In the early days of matcha drinking in Japan, drinking tea often took the form of tea contests where the guests would try to guess if the tea was honcha 本茶 (real or original tea) from Toganoo just north of Kyoto where some of the tea seeds the Zen monk Eisai brought back from China where planted or hicha 非茶 (fake or not tea) from another areas. This obsession with provenance continued as Uji south of Kyoto slowly replaced Toganoo as Japan’s premier matcha producing area and Uji tea was sometimes now referred to as honcha.
£14.95 – £17.95
A stoneground matcha green tea, traditionally whisked and served in the Japanese Tea Ceremony. Made in Wazuka in Uji by the Azuma Family on a two acre mountain plot reserved for farming without pesticides or artificial fertilisers, this is one of the few single farm matchas we know of grown in this way.
Earthy and nutty, with a lovely smoothness and almost no bitterness, this makes a great contrast in style to our usual matcha from the Ishikawa Family. Excellent as usucha (thin tea), it is also possible to make a koicha (thick tea) like drink with it with the texture of melted chocolate and the taste of creamed spinach. To make, whisk a small scoopful of tea with water that has been cooled to 80-85°C. Matcha is also wonderful sprinkled on yoghurt or ice-cream, or used in baking.
Azuma Family, Wazuka, Uji, Japan
SIZE OF FARM
2 acres (out of 10 acres)
PLANTS AND PROCESSING
Camellia Sinensis Sinensis, Okumidori cultivar. Harvested May 2020. Shading before harvesting then stoneground from tencha.
To make usucha: 80-85°C, 1.5-2g per 75ml cup (approx one flat tea-spoon or two chashaku scoops). Sieve and carefully whisk in a tea bowl until it becomes a fine creamy foam.