Today is Remembrance Day in Canada, and we take time to remember with thanks all the men and women who fought for the freedoms we take for granted today. We wear red poppies to commemorate the fallen, we lay wreaths in public ceremonies, and we stand in silence for a two minute vigil. It’s a sobering and moving ceremony, and one I try to observe every year, whether in person or at home.
So with Remembrance Day ceremonies fresh in my mind, I’m feeling pensive, feeling humbled, feeling like it’s a day to do things right. There’s a reason we devise ceremonies – I think they bring order to chaos. They lay out the steps that we can follow to find a small amount of calm at the centre of the noise and bustle of everyday life. I think the tea ceremony is like that too. Some people “study” the tea ceremony for years and years, learning the proper way to boil the water, to hold the whisk, to turn the wrist in pouring. I never studied to that extent, but while living in Japan, I partook in more “tea ceremonies” than I can count – enough to have a general idea of the steps; the ‘ceremony’ that leads to that unique combination of calm and awareness.
Let’s start with the tea. This Jeju Island Ceremonial Grade Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder from Teas Unique comes from a single estate on Korea’s Mt. Halla (Jeju Island) and it’s a wonderfully bright, crisp green – as Matcha should be. Harvested in May of this year, it has the delectable sweet shortbread aroma that I associate with the finest green teas, and I can’t help licking the fine powder from my fingers to taste the freshness – oh, it is so yummy! I scoop out 3 scoops of matcha with my chashaku (approx. 1 tsp) and place it in a chawan (tea bowl) that I made in my Japanese pottery studio.
I boil the water and pour it into my tetsubin-style teapot to cool a bit. When the water is cooled down, I pour a just a little into the chawan and use my chasen (tea-whisk) to make a thick green slurry.
When it’s all blended smooth, I pour in about 6-8 ounces of hot (but not boiling) water and whisk the heck out of it.
It quickly froths up with lots of little bubbles, and it smells so green and fresh and sweet, my mouth is watering!
I wipe the bowl, turn it three times (why three? – I dunno – that’s what they always told me to do), and sip the gorgeous green broth. It’s sweet and bitter and umami all at once. The tea feels thick and silky smooth in my mouth, and the flavour is full and beautiful – that unique matcha flavour that makes great ice-cream, mochi, and Pocky sticks! There is a tiny hint of bitterness, but it’s perfectly balanced with sweetness – neither is unpleasant or overwhelming. I take my time, savouring each sip, and letting my brain settle into that sense of calm that matcha alone seems to bring.
This is a great matcha. Bursting with fresh green tea flavour, it’s really well-balanced and sophisticated, and I’m glad to know it’s organic. It feels healthy. I didn’t know what to expect from a Korean matcha, as I’ve only had Japanese, but this can certainly hold its own against some of the others that were far more bitter. I’m pleasantly surprised, and I’m really looking forward to finishing up the rest of the pack.
Super big KAMSAHAMNIDA to Teas Unique who provided this tea to me free of charge. I’ve got some other goodies to share with you too, so stay tuned!
***UPDATE*** Big News!! Teas Unique is offering my readers a special 25% discount on this tea for the next month! From now until December 11, you can order any size of this fantastic Korean matcha and try it for yourself: the price will automatically be updated at checkout if you follow this link HERE!