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Matcha and Amaterasu - Chado November 2023

Matcha and Amaterasu - Chado November 2023

Amaterasu lands in Utah

It's quiet here in Vancouver today; it's raining, it’s overcast, and it's pretty much a normal day at Chado Tea House.

It's not so normal in Utah these days, however.

The Japanese Sun Goddess, Amaterasu, has made an appearance in Utah, and it is big news.

The professor in charge of the Utah Telescope Array came into work, and he was looking forward to his matcha latte. His assistant, who usually prepared his drink, decided to try something different and made the matcha without milk; he further decided to make Koicha.

The Japanese tea ceremony that uses matcha typically involves serving Usucha – Usucha is a thin matcha drink and is the one many of us are most familiar with. Koicha is a much thicker matcha drink; it is usually only served as part of a longer tea ceremony in Japan.

As a rule of thumb, to make Usucha, one uses 2g of matcha with 60ml of water. To make Koicha, you double the amount of matcha powder and half the amount of water, so 4g of matcha and 30ml of water. The result is a thick, almost syrup-like drink.

The assistant served this thick matcha to the professor, and it caused quite a jolt.

At precisely the same time the professor sipped his tea, a massively energized particle was detected at the facility. The particle or cosmic ray is named Amaterasu, after the sun goddess in Japanese mythology. This was the highest energy particle detected on Earth since 1991. The scientists at first thought their equipment had malfunctioned, but once that was determined not to be the case, they traced the particle's source and found that it came from a previously assumed-empty part of space. Something in the farthest outreach of the Milky Way, billions of miles away, where planets and stars are absent, had triggered this sub-atomic particle to make its way to Earth and set off alarms all over the facility.

As one of the scientists said, “It could be defects in the structure of spacetime, colliding cosmic strings.” – we discuss this type of thing on our tea breaks at Chado, and we agree; we figure it has something to do with what he said, or it could be the Koicha, it does have quite a kick to it.

If you are wondering what the largest particle is called, the one that was detected in 1991 – that would be the ‘Oh My God’ particle, and it came from the same area of space as the latest one. There is something out there!

Particle Detectors

The Utah facility has many hundreds of these detectors - they look a bit dilapidated, but they do the job.

Matcha Making

As we mentioned last month, we recently returned from a trip to Japan, where we visited various tea establishments, farms, research institutes, etc.

One of the treats we got to enjoy was a visit to a very large matcha processing plant.

This plant accepts tencha from the tea farmers/producers and grinds it into matcha. Tencha is tea that has gone through the steaming and drying processes most tea goes through, but the processing for tencha stops there. It subsequently goes through the matcha-specific process of grinding into powder.

The matcha facility is huge, entry is strictly controlled, and everyone is required to wear what looks like hazmat suits complete with hair nets, masks, boot coverings and coats.

Entry to where the tea is processed is via Star Trek-like airlocks – so to enter, you are led into a small room and the outside door locks; once inside the small room, there is a whoosh as the outside air is sucked out and clean air pumped in. Another door on the inside opens where entry to the inside of the plant is possible. The smell of the matcha, when the inside door opens, is profound; I think those of us who enjoy matcha have enjoyed opening a new pack and smelling the fresh taste of the tea – imagine that 1000 times over.

The rooms where the matcha is ground contain row upon row of stone grinding wheels.

It takes a grinding pair about an hour to grind 30g of matcha.

Matcha Grinding Process

The drawers underneath the grinding stones, once opened, contain large amounts of the green powder.

The stones are always kept in pairs. So, the top stone always works with the same lower stone; this way, they are ensured to ‘fit’ perfectly to maintain a fine, consistent grain. The average width of human hair is about 80 microns, and that of a matcha particle is about 5-10 microns (out of interest - the Amaterasu particle is about 100 billion times smaller than a grain of matcha, and it was detected by the somewhat rusty equipment above after traveling a few billion miles through space!)

After the matcha is removed from the drawers, it is sieved in a very fine motorized sieve to ensure there are no lumps, and then it is packaged and ready for matcha lovers everywhere.

We have a large selection of matcha teas; here are a few examples.


Matcha The Best 30g

This is our top ceremonial grade luxury Matcha

The tea used to produce this highest-grade Matcha green tea powder meets many rigorous quality tests, and only the finest of the crop makes its way into this Matcha.

We are sure this Japanese Matcha Tea will meet all your expectations. This luxury green tea powder has a silky-smooth texture, delicate aroma, depth of flavor and sweetness. This ceremonial grade tea can be used to serve both the Koicha thick tea and the thin matcha called Usucha,

Produced in Nishio, Aichi prefecture

Matcha The Best

Matcha Classic MIDORI in bulk 100g

We have been asked many times for High-Quality Matcha in Bulk, and we now have it available in aluminum zip-locked pouches. The pouches are available in a new bulk size for us of 3.2oz (100g).

This Matcha is ideal for making traditional Matcha drinks and is also great for Matcha Lattes or for culinary use. Whichever way you choose to use it, we are sure you will enjoy this authentic Matcha powder.

This Matcha MIDORI has a rich, smooth taste and is great for an everyday Matcha treat. and joins our green tea Japan selection.

Matcha Midori In Bulk


Tea Biscuits

After experiencing the lengthy hand-rolling process while in Japan, we feel a bit guilty about throwing out the tea leaves after brewing, referred to as chagara in Japan.

There are a lot of recipes in Japan that involve using the brewed leaves, and many are variations on the theme of using the leaves as a topping on rice.

Being that we are in Canada and it's coming up to the holiday period, we are offering up an idea for using the brewed leaves in a nice biscuit/cookie that you can enjoy or give as a present.

There is a very popular biscuit in the UK called Hobnobs. This recipe is a variation of homemade hobnobs with the added bonus of a nice Japanese tea flavor and look.

This recipe calls for a syrup called golden syrup. This is available in the US and Canada. One well-known brand is Tate & Lyle, and it has been a fixture in English baking for years; if you cannot find it, you could try it with honey or something like maple syrup.

The golden syrup has a very mild molasses flavor, though, which works very well with this recipe, so if you decide to give it a try, please try to get the syrup – it comes in a tin and lasts a long time in the pantry.

They are easy to make and usually work. If you like a crunchy biscuit, keep the liquid to a minimum (both milk and dry the leaves before using). If you like a softer one, you can add a touch more milk and use the drained leaves right out of the teapot.

130g-1 cup Plain flour
130g-1 cup of Oats, rolled, steel cut or old fashioned
140g-2/3 cup Butter at a cool temperature of about 70°C/160°F
140g-3/4 cup Sugar white sugar works best for crispy biscuits, brown for chewy

1 tbsp milk
1 tsp golden syrup or honey/maple syrup
1 tsp baking soda

brewed tea leaves - leaves left after brewing 1 or 2 pots of Japanese Green Tea

Pre-heat the oven to 150C/300F

Prepare a cookie sheet large enough to hold about 20 cookies. Cover the base of the sheet with parchment/grease-proof paper.
Use a stand mixer or be ready to do some vigorous hand mixing – both work
Cream the butter and sugar until combined and a pale yellow color.
Mix in the milk, baking powder and syrup.
Mix in the flour, oats and the tea leaves.

The mixture should hold together well and not feel too wet.

Take about two tablespoons of the mixture and form into a ball.
Place the balls on the cookie sheet and leave about 2 inches between each one.

Put the cookie sheet into the oven and cook for between 25-30 minutes.

The biscuits will flatten out; you can flip the biscuits about halfway through to get even color on both sides.

When the cookies are a nice golden-brown color, remove them from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool.

These are nice cookies with a taste of the tea used to make them and have a pleasant rustic look. We hope you enjoy them.

Hobnobbing with the Tea Crowd

Homemade biscuits always taste better - happy tea-drinking where you are.