Aiya Matcha Green Tea

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The practice of drinking green tea is a long standing tradition that dates back to ancient China.  As time has passed, its consumption has spread throughout the Far East and beyond.

Green tea first arrived in Japan in the 12th century, when Buddhist monk Eisai brought green tea seeds from China to Japan and started to cultivate tea plants.  He advocated green tea as being good for health and well-being, and it became a drink of the religious classes.  Fast forwarding to modern times, the popularity of green tea has risen in Japan and the Japanese have adopted it as a mainstream beverage which forms an integral part of their culture and cuisine.

Matcha, known as the ‘Mother of All Green Teas’, is a vibrantly coloured, powdered green tea that is famed for its use in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony.  What makes it unique is that it is made from the entire tea leaf.  Hence when prepared Matcha tea is drunk, a higher concentration of nutrients are consumed in comparison with steeped and infused green teas.  There are two main regions of Japan where Matcha is grown.  One area is Uji, Kyoto, and the other is Nishio, in the heart of Aichi-prefecture.

At this year’s Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City, I discovered a company called Aiya that is one of Japan’s premier manufacturers of Matcha tea.  Founded in 1888, Aiya is a Nishio City-based, family-run company that works with 200 contracted local farmers to produce a range of high quality ceremonial and cooking grade Matchas.

At the show, I spoke to James Oliveira from Aiya America about his company and the products that they produce.  You can hear the interview by clicking on the play button below.

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