Matcha Green Tea has been around since the Tang Dynasty in China. The tea leaves were steamed and formed into tea bricks for storage and trade. Originally the tea was prepared by roasting and then pulverizing, followed up by decocting the tea powder in hot water and adding salt. The process evolved during the Song Dynasty and the method of making Matcha Green Tea changed.
‘Preparation and consumption of powdered tea was formed into a ritual by Zen Buddhists, who cultivated the green tea plant, called “sencha”, by growing it under shade conditions thus maximizing the therapeutic benefits of the green tea, or what became known as “Matcha” ‘(1)
In Japan, Matcha was only produced in tiny quantities and only the Shogun warriors and nobility were able to drink Matcha. In 1738, Sohen Nagatani invented a tea processing method that enabled a more efficient process that made it possible for the public to also enjoy the ceremonial tea. The process known as “uji” is still in practice and is used today.
Back in the day, Zen Buddhists were award of the meditational benefits of Matcha Green tea. This brought them a greater sense of well-being and clarity.
The Shogun warriors also enjoyed the benefits of the ceremonial tea, it gave them extra sustained energy and mental alertness. When possible, Shogun warriors would drink this special ceremonial tea before going to battle.
‘Matcha can be found in several food products that range from cereal to energy bars. Researchers at the University of Colorado found that the concentration of the antioxidant EGCG available from drinking matcha is at least three times greater than the amount of EGCG available from other commercially available green teas.’ (2)
(1) Got Matcha? Premium Organic Matcha – http://www.gotmatcha.com/a_brief_history_of_matcha.html
(2) Wikipedia, Matcha – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matcha