Matcha Matcha

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My sister swears by matcha tea. I considered it one of those hipster trends until we visited the hub of matcha - Kyoto. The flavor is everywhere (including Kit Kat bars and ice cream). Matcha is a powdered version of green tea and tastes thicker and frothier. It is extremely healthy because, as opposed to green tea, it contains the whole tealeaf.

My sister and I went to a traditional tea ceremony in Kyoto to find out more. Or more like, my sister really wanted to go so I went with her. The woman at Camellia was extremely kind to us and performed an d explained the intricate and slow process of preparing the tea. Let me tell you, it was slow. The process included sitting a certain way, turning the bowl in a certain arrangement, folding the napkin, washing the bowl, whisking the matcha, etc. Every step was intentional and meant to relax the tea preparer and the tea drinker. However, at points I wanted the ceremony to speed up a bit; I didn’t see the point of doing every action if I could just prepare the tea in half the time. That could be simply a personality thing, but perhaps my impatience is an example of one of the many differences between Japanese and American values or simply an example of my generation’s need for efficiency. Regardless, after the ceremony, I realized there was something I could stand to learn from the process.

By the end of our trip to Kyoto, I bought a mini matcha tea set and my sister bought multiple matcha drinking bowls, so I guess we are now pretty excited about the whole matcha tea thing.

Lovely illustration by Lauren.

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