This observation is a lovely discovery, and it’s a genuine addition to the venerable history of matcha.
Matcha isn’t swirled in the traditional method — it’s whipped up in the bowl and consumed. No swirling.
But swirling releases all kinds of wonderfulness.
Just as swirling a glass of wine makes it taste better — every sommelier knows this — it’s the same with matcha. Swirling — or what physicists call “orbital shaking” — actually churns liquid as it travels along the glass or ceramic, drawing in oxygen from the air and intensifying artisanal matcha’s delightful aromas. It tastes completely different — vastly better — when it’s swirled versus not swirled.
So swirl your matcha, people! You can’t swirl too much — the more your swirl it, the better it tastes. But you need the right vessel, it’s hard to swirl matcha in a bowl. Our creamers were designed for this very purpose. Whip it up with the frother in the creamer, swirl like a madperson, THEN pour that swirled matcha into your heated bowl or cup.
I grew up with Red Rose tea bags, a blend of black and orange pekoe teas My mother liked to make a cup in the evenings, after dinner, and I felt sophisticated whenever I joined her for a cup. She bought the 100-bag box at our local grocery store, and couldn’t have (wouldn’t have) paid more than five dollars for it (and this was 1970s dollars). Pennies per bag was my frame.
By now, most people with even a marginal interest in food and food trends have heard of matcha.This is a good thing, and its overall popularity continues to climb.
The confusing issue is that many people consider matcha to be in essence a kind of exotic spice, to be used as an ingredient for cooking and desserts (think green tea ice cream, matcha tiramisu, matcha macaroons, matcha truffles, and all manner of smoothies and blended drinks). I love how creative many chefs are becoming with it, and its color and health benefits seem to make everyone happy.
Matcha is a special kind of green tea from Japan, mainly used in formal ceremonies. In the minds of most Japanese, matcha is linked to the tea ceremony.
Matcha neither looks like nor tastes like other kinds of tea. It looks like electric green cocoa, and has the mouthfeel of a well-made espresso. It tastes like baby green vegetables that might have been cooked by Ferran Adria or someone else into molecular gastronomy : perhaps blended microgreens, straight-up chlorophyll, young bamboo, and raw sugar.
We like to serve it in small cups, like espresso. When matcha is removed from its Japanese context, there is no need to replicate exact Japanese conditions of teamaking. One needn't wear a kimono, it need not be served on tatami mats, and one certainly doesn't have to study matcha for years on end to enjoy it. You could make it anywhere: at the breakfast table, at the office, at the yoga studio, on a hike (really!), or even in your car, especially if you've had a glass of wine or two.
Great matcha has many distinguishing features, but the top four are probably 1) Form of tea leaves. Unlike all other teas, including green teas, matcha is finely ground; 2) No steeping. Matcha isn't steeped, it's "eaten." You simply pour hot water over the powder, froth it (either with a special handheld bamboo whisk or an electric milk frother), and drink the thick tea; 3) Off-the-charts health properties. Matcha is full of naturally occurring antioxidants and amino acids; roughly 20 times those of regular green tea; and 4)It's A LOT like really good wine. Terroir (conditions in which it's grown) is massively important, it should have a balanced acid structure, a very long finish, and be full of umami. It should also froth up to a very fine crema, similar to espresso.