Matcha/Powdered Tea ?

Made from leaves that have not been oxidized.

Matcha/Powdered Tea ?

Postby TaiPing Hou Kui » Mar 20th, '08, 22:12

Conceivably, shouldnt you be able to make your own matcha or powdered sencha if you bought a stone mortar and pestle and ground it yourself? It would save a ton of money and perhaps provide an even fresher product.

-Nick (TaiPing)

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Postby Space Samurai » Mar 20th, '08, 22:38

Matcha isn't simply powdered sencha. Matcha starts with leaves that are shade grown between harvest (this is either similar to or exactly the same as gyokuro at this point--I'm not sure which). After this it becomes tencha, then it is deveined, destemmed, and ground into matcha using a stone mill.

Then of course there is the issue of quality. Good quality matcha uses very good quality tea leaves, sometimes from tea bushes that are decades old. With good quailty matcha, particular that which is used for koicha, you going to have a tea that has zero astringency and lots of natural sweetness and intense flavor.

Short answer, matcha is a far, far cry from powdered sencha.

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Postby TaiPing Hou Kui » Mar 20th, '08, 22:49

Space--I suppose I didnt phrase my question properly--I am well aware of the differences between the two. I was basically asking two separate questions: 1)Could you make your own matcha (conceivably from good quality gyokuro leaves) and 2)Could you make your own powdered sencha.

*As for the matcha part, I suppose you answered my question!

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Postby Space Samurai » Mar 20th, '08, 23:02

I suppose in theory you could make something similar. I'm not sure how the tastes would compare, but I have my doubts.

I think your costs would be about the same. If you wanted to make good matcha/powdered sencha yourself, you would have to buy good leaves.

FYI: Hibkik-an says it takes around an hour to ground 40 grams of matcha.

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Postby scruffmcgruff » Mar 20th, '08, 23:03

The deveining and destemming of tencha leaves for matcha would be a pain. If powdered sencha doesn't require these processes (I'm not sure if it does or not), it should be relatively straightforward.

You can actually buy tencha leaves from some vendors, which I *think* are deveined and destemmed, but my guess is that the cost of the tencha leaves would already be far higher than the equivalent amount of matcha.

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Postby Chip » Mar 20th, '08, 23:34

scruffmcgruff wrote:The deveining and destemming of tencha leaves for matcha would be a pain. If powdered sencha doesn't require these processes (I'm not sure if it does or not), it should be relatively straightforward.

You can actually buy tencha leaves from some vendors, which I *think* are deveined and destemmed, but my guess is that the cost of the tencha leaves would already be far higher than the equivalent amount of matcha.


I can guarantee you they are not the finest Tencha leaves that are sold the Japanese general public and certainly not to gringos.

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Postby TaiPing Hou Kui » Mar 21st, '08, 00:20

Well, I have a stone mortar and pestle and some sencha I am willing to part with for grins and giggles. Perhaps if I come up with something drinkable I will send you guys some (I.E Chip, Scruff, Space) if you are interested. Of course, if anything comes of it I will be sure to post pictures and a full report of the incident!

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Postby scruffmcgruff » Mar 21st, '08, 01:04

Chip wrote:I can guarantee you they are not the finest Tencha leaves that are sold the Japanese general public and certainly not to gringos.


You are very likely correct, thanks for adding that. :)

Also, Nick, I would be happy to see the results of your experiment! Be sure to post them.

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Postby Chip » Mar 21st, '08, 02:05

A simple mortar and pestle is not how to do it. This is a one example of a matcha maker. You pour tencha into a hole in the top and matcha slowly comes out along the the base.
Image

FYI, Harney sells Tencha, can't tell you if it is any good or not.

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Postby MoGa » Mar 21st, '08, 06:33

TaiPing Hou Kui

I'm also a bit confused with this. Unfortunately, it will be a while before I can actually speak to some people I know to find out more (although there's one person I'm hoping to see this weekend).

Everything seems straightforward enough in English, but in Japanese there are many more ambiguities. Perhaps there are in Chinese too as the same characters are used for powder and tea.

Here's a link I posted in another thread to Takashimaya's New York store website. Although I would not look to Takashimaya as world tea experts, I do believe that they, and their customers, know a thing or two about high grade Japanese tea:

http://www.takashimaya-ny.com/product_d ... 24&cat=254

They call the product Kona Sencha - powder sencha
And it retails for $40 for 0.88 of an ounce.

Mitsukoshi aren't the only store who sell kona sencha, but theirs is the only one who's product I've stumbled upon in English (My Japanese is pretty limited)

I'm not so sure it is such a far, far cry from some of the matcha that's freely available. I do agree that it is highly unlikely that the powder I could get from grinding any of the sencha I own would approximate the taste of matcha or be suitable as a substitute.


Chip

The implement you posted looks remarkably similar to this one for producing konacha
http://www.miyazaki-archive.jp/d-museum ... il/?id=209
It's called a chusu (or chuusu) and is from the Edo period.

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Postby Space Samurai » Mar 21st, '08, 16:56

konacha, in this case, sounds like a fancy way of saying "powdered sencha," more exotic. What you name a thing can have a big impact on how much of it you sell.

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Postby MoGa » Mar 21st, '08, 21:35

Space Samurai wrote:konacha, in this case, sounds like a fancy way of saying "powdered sencha," more exotic. What you name a thing can have a big impact on how much of it you sell.


???

Which case?

The Mitsukoshi link is for a product called 'kona sencha' which does mean 'powder(ed) sencha'.

The second link, which shows a utensil just like the one Chip posted, is from the Edo period and the text said it is for making 'konacha' (powder tea)

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Postby inspectoring » Mar 24th, '08, 02:57

just out of curiosity - if i drink matcha everday - should I be worried about it being not organic?

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Postby MoGa » Mar 24th, '08, 08:58

inspectoring wrote:just out of curiosity - if i drink matcha everday - should I be worried about it being not organic?


It would depend on how worried you are about non-organic foods in the first place.

Even ardent matcha lovers don't usually drink it more than once a day. I don't even want to imagine how many deadly toxins there would have to be in tea leaves to make a daily 3gram usacha serving a potential threat to health and wellbeing.

It even strains my imagination to think how the thicker, stronger koicha (6grams?) could pose a health risk, especially as the effects of caffeine you would get from drinking multiple cups at a time would be cause for concern enough, and the cost of the stuff would also motivate you to stop.

---
There are two links above showing stone utensils used for making powdered tea (chuusu), they are still being used today. It takes an hour of milling using one of these to produce 40grams (that's enough for 7 tea ceremonies). It was never supposed to be drunk in large quantities.

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Postby inspectoring » Mar 24th, '08, 17:37

well - currently I am on about 2 first infusions of gyokuro and one thick matcha......and with this much tea - i wish I did not have to worry about insecticides/heavy metals etc.....
I am not sure if I read it over here or on another forum but someone had said that some study found a very heavy dose of heavy metals in (either japanese or chinese) teas...and the reasoning was that some farmers are resorting to inferior growing techniques to meet the hight demand/high profits (gyokuro and other high end teas)...

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