Delicious, vibrant, distinctive matcha tea. It’s so now.
Whether you’re supping it bare foot and cross-legged on a body-nourishing yoga retreat, or necking it with a raw egg and a side of last night’s cold pizza (we don’t recommend this) in search of that all-elusive hangover cure, it’s impossible to escape that wonderful matcha tea mystique – that green tea with a difference.
It would probably have been quite a stretch for Britain’s Anlgo-Saxons to have imagined so at the time, but while they were still being raped and pillaged by the Viking hoards towards the backend of the first millennium AD, over in China there was underway the careful and methodical cultivation of a unique method for extracting all the nutrient-rich goodness from a special bunch of bushes called ‘Camellia sinensis.’
In the centuries to come, the secrets of matcha’s perparation would be taken to Japan, where, under the supervision of Zen Buddhist monks, a ceremony would be developed. Soon enough, those same Buddhist monks would be benefitting from not only the enhanced state of calm and wellbeing induced from said ceremony, but also from all the nutritional wealth which that frothy cup of liquid green provides. A few centuries down the line and Hollywood celebrities would be found extoling the virtues of this hippest of trends, getting down and chanty with it, and finding out for themselves about the manifold wonders of this most fascinating of teas.
For those poor Anglo-Saxons of the Middle Ages, however, it probably didn’t get much better than some boiled nettle soup and a baked potato or two. Actually, potatoes hadn’t yet arrived from the still-to-be-discovered New World, so soup and pillaging for them.
For us contemporary Anglo-Saxons – as well as all the other peoples and races of our fair isles – though, pillaging is off and matcha tea is very much on the menu. Just like potatoes. Top-plant leaves (the healthiest, most springiest of the plant) are plucked and stone ground, forming a fine powder. Then the powder is sieved into a bowl of hot water, and whisked into a creamy froth: matcha tea. Soft and subtly sweet, matcha retains almost all of its constituent nutrients – unlike other teas, which are not dissolved whole, but instead the result of an infusion.
There you have it then: healthy, yummy and very, very green – perfect for any Hollywood celeb worth their salt. Just a shame the early Anglo-Saxons didn’t have a matcha latte or smoothie to offer around when those angry Vikings turned up.