As you all know readers, I’m a big tea nut. It has added dimensions to my travels and daily life that I could never imagined back when I was a coffee drinker in my student days, pre-moving to China.
Since those days of sipping long-jin in Changzhou tea houses with friends ten years ago, tea has integrated itself into my daily life. It has led me to seeking out tea plantations all over the world, interviewing owners of tea companies just out of sheer interest (I really should have published some of those on my blog, sorry!), sipping endless rounds in Istanbul cafes while doing long-distance with Mr Man and making sure I visited top Kyoto tea houses then using my bonuses from my private sector days to ship the nice stuff over from Japan.
So you can imagine my horror recently when I was unable to drink tea for an entire month… For reasons I don’t wish to disclose on here, I found myself downing a daily espresso while simultaneously stuffing myself with a croissant in order to keep it down. Any hot drink was completely out of the question, so my tea stash both at work and home remained static and probably saved me a few pounds cash and a trip to the Japan Centre in the process.
Coincidentally, Teapigs happened to contact me at the same time asking if I’d like to participate in their matcha challenge. Desperate to do anything to keep my beloved tea down I very willingly accepted and within days I was on the magic green stuff.
Ever since being introduced properly to matcha on a trip to visit my sister who was living in Japan in 2009, I have adored this drink. I tend to come and go from matcha – I love it but part of what I love about drinking a long pot of tea is that it forces me to relax and enjoy a good dose of tea where as matcha is nice and quick.
Finding myself being unable to hold down a cup of tea, matcha suddenly became my saviour – I love the quickness of it, I liked that it stayed down when nothing else would, and I swear to god it gradually helped me feel better. I’ll never know if it did aide in my recovery but the facts are there – being 100% green tea with the leaves ground and included in your drink rather than being thrown away afterwards, this stuff is packed with antioxidants (apparently 70x the amount of orange juice).
It has a slow release so unlike the espressos which were sending me bonkers for 45 minutes or so then landing me with a big crash, I gradually felt awake and continued to do so for several hours.
Things were messy the first day I attempted to make it. Teapigs kindly sent me a tiny milk frother and a shot glass to make it in but eager to get this stuff in, I didn’t pay attention and it went all over my kitchen bench. Here’s a video on how to make it properly (then turn it into a lovely looking latte):
The next attempts were way better. I put it into my favourite Anthropologie mug which I drink my tea out of every morning and managed to froth it into a lovely foamy consistency that went down like a nice creamy latte, yet it was about a third of the size and made from green tea, not coffee and milk.
Throughout the two weeks I became quite adept at making an excellent morning matcha and was loving it.
While others have tried various ways of having their matcha (in juices, their own morning lattes, DOUGHNUTS) I was lazy and needed to be quick in the always too short morning rush so stuck to whisking it up and downing it almost all in one. I’ve heard people say that some brands of matcha are quite bitter but this definitely wasn’t the case with the Teapigs version who only use freshly plucked tealeaves (no stems in here!) which are ground by granite in darkness then put straight into tins, maintaining a deep green colour and all of its life enhancing goodness.
Near the end of my matcha challenge, my bug suddenly disappeared and I was in the position of being able to hold down a hot drink again, but I actually continued on my new morning matcha ritual. So I think matcha is here to stay for a while – I’ve ditched the espresso and save my big pot of green tea to that mid-afternoon low. Somehow I don’t think my British colleagues would take to me suddenly whisking up a matcha in the office, so it’s going to remain my nice little 6am ritual to start the day with and get those antioxidants down.
Have you tried matcha and are you a convert?
While this is not a sponsored post, my matcha challenge kit was kindly provided to me by Teapigs who sell matcha in a range of sizes and prices. You can find it stocked in Wholefoods, Selfridges, Harvey Nicks and Planet Organic. Teapigs also sell a massive range of other teas that have dotted my cupboards and work drawers over the years – I highly recommend checking them out. Annoying anecdotes purely from my travels!