Written by Haruhiko Nakayama
"Please allow me to serve you a cup of tea."
Prologue: What is Matcha tea?    

Mathca is a very thick form of green tea prepared by whisking whole green tea leaf powder with a little amount of hot water. Unlike conventional green tea, it is not brewed with hot or cold water at all. What makes Matcha unique is the special kind of tea is used for the preparation of Mathca tea. This special raw material for Matcha is called Tencha, whose tea leaves are shielded from the sun for at least two weeks before being harvested. By limiting the amount of light while approaching to the final growth, it makes theanine, a type of amino acids increased while catechins decrease in the leaves and this brings out the sweeter taste in tea.


Tencha’s processing after harvest is different from other types of tea; skipping the rolling process after the steaming and going directly to the drying process. After the drying process, stalks and leaf veins are removed from leaves and they are stored for maturing. Finally Tencha is stone-ground to be authentic Matcha for ceremonial use.

Tea ceremony and tea master: Rikyū

When speaking of Matcha, it is inevitable to talk about CHANOYU, the Way of Tea, also known as in English “Japanese Tea Ceremony.” And there was one tea master considered as the historical figure with the most profound influence on the world of CHANOYU. The master’s name is Rikyū.
During the age of provincial wars (from the 15th century to the 16th century), Rikyū was hired as the tea master by two prominent liege lords: Nobunaga Oda and his successor, Hideyoshi Toyotomi. It is said that not only Nobunaga and Hideyoshi but also other powerful territorial lords were enchanted and eased by the world of beauty emphasized on the philosophy of Wabi-Sabi, which finds beauty in the rustic simplicity; Rikyū is among those most responsible for popularizing it, developing it, and incorporating it into tea ceremony.
Although Rikyū had been one of Hideyoshi's closest confidants, because of crucial differences of opinion and other reasons which remain uncertain, Hideyoshi ordered him to commit ritual suicide, Seppuku. He carried out his Seppku on February 28th in 1591 (in the traditional Japanese lunar Calendar). Hideyoshi is said to have expressed great regret at his treatment of Rikyū later in his life.

Today’s Matcha

Today Matcha is not only limited to the tea ceremony. It is served more casually as a welcoming drink in some area such as Aichi prefecture (where our Tamari, Hatcho Miso, and Sake vendors are located). Some people even drink whisking sencha (prepared by whisking sencha powder) to enjoy the tea ceremony atmosphere. The modern usage of Matcha goes beyond the traditional drink; it is widely used not only in the confectionery but also in foods in general.

Because of all of these, there exists more reasonable grade Matcha that is machine-ground, and nowadays Matcha–like-green tea powder is used as a substitute for more industrial mass-production use. The easiest way to understand the distinction between authentic Matchca and modern Matcha is like the distinction between “champagne” and “sparkling wine.”

Muso has three different grades to offer: casual grade, café grade, and ceremony grade. Casual grade is Matcha–like-green tea powder, Café grade is machine-ground Matcha, and Ceremony grade is also machine-ground but tea is from the exclusive area in Kyoto. All grades are certified organic.

Health benefits

As mentioned above, when you drink matcha, you are consuming the whole leaf. As a result, it is said one cup (glass) of Matchca is the equivalent of 10 cups of green tea in terms of its nutritional value and antioxidant content. And speaking of nutrients, there are so many micronutrients found in this whole leaf. Among those, EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate) is perhaps the most talked-about nutrient these days. Catechin is a type of polyphenol and there are four different kinds present in the tea leave; one of them is EGCG. Some studies even suggest Matcha contains staggering amounts of EGCG, 137 times more than regular brewed green tea. EGCG is said to be one of the most powerful immune-boosting and anti-cancer substances and also to have the following effects:

1. To lower cholesterol level in blood
2. To lower body fat
3. To prevent cavity
4. Antibacterial effect
5. Antioxidant effect (to forestall aging)

Speaking of antioxidant effect, Matcha is said to have over 33 times the antioxidant levels of antioxidant powerhouse blueberries.

Other health benefits of Matcha includes naturally mood enhancing by theanine, a type of amino acid found in Matcha tea, zero on Glycemic index (will not raise insulin levels), sugar-free, high in fiber, and etc. It also has a high concentration of vitamin K; a cup of Matcha tea (two teaspoons (4g) of matcha brewed with water) contains about 116μg of vitamin k, the same amount found in about 70g of broccoli.

The list of other potential benefits seems astronomical. The bottom line is that Matcha is truly super-functional and does your body good!

How to prepare and further application

Here is how to prepare Matcha on your own.

1. Bring the water to a boil and pour 70ml of boiled water to a measuring cup (to bring the water temperature further down, move the hot water to another cup before pouring it to tea cup)

♦ Water temperature is a key to prepare good Matcha. The ideal water temperature is 65-85 Degree Celsius (150-180 degrees Fahrenheit); depending on the season, cooler in the summer and hotter in winter. To achieve the right temperature, you need one measuring cup and one tea cups.

2. Add a teaspoon of Matcha (2g) in tea cup and then pour the lower-temperature hot water (70ml) and simply blend it with a spoon thoroughly *Better result can be achieved with using a traditional bamboo whisk; whisk Matcha with light zig-zag motion until a layer of green foam appears on the surface.

And the following are easy-to-make recipes with using Matcha.

Easy-to-make recipes with using Matcha

Matcha Soy Latte with Amazake

1-2 teaspoons of organic matcha
360ml of soymilk (or other type of grain/nut milk)
Amazake to taste

1. Blend 1-2 teaspoons of organic matcha and a small amount of soymilk with a spoon to make a smooth paste.

2. Mix matcha paste with 360ml (about 12oz) of hot or cold soymilk (or other type of grain/nut milk) by stirring or using a blender (for the foamy result, use bamboo whisk).

3. Add amazake as a sweetener as desired.

Matcha Amazake Pudding

50g of amazake
200ml of soymilk (or other type of grain/nut milk)
1g (about 1tsp) of kanten
2g (about 2tsp) of matcha
Optional: Goji berry (for decoration)


1. Over low flame, heat up amazake, soymilk, and matcha, stirring constantly until matcha is blended thoroughly.

2. Dilute kanten with a little water separately and add it a little by a little to the above.

3. Let cool in the refrigerator for 2 hours and serve.


Matcha Brown Rice Crispy Treat

4 cups of crispy brown rice cereal
1 cup of rice syrup
2/3 cup of tahini (or try peanut butter, almond, cashew, etc.)
3g (1tbs) of matcha

1. Over medium flame, heat up rice syrup, tahini, and matcha, stirring constantly until the mixture is smooth, thinned out and bubbling a little. Keep stirring for a few minutes after bubbling starts.

2. Pour onto crispy rice cereal in a large bowl and blend well with a wooden spoon.

3. Pour into a pyrex dish (or other pan) and flatten with a wet spatula.
*Optional: Wrap 2 with plastic wrap to make round ball shape (see the picture above). It may be hot so please be careful not to burn yourself.

4. Let cool. Slice and serve.

Other information

The famous “The DR.OZ SHOW in the U.S. also use Matcha in “Morning Weight-Loss Sundae.”
Check out the recipe at http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/morning-weight-loss-sundae

We are even thinking about developing a new line of noodle line with using matcha and/or sencha powder such as Matcha Soba and Matcha Udon. The possibility of further usage of matcha in cooking depends on your imagination. One can even mix sea salt with matcha to make salt super-nutritious, for instance.


At the beginning of the Japanese tea ceremony, before a tea server first enters the tea room, he or she begs the guests with one’s feet tucked underneath one “please allow me to serve you a cup of tea.” At the very end of the ceremony, the tea server leaves the tea room with telling his or her guests "thank you for joining and keeping up with my poor skill at serving tea." For people with other cultural backgrounds, it may be hard to understand this peculiar culture of abasing oneself to show modesty to others but this notion of humility is so interwoven with even today’s Japanese culture.

Well, now please allow Muso to serve you a humble cup of tea!