I’m the President of the St. Louis Harp Society, which sounds way more important & prestigious than it really is. It just means I get to schedule events (our annual tea party, recitals, etc). My Vice President is a lovely Harpist from Japan, the most gracious woman I’ve ever known. I had my first cup of Matcha in her home, when she was the treasurer & I was a mere peon (before I worked my way up the ladder to greatness). There we were, a small group of teachers & officers, planning the year. She served us tea & those fun little rice/seaweed crackers, ceremonially, I might add. I was enraptured, & the tea was the greenest of all green! Smooth, foamy, creamy. I was in love! (with the tea, silly!)
My first Matcha purchase came from Teavana, & I bought the stupid little whisk (looks like a miniature egg beater, only made of bamboo, falls apart regularly) that came with a couple bamboo spoons in a cute bamboo stand. My Matcha was always lumpy, never as smooth & foamy as hers. I was too cheap to buy the real whisk, I mean, would it really make a difference?
Several years ago I became Madame President, & held my first Tea Party at my house. I had some Matcha ready for her to whisk for us. When she saw that egg beater-like thing, she smiled, bowed, and graciously declined. She also sweetly made sure that I knew how important it was to keep my Matcha in the freezer, so that it will stay fresh. I’d like to mention that Matcha is the only tea she drinks,& she orders hers straight from a preferred source in Japan by the case.
What was I thinking? I always knew my Matcha was never as awesome as hers, & there were always lumps at the bottom of the cup.
I bought the real Matcha whisk shortly afterwards, & have never looked back. I’m having my 2nd cup, & it’s rich in greenness, with a head of foam like a tap-drawn beer. I’ve only tried 3 Matchas so far: The wonderful brew at my Japanese colleague’s house (when I told her over sushi that I bought the right whisk, she nodded & smiled demurely in approval), Republic of Tea’s (which was a green tan color when I opened it, bitter & obviously stale. Guess they didn’t keep it in the freezer), & this lovely jade green brew from Teavana. Drinking this matcha is like sipping a cup of heaven, a wonderful spring tonic, any time of year. I whisk it in a blue glass bowl, breathing in images of asparagus in spring, while I recite a Haiku:
“Green essence of Jade
Steaming water in blue glass,
Sweet smooth sip of silk.”