What is Uji Matcha? All about the taste and history

If you have arrived at this column, you must be quite the Japanese tea freak.

Uji matcha, a specialty of Kyoto, Japan, is one of the three best teas in Japan, along with Shizuoka and Sayama teas.

For all you Japanese tea freaks out there, today we're going to show you all about the fascinating Uji matcha, from its origin and characteristics to how to enjoy it!

What is Uji Matcha?

Green tea is the most commonly consumed tea in Japan. Matcha, a powdered form of this green tea, is used in traditional tea ceremonies and is also popular as an ingredient in sweets.

Among the most popular green teas in the world today, Uji tea is famous as a high-end brand of green tea.

Only tea grown in Uji, Kyoto, the birthplace of green tea in Japan, and the surrounding area, and processed locally by a Kyoto-based supplier is called Uji tea.

This Uji matcha is characterized by its astringency followed by a deep sweetness and richness. Its bright green color will leave you feeling calm.

History of Uji Tea

It is said that Uji tea began to be cultivated in Kyoto in the Kamakura period (1185-1333) at the beginning of the 13th century.

A Japanese Zen master brought back tea seeds from China, where he had studied, and monks at a temple in Kyoto began cultivating the plant.

Uji cultivation became widespread because the natural environment around Uji in Kyoto was suitable for tea cultivation, including the quality of the soil, topography, and temperature.

By the mid-14th century, the custom of drinking tea on a daily basis was established, and Uji tea was regarded as a first-class gift.

Uji tea was served at tea ceremonies held by the royal family. And as the tea was called "Uji tea for tea," it established its position as a brand of tea.

How is Uji tea made?

The typical types of green tea produced in Uji include sencha, gyokuro, and matcha. Each has a different cultivation method and production method, and their flavors vary.

Sencha is made by steaming and rubbing dry the sprouts, while gyokuro is made by steaming and rubbing dry the sprouts grown under cover.

While sencha has a fresh aroma and flavor, gyokuro is more flavorful, with a fuller aroma and a mellower, sweeter taste.

Matcha is grown in the same way as gyokuro, undercover cultivation that shields it from direct sunlight. After the tea leaves are plucked, they are steamed, dried without rubbing, and ground into a powder using a mortar.

Incidentally, what is called "Uji matcha" is tea made from finished processed Uji tea. Uji matcha is also famous for its use in Japanese confectionery.

Taste and Characteristics of Uji Matcha

You may be surprised to learn that Uji matcha is not a bitter tea. It does not contain much astringent components and has a mild taste.

Tea leaves are rich in dietary fiber, vitamin A, and other good-for-you ingredients. However, in the case of roasted green tea, these ingredients remain in the tea leaves. With matcha, there is no need to worry about the ingredients remaining in the tea leaves, so you can take in all the nutrients.

Uji matcha is not only drunk as tea, but also used as an ingredient in various dishes.

If you are interested, please give it a try.

Matcha ice cream

Matcha bread

Matcha chocolate

Matcha cake

Matcha pasta

How was it?

I am fascinated by traditional Japanese tea.

If you want more truth to matcha, be sure to try Uji matcha.


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