Looking for ways to improve your general body health and feel great about yourself? How about adding Uji matcha to your daily regimen? Matcha is a famous tea powder derived from a plant called camellia sinensis, this same plant produces black, oolong, and several other green teas. These leaves are specially shade-grown for several weeks and are packed with minerals as well as vitamins that help in filling deficiencies in vitamins in the body, they are also high in antioxidants which produce many nutritional benefits when taken regularly.
Uji matcha is a high-quality matcha variety grown in the Uji in Kyoto Japan, and is renowned for its rich history and tradition. Whether you drink it as a tea or use it in various recipes, Uji matcha offers a bold, silky-smooth taste and texture that's just amazing.
Uji Matcha is a matcha tea cultivated in Kyoto which is the home of tea in Japan. This grade of matcha is regarded as the highest grade in Japan, it is made using young tea leaves and harvested in early spring and summer. This early harvest indicates that the leaves are delicate, tender, sweeter, and perfect for consumption. A prominent feature of this high-quality matcha is its vibrant green color and smooth texture.
The color comes from shading the tea plants from sunlight for four weeks before harvesting, this shading process helps in increasing chlorophyll. The region where the tea plants are cultivated also plays a huge role in the quality of this matcha, it should be noted that Uji matcha is not exclusive to Japan alone, it can also be cultivated in other countries.
Uji matcha gives an enjoyable soft and slightly sweet aftertaste. This matcha is however not only drunk as a tea, it could be used in various recipes such as ice cream, smoothies and pastries.There is even matcha flavored snacks like matcha kit kat. We wrote a blog post on matcha dango, which we highly recommend.
Uji tea started being harvested around the 13th century during the Kamakura period. The founder A Japanese zen buddhist priest Myōan Eisai had returned from China’s Song Dynasty along with these tea seeds. He instructed fellow regional priests on the process of tea cultivation and the benefits of its consumption to our general health. Not long after, the cultivation of Uji spread out rapidly due to its unique cultivation process and favorable environmental factors such as hot sunny summers and cold winters.
The custom of tea drinking started to spread during the 1400s, and was considered a high-grade gift. In the 16th century, a new method of cultivation was created called “oishita saibai”. This method resulted in tea with vivid dark green leaves that especially had a strong flavor and helped to preserve the nutritional value of the tea leaves. It was also served during tea ceremonies in the royal palace because of its grade.
Matcha can be classified into three main grades, Ceremonial, Culinary and Ingredient. The main difference between the ceremonial and culinary is the seasons in which they are harvested and how they intend to be used by any individual.
This grade of matcha is harvested during Ichibancha (first-picked tea) which is the first harvest season from late April to May. Ichibancha has a high reputation and is regarded as a top-rated tea, hence it is sold at the highest of prices. The color is so bright that it is definitely worth the high price. These tea leaves are delicate and contain a high level of amino acids which causes sweetness. The main difference between this tea and others is its high concentration of nutrients due to its harvesting method, while others are picked after a month of sprouting.
This is the slightly lower grade matcha compared to the ceremonial grade, it is harvested during the second harvest (Nibancha) which occurs from June to the end of July and is also harvested during the third harvest season (sanbancha) Unlike the ceremonial, these leaves are older and are of lower quality. And as the name "culinary grade" goes, it is added to lattes, smoothies, and many recipes. It also has a bolder flavor designed to stand out from other ingredients.
This grade is the matcha leaves harvested later on. It is quite bitter so it is mostly used as an ingredient rather than tea when making other products. Of course, it is the lowest quality of matcha.
Although Matcha can be enjoyed in various ways, it is a known fact that Uji matcha is a well-searched and loved variety of matcha due to its high quality, rich history and tradition, and similarity with the ceremonial grade matcha. Here's why you should consider choosing high-quality matcha like Uji matcha.
First of all, I would like to say that if you aren’t already taking matcha, here are a few reasons why you should give it a try today!
Uji Matcha can be enjoyed either hot or iced. It can either be taken on its own or incorporated into different kinds of recipes. Traditionally, it is prepared using a bamboo whisk and a bowl, but the use of a blender or shaker bottle can work as well.
Here are some ways you can enjoy Uji Matcha:
Japanese teas are some of the most diverse in the world and you definitely won’t regret trying some. You can now get a taste of Japan delivered to your doorstep by buying our monthly snack boxes.
This article was originally written by our freelance writer Umm-Kulthum Abdulkareem and edited by us.