Matcha is extremely popular right now, making waves in social media and the food industry, as well as brightening (or perhaps ‘greening’) many Instagram feeds and TikTok videos. In the UK, matcha is the second most talked-about tea beverage after bubble tea. However, finding good quality matcha can be challenging.
This challenge is what led to the success of How Matcha, our London café. People were eagerly searching for the vibrant green drinks they saw all over social media, but they were hard to come by, especially ones that were truly high quality in both taste and composition.
How Matcha caters to this demand by providing exceptional quality matcha tea beverages and snacks. We are now bringing these offerings into the world of event catering with our matcha event catering services. This service ensures that guests can enjoy top-notch matcha at various events, mirroring the quality and taste that made our café a hit.
What is Matcha?
You might have heard of matcha. Those appealing Instagram images have no doubt made you curious about it. The bright green colours – and even matching pastel ones – that can be seen on How Matcha’s IG (that’s @howmatchaofficial BTW) may have got you thinking that it would be a great addition to your next party/event/gathering (it will) But do you actually know what matcha is?
Matcha is a green tea powder that is created by processing premium green tea grown in a special way, and grown only in certain regions of Japan. That green tea powder is mixed with hot water to produce a frothy beverage rather than steeping it. Matcha preparation, serving, and consumption form the core of the Japanese tea ceremony.
Matcha, originally famous in the East for its ceremonial roots, has become a sensation in the West. It’s now used in a variety of foods and beverages, from matcha lattes and iced tea to ice cream and even salad dressing. This versatility of matcha extends far beyond traditional uses.
At How Matcha, we’ve perfected the art of takeout matcha. While matcha lattes are a huge hit with customers, we offer it in many other forms. We use matcha in cakes, pastries, and even savory dishes. All these diverse and delicious matcha-infused options are available through our matcha event catering services, ensuring that your event can feature this trendy, versatile, and delicious green tea in a variety of creative and delightful ways.
Why Is Matcha Such a Hit?
Why has matcha only recently started to gain popularity in the West in the last ten or so years, even though it has been around for over a thousand years in Japan?
You must start at the beginning to comprehend that. In the very beginning.
This powdered green tea is known as matcha because in Japanese, “cha” refers to tea and “ma” refers to powder. Long ago Chinese Buddhist monks who visited Japan transported the first green tea seeds there in order to increase their capacity to remain awake and attentive while also unwinding and concentrating.
More specifically, the Zen philosopher and monk Eisai, who brought Zen to Japan, planted a quantity of tea plants within a Kyoto temple in 1191. He was also the first to advocate crushing the green tea leaves before consuming them. This explains why matcha is still utilized in modern Zen practice. That plus the fact that all the reasons that ancient monks drank it—endurance, concentration, and relaxation—have now been shown to be legitimate health advantages!
What Makes for Good Matcha?
When it comes to matcha catering, and matcha in general, quality, and origin, is everything. There is a lot of low-quality matcha out there, but you will never find it served at How Matcha’s London cafe or featured as a part of our matcha event catering offerings.Real matcha, the best stuff, is grown only in a few regions of Japan. The primary matcha-growing region in Japan is a region called Uji, which is located on the southeast edge of Kyoto, the birthplace of nearly all traditional Japanese artistic and aesthetic endeavors. Many matcha enthusiasts believe Uji has the best soil for growing matcha, and many of the most prestigious (and expensive) matcha in Japan originate from Uji.
The second prestigious matcha appellation is found in the town of Nishio in the Aichi Prefecture. This area has a long history of tea cultivation dating back to the late Heian Period (12th century). The climate is mild, the region is remote, the soils are fertile, and Nishio is high (around 600 meters), all of which contribute to extraordinarily bright color, an abundance of umami, and maximum nutrients. Nishio also possesses what many believe to be ideal terroir for matcha.
It’s not just where matcha is grown, though, that makes it special, but how. Matcha green tea comes from the same tea plants as black tea, and standard green teas, but is grown, harvested and prepared for use in very different ways.
High Quality Matcha Green Tea Powder
Many teas are harvested more than once throughout the course of the year.
The best matcha is only ever harvested once a year, often in May, and it is always done by hand. The tea fields, which are enclosed by a sort of scaffolding, are covered from the top six weeks before harvest, which is sometime in late March or early April. Historically, straw was used for this, but currently, black vinyl sheets are more common. By gradually blocking more of the light that is permitted to shine on the plants, the goal is to gradually reduce the amount of sunlight and, consequently, photosynthesis. By the time harvest arrives, the highest quality matcha has been grown in almost complete darkness.
The tea leaves start to produce more chlorophyll and amino acids as a result of the reduced light; the most recent growth is extremely fragile, with buds that are getting softer and thinner all the time. The extreme umami flavor profile of the matcha is produced by the concentration of certain molecules, the majority of which are glutamates, due to the enhanced amino acid content. Due to its high amino acid content, great matcha has no bitter undertones and is sweet and mouthwatering.
Only the leaves at the end of each new shoot, which are the smallest, youngest, and greenest sections of the plant, are harvested. Then, they are steam-cooked to maintain their color and nutrition as well as to halt the enzymatic activity occurring within the leaves. Finally, they are fully dried in large cages fitted with hot blowers.
They are graded once they have dried (with the youngest, greenest, most tender leaves earning the highest marks). The difficult and time-consuming process of determining and deveining follows. Tencha is the name given to the leaves that survive this strenuous procedure.
Tencha is then kept chilled until it is prepared to be ground into a very fine powder known as matcha using big granite wheels that revolve extremely slowly and softly to avoid scorching. This is the matcha we use at How Matcha and in our matcha event catering.
What Matcha Event Catering Services Offer
Our distinctive matcha tea beverages are the centerpiece of the How Matcha experience at our Marylebone cafe. Our love of experimenting with matcha green tea powder excites our customers every day, from hot matcha tea sweetened in the way our customers choose to calming iced matcha tea and our distinctive matcha lattes to exciting new options like matcha bubble teas.
We also, like many people, make use of matcha powder in our baking, using it to help create both sweet and savory goodies and pastries that look as good as they taste.
When it comes to matcha event catering, serving matcha beverages and snacks is a great alternative to, or compliment to, traditional open bars, coffee machines and more. Matcha events catering for weddings, birthday parties and family gatherings are, our clients are finding something different, but delicious, that delights their guests and makes their occasion even more memorable.
However, matcha event catering for business is growing in popularity too. It is actually ideal for it, as it offers something very different that will help your business brand stand out at trade shows and corporate events, and our matcha event catering can include branded items – like tea cups, and even matcha preparation gift sets – that will ensure that your prospects and customers remember just who you are.
Matcha has, as we’ve mentioned, been used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies for centuries, and these formal, fascinating affairs are something our team has studied extensively, and can lead and perform as a part of our matcha event catering services too.
As such ceremonies are considered as beneficial to participants’ mental and physical health as they are delightful to the tastebuds a catered matcha tea ceremony can be an excellent way to reward employees for a job well done or even to impress clients and/or prospects.
Ready to learn more about the unique offerings and benefits of our matcha event catering services? Contact us today, we’ll be happy to tell you everything you need to know.