I thought I would hate matcha for life. I can remember it so clearly: we were on a plane to Tokyo to visit my mom’s relative and I was like 5-6 years old. On that long flight, after drawing dozens of Hello Kitty for Momoe and Tracy our favorite flights attendants (how do I still remember those names, I can’t explain but I do!), food was one more option to keep me entertained. And what does a kid love? Ice creams! My favorite ice cream flavor was (and still is) pistachio. I just love it. So when I saw this green ice cream coming my way, I was ecstatic! Can you guess what happened next? I cried and almost fainted at the taste of that terrible bitter fake pistachio! But “wait kiddo, this is matcha, you should’t eat that…” – No I shouldn’t have! And that is how for about 30 years, I hated matcha so bad, until I re-discovered it a few years ago. Not only I now appreciate the taste of matcha, but it is the power and beauty of what it relates to, culturally, that I admire and love.
CHĀDO, THE WAY OF TEA
Chādo (or Chā No Yu) is what we commonly know as Tea Ceremony. (Chā = tea and do = the way of). During a Tea Ceremony, the tea used is indeed matcha, a thin powder made of quality green tea leaves. The matcha is combined to hot water (60-70 °C) into a bowl, and whisked in precise motions before being served.
Each movement during the Tea Ceremony is executed meticulously, each object is placed with exactitude, the quantity of tea and water is precise. Chādo is an art, and everything about the Ceremony contributes to a feeling of harmony and tranquility.
Also for me, it awakens my spirit to concepts such as respect, appreciation and humility.
There is so much to say about Chādo but the best is to experience one. I haven’t tried any in Bangkok, but in case you ever find yourself in Paris or Tokyo, Jugetsudo is a place I can personally recommend.
WHAT IS QUALITY MATCHA?
From a more day-to-day perspective now, appreciating a good cup of matcha doesn’t have to be so ceremonious! However, I feel that there should still be a reminiscence of what Chādo is about, and to be practical, how I personally select a good matcha is based on its place of origin, its color and its aroma that should be smooth, not bitter.
Some brands do sell “Japanese green tea powder with Ujimatcha”, but the amount of it might be very small so there are clearly a wide range of ‘matcha’ available on the market.
The birthplace of matcha is Uji (Kyoto).
Other places to find good matcha are Nishio (Aicha) and Shizuoka.
Now to the point!
WHERE TO GET QUALITY MATCHA IN BANGKOK
I find Healtholicious to be an excellent resource for information about ketogenic food (and a bit beyond!) and for supply. I trust their selection when it comes to sourcing quality food and beverages and making it available to all qualitarians in Bangkok. They have both culinary and ceremonial grade matcha. | USDA Certified Organic Matcha (Uji, Japan): Stone-Ground
A wide choice of Japanese teas including “purist”, “idealist”, and “perfectionist” grades available to sip in their white-themed contemporary tea house (right next to Piman 49) or to buy for your home. Peace Oriental teahouse is also a supplier for quality teas to of other cafés in Bangkok. | Peace Oriental Tea House’s Purist Matcha
An online shop dedicated to matcha, and matcha only. A great way to get started with drinking matcha at home, as they conveniently sell the equipment to realize your perfect cup at home.
Above is the “Daily” set I just purchased, and received the next day, with very clear directions on how to prepare it. | Matchanoyu online shop
I stumbled upon this café when walking by Thong Lo. Industrial, minimalistic and chic I could tell from outside so I walked in and was pleasantly surprised when I saw they had matcha (clear matcha, no milk) on their menu. When I asked where to matcha was from, they told me from Peace Oriental Tea House | Phak Cafe & Crafts
And if you want that matcha latte…
I am part of those who believe that good tea should be appreciated on its own. However, I totally understand and sometimes even appreciate a good latte! If so, I would clearly look for matcha latte made with matcha powder instead of ‘matcha’ syrup.
For instance, I have had both the matcha latte at Kuppadeli, and at Dean & Deluca which I believe are still made today with powder. So these were quite alright!
And here is a special thanks to my Mom for enlightening me on the matcha topic! 🙂