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How can matcha help with your workout routine?

Is your weekend plan including hitting the gym or other forms of workout routine? Do you want to boost your endurance and energy during workout? Try having a matcha coldbrew or adding matcha to your shake afterwards. Here're a few reasons why matcha is so good for your fitness goals:

1. NO ARTIFICIAL INGREDIENTS OR ADDITIVES

Unlike many other sport pills, powder, or energy drinks on the market that may come with many artificial color and flavours, additives or even sugar, matcha is naturally loaded with high antioxidants and all beneficial amino acids and essential nutrients. No fillers!


2. BOOSTS METABOLISM & ENERGY


The antioxidants in matcha have been found to help increase metabolic rate. During a study conducted by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was demonstrated that the consumption of matcha increased the body’s natural rate of burning calories by nearly 400%!


The gentle caffeine and L-Theanine in matcha can provide you 3 - 6 hours of sustained energy without spike or crush.


3. HELP RELIEVE CRAMPS & SORENESS
Matcha can help reduce the production of lactic acids, of which is the main cause of muscle cramps and soreness. The antioxidants in matcha can help release muscle stresses and reduce inflammation.

4. BURN TARGETED FAT
For those of you who couldn't afford exercise regularly, matcha can significantly decrease body fat composition and reduce targeted fat in abdominal area. This is great for people mostly sitting all day without enough physical activities during weekdays. Drink it after meal for best result.

5. IT'S ECONOMICAL & EASY TO MAKE
With only 1/2 tsp per serving which is about 1g, you're spending less than $1. Why pay for the cost of water and plastic bottle of an energy drink where you can easily make your own 100% all natural energy booster. 


Recommended Usage:
In a 24oz bottle, add 1/2  - 1 tsp (teaspoon not tablespoon) Organic Everyday grade matcha, fill up water to about 3/4 full, shake vigorously 10 - 15 seconds, and enjoy!

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Zarai, Single Cultivar vs. Blended Cultivar - What's the hype?

For the longest time in my life, I thought matcha didn't have varieties and the taste differences would be from different harvest seasons and methods, or maybe the length of shading. Matcha is actually like any other plants that has different cultivated varieties which determine the taste and flavour of its end product. Another example is wine; it's all made from grapes but there are different kinds of grapes, Chardonnay, Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Merlot etc... those grape varieties determine the flavour of the wine.

Non-cultivated variety is called Zairai, which means planting from seed. There're so many different genes & possibilities (be it good or not so good) in a tiny seed, and it's like a lottery ticket for farmers. It can be amazingly strong and flavourful, or the opposite. That's why nowadays tea farmers don't like to use Zairai method because of the risks and contingencies.

Most of the tea farmers choose cultivated varieties and they usually buy from a renowned "tea breeder" who sells those ready-to-plant tea trees. Similar with the time you go to Home Depot and buy those little tomato plant in a little pot, and move them to the ground afterwards. They'd also like to choose different kinds, maybe 50 of Yabukita, 50 of Samidori, 50 of Asahi etc (in the Tomato case, people may choose some Beefsteak, some Roma). After harvest, they have two options: group them according to their cultivar and sell as single cultivar tea, or they blend them together. You may ask: why do they blend them together?

There're two main reasons:

1. Taste
Each cultivar has its own distinctive flavour - similar to wine, some people love Merlot and some people love Shiraz. When blending them all together, the tea farms are creating their own "flavour" that other tea farms cannot duplicate. Some tea farms even blend over 5 varieties to create something that's hard to copy.

2. Production
Each cultivar produces unequal amount of end products; for examples, Yabukita is a very strong and frost-resistant cultivar, so it tends to produce more than other ones. To ensure an average and steady supply, the tea farmers like to blend Yabukita in other lower-production cultivar, so the total yield can be more consistent. In a mass-production factory, you'd rarely find single cultivar tea (unless they only grow one variety).

Some famous Japanese tea companies such as Ippodo, Marukyu-Koyamaen, Hoshino-Seichaen, buy tea from other tea farms (instead of owning and maintaining their tea farms). Companies in-house tea master will grade those tea and blend them together to reach a unique taste, and name them differently. 

Do you like blended matcha or single-cultivar matcha? While most of our matcha is single-cultivar, can you guess which of our matcha is blended cultivar?

 

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Why choose Organic Matcha?

How much does ORGANIC mean to you?

Non-organic matcha (conventional matcha) is cheaper in prices, brighter in color, and richer in taste due to fertilize manipulation. Interesting enough organic produce is not popular in Japan - you could hardly find any organic apples or bananas in their supermarkets in oppose to here in North America. Why?

People are easily attracted to larger, plumper, and sweet-tasting fruits; the more expensive yet smaller ones are left behind. This discourages farmers to grow foods organically and Japan is a very chemistry-advanced country that they invent all different kinds of artificial fertilizers to support plants' growth. The land is also scarce comparing to its dense population so they will have to use pesticides to ensure the crop production is consistent every year.

Matcha is a very delicate and expensive tea. For those top grades matcha, you rarely find it grow organically. The two most reputable matcha producers, Ippodo Tea & Marukyu Koyamaen, only carry one to two kinds of organic matcha, and the rest of ten grades are all conventional. Here're the reasons:

1. matcha is shade-grown (and this is what sets it apart from regular powdered green tea). During the shading process, matcha plants couldn't get enough energy from the sun, and it needs extra nitrogen to support its growth. Organic matcha farmers are restricted to using those industrial-strength fertilizers, so they buy those organic-certified fertilizers instead; however most of the time those are not strong enough to make their matcha taste as good as conventional ones. 

2. High grade matcha are very limited in quantity (we're not talking about those $1/g ceremonial grade - we're talking about $2 or more per gram high-end grade), and matcha production depends on many uncontrollable factors such as weather. In addition to those factors, pest is another farmer's enemy that possibly will reduce matcha production. Conventional matcha farmers will have to use toxic pesticide to ensure pest-control is in place.

BUT... is Organic matcha really inferior than conventional ones?

Not necessarily! Before we tell you why our organic grade (especially our competition grade and Ultra premium Ceremonial grade) is on par with conventional grades, let's take a look at the benefits of Organic farming in general. By choosing certified organic products, you're helping to

1. Minimize toxic chemical consumption
Eating organically grown foods is the only way to avoid the cocktail of chemical poisons present in commercially grown food.The average application equates to about 16 pounds of chemical pesticides per person every year. Many of these chemicals were approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before extensive diet testing. 

2. reduce pollution, enhance soil & water quality
Agricultural chemicals, pesticides, and fertilizers are contaminating our environment, poisoning our precious water supplies, and destroying the value of fertile farmland. Certified organic standards do not permit the use of toxic chemicals in farming and require responsible management of healthy soil and biodiversity. 

2. improve habitats
Preservation of soil and crop rotation keep farmland healthy, and chemical abstinence preserves the ecosystem. Wildlife, insects, frogs, birds, and soil organisms are able to play their roles in the tapestry of ecology, and we are able to play ours, without interference or compromise.

3. conserve biodiversity
The rampant loss of species occurring today is a major environmental concern. It is estimated that 75% of the genetic diversity of agricultural crops has been lost in the last century.

4. Support Organic Farmers
Every dollar you spent is a vote. By buying organic produces, you're giving confidence and credits to organic farmers so they can continue to supply the best and healthiest foods.

5. A brighter future
This is not political slogan; this is a fact. If we all start to contribute little by little, we will see a collective impact for the future.

Back to our organic matcha.

Personally I had such a hard and long time finding great-tasting organic matcha, because 99% of organic matcha farmers use the similar organic-certified fertilizers resulting in poor taste. I guess those organic fertilizers are more cost effective. Our tea farm owner formulates his own natural fertilizer so it's very unique to our matcha, and you wouldn't find a similar one even closer to ours.

Are you supporting organic farming? Your thoughts are welcome!

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What is a National Tea Competition in Japan?

What is National Tea Competition?

The tea competitions & appraisals are hosted annually for the purposes of improving the cultivation standards and quality of tea (especially green tea). Every year there're 3 major tea competitions in Japan: Kansai Tea appraisal (関西茶品評会), Kyoto Prefecture Tea appraisal (全国お茶まつり京都大会), National Tea Competition & Awards (全国茶品評会). The national tea competition is the most formal, scaled, and authoritative event. When saying competition grade tea, it needs to participate the competition and have been ranked at least top 30 (out of hundreds of candidates). The top 6 will be awarded by Government Officials, and the top 3 will be awarded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries, which is the highest award & achievement one can receive.

Tea Categories:

Sencha 普通煎茶

Deep Steamed Sencha 深蒸し煎茶

Kabuse-Cha かぶせ茶

Gyukuro 玉露

Tencha てん茶

Guri-Cha 蒸し製玉緑茶/ぐり茶

Kamairi-cha 釜炒り茶

Award Group Categories:

Individual (independent tea farm)

Group farms

Collective farms

Producing region

Most awarded tea kind

 

Criteria:

The main criteria for the tea appraisal and competition:

1. Appearance (shape of the tea leaves)

2. Aroma

3. Color of Brewed Tea

4. Taste

5. Color of Dry Tea

The total score is 200. Over 20 professional judges & tea masters will taste and evaluate all teas using the same brewing methods (volume, quantity & temperature control). Procedures and criteria are clearly standardized and strictly monitored throughout the evaluation. The judges will take notes and put down the score of each category. 

Judges also take cultivars, processing methods into consideration; however organic certification does not take into consideration. It will be competing with regular conventional teas.

Matcha does not have a category of its own - Matcha is evaluated in the form of Tencha, which is the processed tea leaves prior to being ground into fine powder. The quality of tencha directly reflects the quality of its powdered form.

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Whisk Matcha: Quality Over Quantity... Always!

These days its so easy to find yourself weaving through seemingly endless isles of mass produced products at large bulk-buy stores throughout North America – and beyond. Unfortunately, healthy items like matcha tea (meant to promote wellness) are also produced in bulk to satisfy an ever-increasing demand that translates to a loss in benefits.


Rest assured, Whisk Matcha is not mass-produced and maintains all its benefits.

At Whisk Matcha we stand by our belief (and passion) for artisanal quality, hand sourced, small-batch grown tea. Our Organic Ceremonial Grade and Pinnacle Gold Grade Matcha are hand picked, rather than machine-trimmed to ensure quality is never compromised. 

Where as larger tea companies sacrifice the many health benefits and nutty-sweet and smooth flavour of matcha: at Whisk, we choose to remain true to our roots in more ways than one.

Our matcha tea leaves are grown through a different, more precise method of harvesting. New growth leaves are picked from the fork of each branch, where all the nutrients are found, not simply snipped by machine at the same point of previous harvest – translating to diluted nutrients and less benefits to you – the consumer.

Our Pinnacle Gold is from a rare tea varietal called Asahi. The tea plants grown in individual planters providing the utmost of control and monitoring rather than in a massive tea field.  

Matcha growing and picking

So the next time you make yourself a warm bowl of our Whisk Matcha, know that you can sit back and relax, sip and savour the fact that we have taken every careful step to insure you are enjoying the very best matcha available!

 

 

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