NOURISHING ESSENTIALS (February 2020) - Matcha: Japan’s Ceremonial Centerpiece
Soba noodles are thin Japanese buckwheat noodles that can be served cold with a dipping sauce or hot in a noodle soup. These traditional soba noodles are infused with matcha to give them a unique flavor and color with no added colors or additives.
Koyama Noodle, established in 1945, uses an ancient method to make their noodles which was passed down from the owner’s grandfather. They dry their noodles in the sunshine to naturally remove any excess water. Although it takes 3 to 4 times longer than other methods, this traditional technique brings out the original characteristics of the flour, resulting in a firmer, more plump and smooth noodle that is richer and more flavorful.
Suggested use:Add noodles to a pot of boiling water for 4-5 mins then rinse with cold water. To make a simple dipping sauce, combine 1 cup of dashi with ¼ cup of soy sauce (both available in our Creative Beginnings: Redefining “Wa” Care Package) and 2 tbsp of mirin in a bowl. Garnish with chopped green onions.
Ingredients:Wheat, buckwheat, matcha, salt (from the natural seawater of the Seto Inland Sea)
Nutritional information: Per: 300g, Calories: 330kcal, Total Fat: 1.8g, Sodium: 4.3g, Total Carbohydrate: 73g, Protein: 11.3g
(ARAHATAEN GREEN TEA FARMS - Distributed by Japanese Green Tea Company)
This premium matcha, used in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony and loved by many top chefs in Japan, is luxurious and aromatic with an earthy flavor that is filled with subtle sweet undertones. Its vibrant green color is a symbol of its high quality and provides the true taste of authentic Japanese matcha.
Arahataen Green Tea Farms is located in Shizuoka prefecture, an area in Japan known for growing the finest of teas. This region has been the center of green tea culture in Japan for centuries. The difference in temperatures on the plateaus during night and day is one of the main contributing factors to the richness in flavor of this matcha.
By combining new technology with the fundamentals of old traditions. the farmers carefully cultivate crops of thick grass and sugarcane around their tea plants. This labor-intensive process protects each plant’s delicate roots while giving each tree the nutrition it needs to grow, ensuring that only the best leaves make it into their tea. Leaves from the first crop are used which results in less caffeine and less astringency. The longer processing method also leads to a bolder flavor filled with health-enhancing amino acids and a smoother, sweeter taste.
Japanese Green Tea Company won the Global Tea Championship in 2017 and 2018, and the Silver Award in 2019. Their tea also won the Japanese National Tea Award in 1974, 1975, 1979 and 2010.
Suggested use: Sift ½ - 1 tsp (2-4g) of powder into 2 oz of hot water (we recommend about 180-190°F). Wait for 60 seconds. For best results, whisk using a bamboo whisk (chasen). You can also use an electric whisk or just stir. You can also add ½ tsp to your favorite smoothie, sprinkled on ice cream or yogurt, in a Matcha latte (see recipe included) or add 1-3 tsp for every 1 cup of flour to bake your own matcha bread.
Ingredients: Green tea
Nutritional information: Per: 1/2 tsp (1g), Calories: 5kcal, Total Fat: 0g, Sodium: 0g, Total Carbohydrate: <1g, Protein: 2g
Although these Uji Matcha Peas include only three ingredients, a great deal of time and effort goes into handcrafting these treats. Instead of simply soaking the peas overnight, the peas are gently watered in the morning and again in the evening for several days. This gradual process ensures that the peas are evenly softened and that no hard peas remain. After roasting, the peas are added to a mixture of water and sugar, which is slowly mixed to encourage the water to evaporate and a coating of sugar to develop around each pea. Finally the peas are left to dry naturally in bamboo baskets. From start to finish, it takes the master craftsmen at Mametomi nearly ten days to produce these handcrafted gems.
Founded in 1873, Mametomi has focused on creating handmade bean sweets for over 100 years. The company believes that to create first class food, you need high-quality ingredients combined with creative recipes. At Mametomi, each raw ingredient is selected with care and equal dedication is committed to the process of crafting each treat. The company has won over 14 awards for its bean sweets, including the highest prize of the Takamatsunomiya Honorary President's Award at the 16th National Confectionery Exposition in 1965.
While peas are often eaten steamed, roasting gives the peas a satisfying crunch, while bringing out their natural sweetness. The deep aroma of stone-milled matcha adds an almost savory layer of flavor to the sweetness of the peas and sugar coating. The result is a uniquely delicious sweet and savory snack.
Suggested use: Enjoy as is.
Ingredients: Green peas, sugar, matcha.
Before there was sugar in Japan, there was kinako. Often called soybean “flour,” kinako is made from ground roasted soybeans and is commonly used as a topping for Japanese sweets, including sticky mochi rice cakes and shaved ice. Not as sweet as refined sugar, kinako has a mild natural sweetness and a slightly nutty flavor reminiscent of peanut butter.
While kinako is a much beloved flavor in Japan, kinako and matcha is a rare combination. This Kinako Powder with Uji Matcha is made from carefully roasted Hokkaido soybeans blended with genuine Uji matcha powder from Kyoto. The result is a mellow sweetness with a hint of green tea earthiness.
Yamashiroya has been led by four generations of women, starting from 1904. The company began as a wholesale supplier of dried sardines. By gathering local fishermen, the business grew and prospered for decades until the entire business was destroyed in World War II. The next female descendent rebuilt the company, reestablishing it in 1946, and then passing Yamashiroya to her talented daughter-in-law. Throughout the four generations, the business has changed from sardine supplier to dried food supplier to now a producer of dried goods. Thanks to the dedication of the family Yamashiroya has weathered over a century to bring you this unique matcha kinako blend.
Suggested use: Mix with warm milk to make a matcha latte treat. Dust on cakes or cookies instead of powdered sugar, use as a topping on ice cream or to coat truffles.
Ingredients: Soybeans (from Hokkaido Prefecture, non-GMO), sugar, matcha (from Japan)
Suggested use: Enjoy as is.
Ingredients: Cocoa butter, sugar, milk sugar, skim milk powder, whole milk powder, vegetable oil (from soybeans), green tea, emulsifier (from soybeans)
A Japanese specialty featuring creamy white chocolate infused with finely milled matcha powder. The matcha gives the chocolate an herbal aroma and bittersweet finish of real green tea leaves. The perfect Valentine’s Day treat!
Suggested use: Enjoy as is.
Ingredients: Sugar, glucose syrup, matcha
This beautifully designed candy has a mellow and sweet green tea flavor. Savor slowly to enjoy its long-lasting flavor. Perfect for green tea lovers.
Suggested use: Enjoy as is.
Ingredients: Sugar, wheat flour, vegetable oil, malt sugar, glucose syrup, matcha, yeast, salt
This Matcha Hoten is made from another Japanese sweet called karinto, which has been wrapped in a matcha coating. Karinto are a classic fried Japanese snack dating back to the Edo period. For this unique treat, the karinto have been miniaturized and wrapped in a matcha candy coating resulting in tantalizing layers of texture and green tea flavor.
Yamamasa Koyamaen, the producer behind these local matcha sweets, has a history reaching back to 1861. They’re located in Uji, a town just outside of Kyoto that is among the top three tea producing areas in Japan. Of all the matcha made in Japan, Uji matcha is arguably the finest. The region’s hilly terrain, high quality soil, mild temperatures, and humidity contribute to creating an environment for growing some of the best matcha in the world.
In recognition of the artistry behind their matcha products, Yamamasa Koyamaen calls their production area a studio, not a factory. Their values focus on taste first, quality over appearance and trust building.
The president of Yamamasa Koyamaen, Yoichi Koyama, served as the President of the Kyoto Prefectural Tea Cooperative for five years and was awarded the Autumn Yellow Ribbon in 1998 by Emperor Akihito, in recognition of his significant contributions to the development of the tea industry.
Enjoy this sample of some of Yamamasa Koyamaen’s finest matcha sweets all handcrafted with shade grown, stone milled Japanese matcha. They each showcase the color, aroma, and natural sweetness that only top quality matcha can provide.
Learn more about Yamamasa Koyamaen in our Producer Spotlight.