“Maccha” is natural green tea leaves, steamed, dried, and grounded down to form a fine powder. “Maccha” also refers to the tea made from grounded tea powder, what is served at the Japanese tea ceremonies.
To make “Maccha” tea, a small amount of tea powder is put into the tea bowl, using traditionally a bamboo spoon called “Chashaku”, and hot water is poured in. Then, the mixture is stirred until completely blended and whipped a little on the surface, using a bamboo whisk called “Chasen”. (seen on the first picture below)
“Maccha” is usually served with Japanese sweets “Wagashi”, as to balance its slight bitterness, as in the second picture below. Instead of using sugar and milk, we eat sweet “Wagashi” right before drinking “Maccha” .
“Maccha” is very healthy and rich in various nutrition included in tea leaves such as amino acids, vitamins, minerals, tannin, etc.., since it is basically the same as drinking pure powdered tea leaves.
If you have a chance to be invited to a Japanese tea ceremony, please do not hesitate to participate. You do not need to worry too much about understanding the details of complicated manners of having “Maccha”. Gratitude and appreciation from the heart is just much more important than formality of the performance. Also, do not be surprised when your host serves “Maccha” using the same tea bowl to all the guests, as it is common in small ceremonies!
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