Last time I had matcha, it was in Uji about five years ago. There’s a tea culture center in Uji, behind the magnificent Byodo-in. There, you can have the cheapest proper tea ceremony done for you in Japan — I think it was 500 yen per person. The tea room is a bit on the big side, as I’m sure they have to accomodate a large number of people sometimes, tour groups and all. I don’t remember much of the tea — it wasn’t something to really write home about. I just remember my legs almost giving out by trying to sit properly with my knees in front of me. I think I lasted 15 minutes before giving up.
So here I am, trying to make this drink again. I’ve trying playing with matcha before, but only briefly.
Chawan, chasen, chashaku… and you’re in business. Pretty simple, really.
The matcha I used is some stuff I got with the chasen and the chashaku.
Made by a store that is, supposedly, continuously in existence for 450 years in Uji. I believe them. Walking down the street from the train station to Byodo-in really makes you feel like you’re back in an Edo period town. The stores are all obviously old and, thankfully, escaped damage from the war.
Interesting, because in the mouth, the tea isn’t particularly strong. I made it lightly, in case I did something horribly wrong. I used hottish water — water that was boiled and then let cooled for a bit. I don’t know how hot, or how much exactly, I used. I just eyeballed it as best I can. After drinking it though, I can feel a nice, sweet aftertaste. It also gave me a feeling that is akin to cha qi. A little later, I can feel a jolt, probably from the caffeine.
Interesting. When cooled, it can be a nice summery drink. I don’t see myself drinking this stuff too often — I went to an aged baozhong right after. However, I do feel a sort of obligation, at the very least, to be experimenting a little more in this area.
Now I sound like a drug addict….