Matcha grinding


Discussion on virtually any teaware related item.

Re: Matcha grinding

Postby Chip » Dec 14th, '11, 23:25

Sounds more than a bit dangerous to refridge it prior to using. If you have any humidity, it will condense on the surfaces ... and in turn will add moisture to your matcha. Although this is much less of a danger in the dryer months and when heat is on.

Still, I would not do it.
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Re: Matcha grinding

Postby edkrueger » Dec 15th, '11, 15:23

zeto wrote:While I'll preface this to say that I feel this has devolved into some weird juvenile commentary...


Indeed, that started with your post. Maybe you will be stranded somewhere where there is no way of heating water and you happen to have tencha and a grinder. But, the matcha won't taste good anyway.
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Re: Matcha grinding

Postby zeto » Dec 16th, '11, 10:44

Chip wrote:Sounds more than a bit dangerous to refridge it prior to using. If you have any humidity, it will condense on the surfaces ... and in turn will add moisture to your matcha. Although this is much less of a danger in the dryer months and when heat is on.

Still, I would not do it.


perhaps you can explain your fear a bit more. The plan of action is:

1. fridge the grinder
2. take it out
3. put in 1 serving of tea
4. grind it

I do agree that moisture will collect on the cold surfaces, but I'm not sure it would matter considering the tea will be going directly into water... unless you are considering the material that is left behind.

The best part about having a grinder is that I can make something to-order and not be forced to store ground tea for any period of time.

It's possible that fridging it, even to this degree, will cause issues that overcome any benefit it does give (such as metal parts contracting, causing inaccurate grinds) or as you stated, condensation causing problems. I can always try it at least once and see if there is any difference at all.

Another possibility would be to just never take it out of the fridge once it goes in.... throw some tea in it, grind it right there, close the door.

(I'm probably just best off keeping it out and grinding it slowly heh)
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Re: Matcha grinding

Postby Stentor » Dec 16th, '11, 11:16

I think you'll have to experiment a bit at first anyway. I wouldn't worry too much about it. Your plan of action sounds reasonable to me. Maybe the grinding process won't even cause that much heat in the amount of time it takes to grind one serving of tea.

It would be really great if you could post a video of the thing in action once you have it operational :)
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Re: Matcha grinding

Postby debunix » Dec 16th, '11, 13:15

I find it hard to imagine that grinding one cups' worth of matcha would significantly heat up the leaf. I've got some experience with home mills grinding wheat into flour, and it generally takes while for the grinding surfaces to heat up beyond 120-140 degrees. If the grinding is not too drawn out, probably it won't generate much heat.

This is where a nice infrared thermometer is your friend--easy enough to check it directly.
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Re: Matcha grinding

Postby Dresden » Dec 16th, '11, 15:29

Stentor wrote:Maybe the grinding process won't even cause that much heat in the amount of time it takes to grind one serving of tea.

Seems reasonable... Also, the thickness of the ceramic disks will probably have some type of heatsink effect.
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Re: Matcha grinding

Postby zeto » Dec 16th, '11, 20:10

My fear is not the disks heating up or the device itself... it's the energy released due to shearing.

Just like a micro bubble collapsing in water generates temperatures of thousands (or millions) of degrees, shearing forces can generate tremendous heat in a very small space. This energy is not substantial enough to significantly heat the device as a whole, however it is high enough to initiate organic reactions and oxidation at very small scales. (people report oxidation of tea put through a blender consistently)

So that's really the reason... I'm not sure it's going to help at all, but I figured that colder is better. In professional matcha factories the temperature and humidity is tightly controlled at low levels.
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Re: Matcha grinding

Postby Dresden » Dec 16th, '11, 23:57

There is a similar theory regarding juicers (masticating vs centrifuge). Heat in processing could be a factor if you plan on storing the finished product.

That said, if you are using the tea immediately the heat from your digestive system would probably be more of a threat than the mill.
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Re: Matcha grinding

Postby zeto » Dec 17th, '11, 10:30

I'll probably try it both ways and see if I can taste or see the difference. Heck I could even take it to my lab and do a colorimetric analysis on it :P

This talk does remind me about how much I dislike juices that have been pasteurized and concentrated... the organic chemical changes in juice due to that process significantly changes the flavor of the drink from tasting like the fruit it came from to... something else.
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Re: Matcha grinding

Postby Stentor » Dec 17th, '11, 18:54

zeto wrote:This talk does remind me about how much I dislike juices that have been pasteurized and concentrated... the organic chemical changes in juice due to that process significantly changes the flavor of the drink from tasting like the fruit it came from to... something else.


+1 but I don't think it's the same thing as grinding a few tea leaves to powder :mrgreen:
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Re: Matcha grinding

Postby Tead Off » Dec 18th, '11, 06:34

zeto wrote:My fear is not the disks heating up or the device itself... it's the energy released due to shearing.

Just like a micro bubble collapsing in water generates temperatures of thousands (or millions) of degrees, shearing forces can generate tremendous heat in a very small space. This energy is not substantial enough to significantly heat the device as a whole, however it is high enough to initiate organic reactions and oxidation at very small scales. (people report oxidation of tea put through a blender consistently)

So that's really the reason... I'm not sure it's going to help at all, but I figured that colder is better. In professional matcha factories the temperature and humidity is tightly controlled at low levels.

Just my opinion, but I think you are over-thinking this whole thing. I don't think any Japanese tea master who grind their own put their grinders in a refridgerator (am I wrong?). For hundreds of years, stone grinding has been the way.

With coffee, the recommended grinders are burr grinders. It is because they don't shear the beans. They way the beans are ground has an effect on the taste. This is why coffee ground with a cheap spice grinder is not going to taste as good as a burr grinder.

If your grinder is a good one, you should be able to adjust the grinder to the fineness that is appropriate for Matcha. Let us know how it goes.
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Re: Matcha grinding

Postby zeto » Dec 18th, '11, 12:17

Well, to be fair, it wouldn't be a discussion if I just put it in and ground it up... so that's no fun.

Traditional matcha stones are far larger than this grinder though, and will grind about 1 ounce in an hour. I will be grinding for a far shorter time more than likely... possibly 10-20x faster than they do, which will significantly increase the probability of burning the result.

Additionally, pre-refrigeration and nitrogen packing matcha from 'tea masters' would have been far lower quality than is possible today. In fact, no doubt the most elite matcha drinkers today would probably scoff at such matcha as very low quality. From a strictly chemical standpoint, the only way to get ultra high quality matcha is by controlling the temperature, humidity, and atmosphere. So while people think of the 'japanese master' as something out of mythology, in reality they are just people grinding tea in a sub-optimal condition :P
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Re: Matcha grinding

Postby Chip » Dec 18th, '11, 14:17

It would be far safer to control ambient conditions of the room than chilling the grinder and introducing it to a warmer more humid environment. Since you are also adding matcha to the chilled grinder, the matcha is at risk of picking up condensation either from the grinder or even as the matcha chills from the grinder, it may also have moisture condense on it.

This would be much worse than the matcha heating up a bit. You can grind slower if temp is a concern to you.

Also, over time the matcha would surely gunk up the grinder.

IMHO
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Re: Matcha grinding

Postby AdamMY » Dec 18th, '11, 14:24

zeto wrote:Well, to be fair, it wouldn't be a discussion if I just put it in and ground it up... so that's no fun.

Traditional matcha stones are far larger than this grinder though, and will grind about 1 ounce in an hour. I will be grinding for a far shorter time more than likely... possibly 10-20x faster than they do, which will significantly increase the probability of burning the result.

Additionally, pre-refrigeration and nitrogen packing matcha from 'tea masters' would have been far lower quality than is possible today. In fact, no doubt the most elite matcha drinkers today would probably scoff at such matcha as very low quality. From a strictly chemical standpoint, the only way to get ultra high quality matcha is by controlling the temperature, humidity, and atmosphere. So while people think of the 'japanese master' as something out of mythology, in reality they are just people grinding tea in a sub-optimal condition :P



You make an awful lot of significant claims without backing them up. For one, while refrigeration makes sense to try and prevent over heating, matcha has a way of turning into goop-y dough any time it comes in contact with the slightest bit of water. I am worried that if any sort of condensation happens you will end up just making matcha play-dough or paste, which will likely taste far worse than matcha that got slightly too hot due to grinding. While you are grinding more and quicker than the machine stones, I doubt the stones will heat up significantly in that length of time (as others have said). In regards to your theory about shearing forces, I do not understand how keeping something 30-40 degrees cooler than room temperature would cause any sort of dent in the micro generation of temperatures on the scale you are talking about.

I get that you are doing this for health reasons, but most of us drink tea because we like tea, and not for the health reasons. We would rather drink something that tastes good than something that doesn't. While I am not saying this will taste awful there are reasons why you rarely see these matcha mills available, and why in all my years tea drinking I have only seen one store carry Tencha (which I believe discontinued it). I think if it were a good idea, tea drinkers are fanatical enough that this would have seriously caught on on some level. I would say people who appreciate quality Japanese green tea, are about on the same level as people who appreciate incredibly high quality coffee made at home, and yet there is a plethora of Espresso makers, and high quality coffee grinders available. And they are plagued with similar ideas of degradation of freshness as tea.

In terms of tea masters the intended goal was to get good tasting tea, they didn't much care about its "chemical make up" as long as it was tea. While we do not know if the new methods developed out of necessity to create the volume of matcha needed today, or if it actually tastes better. If the former were the case I imagine there would be a market for hand ground matcha. If the later is true, then isn't that sticking to the credo of the traditional teamasters?

I will end this lengthy post with a quote from our trusted moderator "Like what you drink, and drink what you like" and if I may also add "in what ever way you choose to make it."
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Re: Matcha grinding

Postby zeto » Dec 18th, '11, 15:29

I totally agree with what you said. I think it's important to state the premises being used on my side of the discussion, which I think will clear up some of the apples to oranges conversation elements.

My original purpose for purchasing this grinder is two-fold:

First, I do not have ready access to hot water at work... I must have powdered tea if I want to have it during the day. My alternative was getting a french press travel mug and making a cup at home (of which most review sites list as semi-leaky.)

Second is for a cost/health benefit. I feel that the ability to consume the entire leaf is more cost effective, as you can use less. In addition, you get more out of the leaf as demonstrated by multiple studies, as well as the boost in fiber intake (a couple grams here and there add up.)

The temperature/humidity/atmosphere claim is simple science and is why commercial producers do that nowadays... whether this produces a 'better taste' is immaterial because taste is a personal opinion... however it undeniably increases and maintains the health aspects of the tea.

I really enjoy the strong taste and texture of a good ground tea, and the basis for this discussion lies in the fact that it's easily possible to burn your tea by grinding it with various methods. The question becomes, at what point is the work involved prohibitive or if condensation will gunk up the grinder.

TL;DR I want powdered tea with the highest convenience and health benefit to cost ratio I can feasibly and reliably make. If refrigeration actually does cause excessive need for cleaning due to condensation gunking it up, that would certainly outweigh any benefits.
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