After a long wait, my sister and I finally got around to enjoying our tea tasting date!
I had arranged with Birmingham Grand Central to visit Whittard of Chelsea, for a tea tasting afternoon. I hadn't had much information from them so I wasn't quite sure what I was going for... Just to try some tea and then leave or what?
I love tea and Matcha tea too so was quite looking forward to it and so was my sister..luckily it turned out to be a great afternoon! :-)
The event started with the history of Matcha, I now know it came about in the 8th century. It originated in China but has since become more popular in Japan. The old Chinese Monks used to drink it a lot during meditation, believing it would help with purifying and healing purposes. Although not traditionally drunk as a tea but added with spices and enjoyed more as a soup or broth. See I was listening!! ;-)
Learning about the health benefits too.. it is not even close to comparing with green tea or coffee. The added vitamins and fibre are on another level! That little teaspoon a day is all you need to set you up for a for-filling energetic day!
When looking out for Matcha make sure it is a bright, vibrant green colour! This means it is at its best, a yellowish colour denotes burnt leaves.. not what you want!!
The process of creating Matcha Tea is long winded but worth it. Unlike green tea which just extracts the tea from the leaf, Matcha uses the whole leaf (giving you the extra goodness, getting the fibre and vitamins from the stem too).
The leaves are left to flourish in the sun, before covering them in a blackout mesh to not burn the leaves, but allowing them to continue growing and absorbing nutrients from the soil. They are then placed on a slow speed into a grinder to create the powder. (Too quick will burn the leaves and give you the yellow colour you don't want).
** I think I could be giving Matcha masterclasses now**
So anyway, on to the tasting! We tried Matcha three ways using all the traditional tools (This is where I fall down, the names I cannot remember hehe).
>The traditional way: mixing the powder with boiling water and drinking in its most natural form.
> Matcha powder mixed with steamed soya milk.
> Matcha powder added to Whittard's Luxury White Hot Chocolate.
Honestly I cannot explain how good these were!! As a tea lover I was in heaven, my sister too! Number one good for a detox or cleanse, your all around go to choice for a cup of tea.
But number two was something else! How I normally drink it to be honest, but made by them it seemed to taste so much better. It was rich, creamy and indulgent. The soya milk giving it a nuttiness and creamy texture - I honestly cannot describe how good it was!!
Could number three beat it?? I love hot chocolate, so it was possible! When the Matcha was mixed with the hot chocolate it was luxury on a whole new level. Forget the health benefits, the naughtiness of the drink was divine. You honestly would become a Matcha convert after this, you cannot taste the Matcha- the only hint would be the vibrant green colour!
We definitely were not left disappointed, it was such a fun afternoon. With a special thanks to Josh who presented the Masterclass to us. He seemed to enjoy it as much as us, having us appreciate his work I am sure helped. We will be back for more tea tasting soon!!
If you are thinking of giving Matcha a go there are so many ways to enjoy it. I personally love it in a Latte as mentioned, but equally in juices. The possibilities are endless, you can add it to bakes and cakes, or if you just want the health benefit without the flavour mask it in your next chilli!