Its newfound following and increasingly ubiquitous presence in the upmarket cafés of major cities across the globe is a testament to how modern-day consumers have embraced its health properties. Matcha’s also imparted a sense of ‘rediscovered’ novelty to this age-old Japanese ceremonial delicacy. Yet, despite its increasing adoption in a default ‘matcha latte’ format, the status and industry professional’s knowledge of artisanal matcha, remain fragmented and largely inadequate.
As proponents and purveyors of artisanal matcha, Matchæologist is honored to take this opportunity to recommend how consumers as well as café and restaurant operators can make the most of this unique tea.
Similar to the world of artisanal coffee, or that of fine wine, sourcing the finest artisanal matcha is paramount to creating an exquisite matcha-drinking experience. Producing fine, artisanal matcha requires a deep understanding of the terroir, the quality of the rootstock, and the techniques of growing, harvesting, and manufacturing the tea, all of which contribute to the variety and complexity of matcha’s tasting notes.
While there are a few prominent regions in Japan that produce matcha such as Nishio or Fukuoka, the region best known for its matcha is Uji, in Kyoto, where experienced matcha farmers have mastered the techniques of growing and harvesting the best matcha for over a span of half a millennium, passing down traditions through family lineages. Uji matcha has a compelling suite of flavor profiles because of the land, climate, varieties of leaves, and the artisanal techniques used to produce the tea. The finest Uji matcha, such as our Misaki™ or Matsu™, is often characterized by refreshing green ooika aromas, a perfect balance of ambrosial sweet-savory umami notes and multilayered flavors with a long and smooth finish.
In this day and age where matcha is becoming more and more assimilated into the western mainstream, the fear of losing authenticity is probably what causes tea connoisseurs and purists to advocate that people learn how to properly make matcha, not just drink it. It is for this reason that we encourage everyone to experiment with brewing matcha themselves, as doing so allows us all not only to gain the knowledge of how to prepare this magnificent green tea, but also to have a moment of quiet joy and gratitude towards the tea farmers and artisans in each sip.
Matchæologist® 抹茶オロジスト (website) is a Kyoto-based, artisanal matcha green tea specialist that develops unique matcha ranges at the highest end of the quality spectrum. Our approach is to introduce a modern perspective to the ancient tradition of the Japanese tea ceremony by preparing matcha in a minimalist way for an epicurean tasting experience not unlike that of fine wine, while providing education on the joys and benefits found in the daily drinking of this ceremonial delicacy — the #MatchaRitual.