The 5-Way Matcha Tasteoff

I recently got a pretty delightful email that I can’t help sharing. It was from Tynan, with whom I sipped matcha in his incredible RV several months back.

Tynan and the ever-inspiring Leo Babauta (I also had the chance to sit down with Leo and talk about flow and productivity over matcha). and Leo’s wife Eva, did  5-way double-blind tasting of Blends 100, 99, 97, and two matcha that they picked up in Uji on a recent trip there. Without conferring before deciding favorites, they all picked 99, 97, and 100 in that order. Wow. My kind of afternoon experiment!

tynan matcha 1

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The SF Chronicle Discovers Breakaway Matcha!

We were thrilled to find Breakaway Matcha on the cover of last weekend’s SF Chronicle! (Marin edition) Full article is below — click a panel to blow it up for easier reading. Thanks to Carey Sweet and everyone at the Chronicle who made this happen!

Chron Matcha Cover

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Matcha — Drinking a Plant

tea fields

When we drink matcha, we’re actually drinking a plant. Not the extract of a plant, mind you: the actual plant itself.The leaves of this gorgeous plant are plucked by hand, then steamed to preserve their brilliant color, then dried, then finely ground using specially designed grooved granite wheels. We then simply combine this ground tea (the characters for matcha, literally mean “ground tea”) with hot water, whisk it up a bit, and drink it. We thus ingest the actual leaves, the actual tea.

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Matcha and Water Temperature

 

matcha in parchment creamer

For most of us, it’s common sense that tea is made with boiling water. Plonk tea bag in cup, add boiling water, steep, toss bag, drink.

The end.

How do we break free of fixed ideas like these? The brain has many ingenious ways of dealing with complexity, and a prominent one is to categorize information into easily memorable chunks. Tea equals boiling water.

But sometimes the rule is wildly off, and employing it gives highly undesired results. Matcha is one of the cases.

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Matcha With Tynan

I recently had the opportunity to have a cup of matcha with the fascinating and inspiring Tynan, a young entrepreneur who’s obsessed with living a fulfilling and adventure-packed life. We hung out in his remarkable RV — parked behind a gas station in SF — which he has customized to an almost unimaginable degree. He managed to install some beautiful tatami mats, mainly because he likes to prepare and serve tea so much (tatami of course also makes a terrific flooriing for a futon).  He’s also written several books, including one called The Tiniest Mansion: How To Live in Luxury on the Side of the Road in an RV. We talked for a few hours, and here is the tiniest slice of it.

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Leo Babauta on Focus, Flow, and Matcha

I recently had matcha in SF with the inimitable Leo Babauta. This guy, despite having created an army of fans who love his musings on productivity, happiness, minimalism, frugality, vegetarianism/veganism, health and fitness, setting goals, and many other topics has clearly digested the concept of humility. He has a long list of impressive achievements, yet he’s one of the humbler and most self-effacing people I’ve met in a long time. Check out what he has to say below about “best practices” concerning concentration, focus, and flow. And by all means check out his delightful blog at Zen Habits.

 

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“Culinary” Matcha, Anyone?

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. 

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Really, Really, Really Thick Matcha

koicha

I recently had what can only be described as a transcendent matcha experience: I drank the equivalent of about 12 servings of matcha, but did so in just three stunningly beautiful bowlfuls as I sipped a viscous, almost pudding-like manna that summarily blew out some neuronal pleasure circuits and launched me into alpha wave heaven .

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Making Matcha with David Gans

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I recently had the pleasure of spending an afternoon at the home of musician, radio host, and deadhead extraordinaire David Gans and his lovely wife Rita. They were curious about matcha, so I brought some along and taught David how to make a cup, breakaway style. Great merriment ensued, David got out his iphone camera so that he could remember how to make it! And voila, a couple of hardcore matcha fans were born.

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The All-New Breakaway Matcha Blog

Hello matcha fanatics! I finally got it sufficiently together to install this new blog, I’m very happy to announce. We’ll cover all kinds of matcha-related topics and news items, and I plan on keeping the posts short, and the tone conversational, even breezy. So I do hope it becomes at least of some use to everyone reading it.

Breakaway Matcha went live almost exactly a year ago, and I couldn’t be more pleased with our progress since then. Our matcha has been served in the White House, is on the VIP menu at The French Laundry, and has been featured on Daily Candy and Aha Life. If anyone has ideas for more media coverage, let us know!

We’ve worked out most of the logistical hurdles,and tried to automate as much as we could. The result is that orders are almost always shipped out on the day we get them (provided they come in before 2 pm–UPS pick up is at 3).

Thanks, thanks, and more thanks to everyone who has purchased this remarkable tea. I’m always around to answer your questions, so please take advantage of it!