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I visited China a few years ago and it was life changing. My friend M. urged me to come along with her on a trip. "It'll be fun! We will see everything!" Luckily, M is also a native speaker of Chinese.
I decided to go. How awesome was it? I want to go again.
While in China, M insisted that we go to a tea garden. Boring! I shouted. She insisted. Luckily, I went. It was unlike anything I had ever been to. "Shrubs" for as far as you could see. These were the tea plants. Workers carefully pulled the newest leaves off, hand pinching them with gloved fingers so that they did not contaminate the leaves with oil from their fingers.
We went past the workers, walking up a steep hill with beautiful little buildings set out alone in the middle of the fields, each with small tables.
"What are those?" I asked.
"Tea Houses." M replied, walking along the hill with me. "Don't worry. You will see them again later." She said as we went into a large building.
I learned the history of tea. How it is grown. The different names for tea all over the world. How precious it is. The health values of teas. The ceremony of tea. As Westerners, we want instant gratification. Boil the water. Pour over tea bag. Let sit for a minute. Add milk or cream or something. Drink. Forget about it.
That is not how tea is done in the rest of the world. In fact, not all tea is meant to be consumed from boiling the water. Matcha tea is one of those. It is a delicate tea. Remember, it is made from the youngest leaves and leaf buds. Boiling water is said to "scald" and ruin the tea. In China, they brought out a tiny porcelain dish with an impressive lid. Lifting it, there was a finely ground powder. It was a pretty green that was the color of spring. "Matcha" our host said as he held the container up. "The stronger the smell, the better the matcha. What you are smelling is life. Matcha is so full of life. Every cell in your body will absorb the matcha."
He passed the container around, and we all could smell the matcha. It is a memorable smell. It smelled like the concentrate of the tea fields that we had passed.
A glass of hot water was poured and our host took his finger and dipped it into the bowl. A small amount of matcha stuck to it. He dipped his finger into the glass, and the water turned a pale green, the color of green tea.
"You cannot drink matcha like that. First, you prepare your mouth to receive the matcha. We serve a rice cake that is sweetened to prepare your mouth. The matcha has no sweetness. It is pure. Sugar would compromise the matcha. So you eat a sweet before."
As he spoke, a woman walked in with a beautiful cloisonne tray, laden down with cups and saucers and little bowls. In each bowl was a sweet rice cake, shaped to look like lotus flowers in bud form.
She set down a cup and saucer in front of each of us. Then the rice cake, in a green bowl so that it appeared like the lotus was in its' natural habitat.
As she did, the gentleman went to each of our cups and added less than a half teaspoon of matcha to our cups. When this was done, he poured the hot water from the tea pot and the water turned beautifully green.
"Use your spoon and mix the matcha with the water. Look at the setting and enjoy it. Eat your rice cake and then drink your matcha all the way gone. That is how to do it." He motioned the cup to the mouth, tipping it all the way back.
I ate the rice cake, it was very sweet, and very pretty. I hated to destroy the artists' work, but it had to be done. Then, I tipped the match cup to my mouth and drank it all gone. It was delightful. Others tried to take a bite, drink, take a bite, drink. Our host was having none of that. "No! You cannot prepare your mouth like that! All cake then all tea!" We laughed, and the rebels quickly did as they were told.
I was sold. The flavor was gentle, with a subtle sweetness from the rice cake. During the rest of the visit, I noticed that the jet lag I had been suffering from was now gone. Not instantly. It just faded away.
I was offered the chance to review Kiss Me Organics matcha in exchange for my honest opinion of their product. When it arrived, I was delighted at the flat pack foil packaging. Anything that takes less space in the pantry is something I love. The easy pull open package was also great, no need to grab scissors. The resealable top means that I can take it on a trip as well.
Opening this bag, it was like I was in China at the tea fields all over again. I was so happy to think about the time that M and I were in China. It smelled exactly like the matcha I had in China. It looked exactly like the matcha I had in China!
As soon as this arrived, I put the kettle on and got a cup ready. I did not have a rice cake, but I did have oatmeal cookies. I set a cookie on a plate and prepared my cup and saucer. Dipping into the bag, I spooned out less than half a teaspoon into my cup.
The kettle was steaming, but not yet boiling, which is what you want for matcha. I poured my water and stirred. There was the beautiful transformation that I remembered from China. I ate my oatmeal cookie. Drank the matcha all at once, like in China. It was wonderful. It was a time machine in a cup.
There are many other uses for matcha. You can cook with it. You can make smoothies with it. You can make iced beverages with it. Matcha can be stirred into things, such as yogurts and oatmeal. I have a friend that showed me how she mixes it into spaghetti sauce to cut the sweetness of the sauce.
Yesterday, I made pumpkin muffins. I added matcha to the white frosting to cut the sweetness and tint it a beautiful green. I don't need to share with my family that they were getting healthy, do I?
Matcha is also amazing as a face mask. You don't need a lot. Less than a teaspoon. Add the matcha to milk, yogurt or an egg. Leave on for about a minute or so if you are impatient like I am. Rinse off and wash face well. Follow up with your favorite moisturizer.
Did you know that you can take a matcha bath? Yes, you can. I added 1 tablespoon of matcha and one cup of Epsom salt to the water. My skin felt so nice afterwards.
If you have not tried matcha, please do. It is a great product filled with benefits for your body.
You can go to the Kiss Me Organics page and sign up for coupons, too!
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.