Dec 8, 2013

FOOD FARE & MORE: What a Matcha Man!

The tea house on Ipponsugi Street.

During our stroll down Ipponsugi Street for a Nanao festival, a group of us ALTs went to an old tea house to partake in an informal tea ceremony.

The Matcha Man

The owner and tea-maker of the tea house had worked for an American company in his youth, and spoke clear English. He explained to us the process of creating matcha (green tea powder), including how he lays the tea leaves out and dries them before they can be cut into the small pieces that are put in the grinder. Hearing how much effort it takes to make just a handful of matcha gave me a deeper appreciation for the tea we were about to drink.

The inside of a stone tea leaves grinder.

A historical tea grinder (that looks like a lot more work).

We put cut-up green tea leaves in the hole on top of the grinder. The long stick is used to spin the grinder around.

Spinning the grinder.

Fine, powdery matcha comes out of the bottom of the grinder, which we scoop into our cups with a wooden spoon.

Handmade sweets with fresh sprinkled matcha powder. The bitter tea powder on the sugar gives it a sharp taste.

Hot water boiling over an old-style fire pit.

The design of the tea bowl is meant to be considered and appreciated before drinking from it.

A few scoopfuls of matcha powder is enough to make a strong cup of tea.

After stirring the macha powder with hot water, the tea is ready to enjoy.

Creating our own matcha powder and cup of green tea was even more enjoyable than drinking it. Along with the education we received from the friendly tea-maker, it was one of the highlights of the entire festival day.


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