as I watched the lights change along Beverly Boulevard. My body felt awake and ready for action, yet free from the “butterflies” coffee can sometimes cause. I was energized while peaceful, and Alissa later explained to me that the amino acid L-theanine contained in matcha has a calming effect that, coupled with the tea’s caffeine, induces the sensation I had experienced. To me, it was magical!
Speaking of magical, the ancient tradition of the matcha tea ceremony is perhaps as calming as the beverage itself, and I can’t help but think of you as I familiarize myself with the genius bamboo utensils used by Matcha Source. The process is simple: you measure out an almond-sized scoop of matcha with your bamboo chashaku (scoop). You then sift the powered matcha into a ceramic tea bowl called a chawan. Be sure to sift it before adding liquid, for clumpy matcha doesn’t dissolve as well. Once it’s all sifted into the bowl, add hot water (not boiling! 195 degrees Fahrenheit is optimal). This brings us to my favorite part of the ceremony, when we get to use the chasen, a 100-prong bamboo whisk that brings the tea to a nice, even froth. Whisk the tea in the chawan until ‘sea foam’ covers the surface, and voila! You have created yourself a perfect drink!
My favorite tool is the chasen, or bamboo whisk
I have been toying with creative ways to integrate matcha into my diet; just today I added a scoop of the ceremony grade Kama Matcha into a bottle of coconut water and have been sipping on it all afternoon. It’s indisputably refreshing, and has certainly taken my mind off the 95 degree weather outside!
Another wonderful aspect of the tea is its high anti-oxidant content and cancer-preventing properties. It reminds me of all the wonderful meals you made for us while we were growing up: brain food, anti-cancer food, food for the soul. Right now, I am one of the few people I know who have experienced this wonderful tea, and for Mothers’ Day 2013, I’d like to bring it into your life as well! My heart is aglow with the thought of us being able to enjoy this peaceful, loving ceremony together and perhaps start swapping beverage recipes! Plus, I already know you are going to fall in love with the delicate chasen and its Robin’s Egg blue holder.
Climax of the Tea Ceremony!
I love you, Momma, and I am so glad to be able to share this with you. Happy Mothers’ Day from the bottom of my heart!