Monday, July 30, 2012

Whisking tea

It was not until two years ago that I learnt that preparing matcha tea with a bamboo whisk in fact originated from the Song Dynasty in China, before it became a common practice in Japan and has remained so ever since.

The movements of whisking this finely ground tea and the variations in strength behind these seemingly repetitive strokes involve skills that come with a lot of practice and focus. Whisking too lightly at the surface will not produce sufficient froth. Yet, a hurried and heavy-handed approach to whisking will only result in bubbles that disappear altogether once the movements stop.

My third attempt
I have to admit that it can be challenging, yet very fun to find out for yourself when you should mix the powdered mixture slowly but more forcefully, when whisking begins and gradually picks up speed, and you can reduce the strength of whisking. The result speaks for itself: the frothier it looks, the creamier it tastes. Through matcha, green tea has shown us its lesser known side of depth, complexity and stunning flavours that reveal themselves to the one who pays undivided attention during the preparatory stages.

This exercise of preparing ground tea seems very holistic. On one hand we need the arm and wrist movements, on the other hand mental concentration and alertness. Once satisfied with the result, your muscles come to a rest and you realise how fast your heart was pumping for the last few minutes.

Have fun practising. The discoveries you make along the way and at the end of the journey may surprise you.

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