The newest radiation test report for our April shipment has been received. It confirms that all of our Matcha and loose leaf teas are safe for consumption. If you would like a copy of the report, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Natural Product Expo West and Engredea Show took place at the Anaheim Convention Center over this past weekend. This show is one of the biggest consumer shows every year. It is always busy with a lot of foot traffic as people come to check out all the natural products that are out on the market whether it be food, beverages, makeup, hair products, etc.
Aiya America did a show take over and you could see our products in several areas of the show. We had two booths; one set up on the Natural Products Expo West side, and one set up on the Engredea side that is ingredient based. We had our products displayed in the front of the convention center in the organic section and finally we had our products on display at the Buyer’s Best Friend booth. It appeared to help give us exposure as some patrons asked if we had two booths showing that they ended up stopping by both.
For this show we sampled our Ceremonial Matcha making traditional tea and our Matcha Zen Cafe Blend making Matcha smoothies. On the Engredea side we also were giving our samples of Matcha chocolate that uses a white chocolate base made by one of our clients.
The booth on the Engredea side of the show seemed to be positive as we had many people that were interested in the possibility of using Matcha in various products. The booth on the Natural Products side had plenty of traffic and help spread the word about Matcha as we educated the masses about Matcha and how to determine a high quality Matcha from a low quality Matcha.
Apparently this year the Natural Products West Expo set a new record for how many attendees and companies that exhibited at the show by drawing more than 63,000 industry members and 2,428 exhibiting companies. With all this exposure we can only hope that Matcha continues to draw interest and grow.
Last week a couple members of the Aiya team ventured up north to help exhibit with our Canadian Importer Gerhard’s at the CRFA Toronto show. The CRFA Show is the biggest restaurant show in Canada. This show is great for us to help us penetrate the food service and restaurant market by introducing Matcha green tea to them. The east coast market in Canada is a little behind the west coast area when it comes to Matcha green tea.
During the show we sampled our traditional Matcha green tea and for the first time in Canada our Matcha lemonade. The Matcha lemonade went over very well in Canada. Matcha lemonade is based on the idea of an Arnold Palmer which contains half lemonade and half ice tea, but instead of using black tea we use Matcha green tea. It’s actually interesting to note that so many people in Canada are unfamiliar with what an Arnold Palmer drink is and need an explanation as to what is an Arnold Palmer.
We typically get the same response when people try the Matcha lemonade, they always feel that its “really refreshing.” I think the Matcha lemonade drink is a prime example that you can do anything with Matcha since you can essentially mix it with anything you desire. You’re only limited by what your mind can imagine.
It appears eastern Canada is taking notice and opening up to the potentials of Matcha and a new ingredient for both drink and food.
Matcha is the new trend that’s sweeping North America, not just amongst tea enthusiast but also those interested in living healthy. Unlike the other trends Matcha is here to stay. Matcha is actually tea, and I don’t think tea is ever going to go away.
As you may or may not know Matcha is a powdered green tea that comes from Japan. In layman’s terms it’s just the actual green tea leaf grounded down into a fine powder. I’m not going to get into the particulars about how it’s exactly grown and how it’s made, you can read about that in a previous post. This post is going to discuss the differences between Matcha and loose leaf tea.
One of the glaring differences when dealing with Matcha over regular loose leaf tea is the fact that you do not have to steep Matcha. You essentially mix it with your water or liquid and can consume it immediately whereas with loose leaf tea you have to steep it in hot water and wait to extract the flavor and nutrients from the leaves. This in turn helps Matcha become such a versatile tea in terms of using it as an ingredient and not only for consuming it as traditional tea. When using loose leaf teas to flavor items often times you must infuse the tea with the other ingredients or steep the leaves in water then adding it to your other ingredients. By using regular loose leaf tea you might get as much flavor out of the tea if you have to steep it in water, and additionally it is more time consuming to do so. Matcha on the other hand can be treated like a dry ingredient and directly add it with your ingredients and mix them together. Since Matcha is so easy to use many products and items that are green tea flavored utilize Matcha (i.e. ice cream, lattes, smoothies, cakes, macaroons, etc.).
The next main difference between Matcha and loose leaf tea is the amount of nutrition you receive when consuming the two side by side. When you consume Matcha or anything containing Matcha, then you are essentially consuming the whole tea leaf since Matcha is made by grinding green tea leaves into a powder. Loose leaf tea must be steeped in hot water and whatever nutrients that are extracted during the steeping process is what you in turn ingest. When you drink a cup of Matcha you are consistently ingesting the same amount of nutrients as the nutrients are dependent on how much powder you use. Loose leaf tea on the other had have more variants that can effect how much nutrients you get from the tea like; amount of tea you steep, the temperate of water used to steep the tea, or even the amount of time you steep the tea for. It is said that it takes 10 cups of regular steeped green tea to be equivalent to one cup of Matcha in terms of health benefits. But with loose leaf teas you are only able to receive the water soluble nutrients, unlike Matcha where you are also getting the water insoluble nutrients. It’s a prime example of the old adage, “it’s better to eat an orange than drink just orange juice” where you get the wholefood content from Matcha compared to loose leaf tea.
Below you will see a pie chart illustrating the wholefood context. The graph represents all 100% nutritional content from green tea leaves. The small portion that is labeled 35% represents the water soluble nutrients from the full leaf. In order to receive all the water soluble nutrients you must infuse the same loose leaves a minimum of three times, but most people only infuse the tea leaves once making up only roughly 10% of the complete nutrients from a tea leaf. The bigger portion that represents 65% of green tea is the water insoluble nutrients. With one cup of Matcha you are able to take in all 100% nutrients from the tea. With loose leaf tea you are only taking in; amino acids, catechins, water soluble vitamins, and water soluble fiber. With Matcha you are taking all that in plus; chlorophyll, vitamin A, vitamin E, proteins, minerals, and water insoluble fibers.
In recent years many studies have been showing the many health benefits of green tea and tea in general. As illustrated above you can see Matcha is even more so, and in turn that is why there are many public figures including Dr. Oz endorsing Matcha green tea for its many health benefits. If you like tea or are looking for a new healthy beverage then give Matcha a try, you just mind find that it’s your cup of tea.
When discussing Matcha and its health benefits one of the most commonly discussed things is the extremely high antioxidant content of Matcha that gives it its status as king of the super foods. In this week’s educational Matcha blog post, we would like to briefly explain a test used to determine how effective the antioxidant content of Matcha is – the ORAC test.
What Does ORAC Mean?
ORAC is an acronym that stands for oxygen radical absorbance capacity. In layman’s terms, this test determines how readily available the antioxidants in a food or drink are and how effective those antioxidants are in the body. The ORAC test of Matcha approximates how much of the antioxidants in Matcha are actually having an effect and how positive that effect is. That number is then converted into a value called the ORAC value.
The ORAC Value of Matcha
Matcha contains the most antioxidants and carries one of the highest ORAC values of naturally occurring products that we know of. It’s ORAC value on a per gram basis is 1384. For comparison, other anti oxidant rich foods such as gojiberries and dark chocolate only rank at 253 and 227 ORAC values respectively as you can see in the chart below.
What this chart does not specifically highlight and requires a bit more explanation is how these per gram numbers relate to serving sizes. One gram is actually a quite small amount – it is far smaller than one ounce coming in at approximately 0.03 oz. This is important when it relates back to serving size of a food. One will not, for example, only eat 1 gram of blueberries in a sitting as a more normal serving of blueberries would be around 120 grams (4.5 oz). In the case of Matcha, the traditional serving size is 2g for a total ORAC value of 2768.
The USDA recommends consuming 5,000 – 7,000 ORAC units on a daily basis. Taking that into consideration, a single serving of Matcha provides over half the recommended amount in just 2 grams.
What This Means for the Average Person:
While the specific benefit antioxidants-rich foods and high ORAC value products give are hotly debated, for those who do wish to increase their antioxidant intake and do so through all natural means, Matcha is the best and most efficient option available on the market.
For our seventh Making Matcha Recipes post, Daniel made one of our most recent new recipes – Chocolate Dipped Matcha Madeleines.
When you’re finished reading this post, we recommend looking over the previous six installments of Making Matcha Recipes: Matcha Krispy Treats, Matcha Chocolate Cottage Cake, Matcha Tofu Ice Cream, and Matcha Chocolate Chip Rice Cookies, and Matcha White Chocolate Salted Caramel Bonbons, and Matcha Hot Chocolate.
Making Matcha Recipes Part VII: Chocolate Dipped Matcha Madeleines
“The first and foremost thing we have to stress is to follow the instructions as closely as possible. I tried making this recipe twice; the first time something went terribly wrong and the resulting “madeleines” were a disaster. Although that sounds bad in writing, it is actually exactly why I like to make our recipes. If something doesn’t work and it isn’t a fun and delicious experience, we at Aiya want to be the first ones to know before our customers have a negative experience. We want our customers to have the confidence that we are providing them not with just a copy and paste recipe from a cookbook. We pride ourselves in being able to offer first hand experience regarding Matcha no matter what way you choose to enjoy it.
Nevertheless, after trying and failing the first time, I did some research into the methods commonly used to make madeleines and then compared it against what I had done. I found some helpful tips and suggestions, went back to the drawing board, tweaked the recipe appropriately, and tried it again. The result of my second attempt was far more delicious than the first and what I was looking for.
As for tips or suggestions, I have three main areas of caution I would like to stress:
- Make sure to really beat the eggs and sugar together well. This step is the foundation from where the light airy nature of the madeleine comes from. I cannot stress enough how important getting those eggs as frothy as possible is.
- Make sure when you fold in the dry ingredients you are as gentile as possible and don’t overmix them. If you accidentally overmix the batter and deflate the eggs, the resulting madeleines will be more cookie-like and less cake-like in texture.
- Make sure to not add too much butter at a time when mixing it in. Take your time, be deliberate, and mix it in little by little. If you add all the butter in at once, the resulting batter will not absorb it properly and instead seem greasy and leech some of the butter fats when baking.
Finally, as you will see in the pictures, I did three flavors of chocolate to dip the madeleines in. I did this first so everyone in our office can try each and have actual feedback on how each pairing tastes as well as what they like about it. Second, I did it to add a Valentine’s Day flair to the pictures – it’s Valentine’s Day afterall!
I hope you enjoy the pictures and the recipe!”
We at Aiya are really pleased to see how popular drinking Matcha continues to be and are even more surprised and excited by the fact that baking with it and making various Matcha recipes have also exponentially increased in popularity. We can safely say that we have seen demand for our Cooking Grade Matcha explode in the past 6 months especially!
If you are interested in trying to make a Matcha recipe and have a blog, we have an all new promotion just for you. Contact us at email@example.com with your blog information and we will provide you with a free samples of our cooking grade Matcha to try out a recipe with!
Once you make your blog post, let us know so we can share it! Remember, the more detailed the better; take lots of pictures!
Over the course of the last 10-15 years organic foodstuff production has been growing along with the consumption and awareness of organic products. The tea industry in particular has seen a surge in consumer demand for organic teas versus traditional teas (aka conventional or “non-organic” teas). In this week’s educational Matcha post we’d like to highlight some of the key ways in which organic Matcha is handled and processed that distinguish it from conventional Matcha. While there are a number of differences that set organic and conventional Matchas apart, the main difference that has the biggest impact on organic Matcha is something very simple – fertilizer. Read on to see some of the biggest differences as well as why fertilizer has such a large impact on Organic Matcha.
Differences in Farming
While organic and conventional Matchas are both physically grown in the same way (you can read more about how Matcha is made here), farmers of organic fields need to adjust their methods to comply with organic regulations; producing high quality Matcha that is also organically certified and in large enough quantities is quite an undertaking. It took our farmers 30 years to perfect their farming practices to make organic Matcha worthy of the name Aiya. In this section we highlight a key difference between growing conventional and organic Matcha - fertilizer regulation.
a. Pesticides and Fertilization
The most basic difference between organic and conventional Matchas is that farmers do not use any pesticides when growing organic Matcha. This is a commonly known and assumed fact. What is lesser known, however, is that in addition to the pesticide usage, the amount and types of fertilizer that are permissible is also highly regulated when cultivating organic Matcha. To qualify for USDA organic certification, one must use an approved organic fertilizer and follow strict guidelines regarding the amount of fertilizer used. For conventional Matchas, the types of fertilizer and pesticides that are approved are also regulated but not nearly as strictly as in the case of organic Matchas.
On its surface, this may sound simple enough – don’t use any pesticides and use only approved organic fertilizers. Without a deterrent, however, pests can overtake an entire crop and ruin years of work. Organic farmers therefore need to employ other, natural methods to keep pests at bay.
b. Tea Field Location
A common tactic used by farmers in the absence of man-made deterrents such as pesticides, is to choose a physical location that will naturally deter pests. Aiya is based in the Nishio region of Japan, which has been a cradle of Matcha production for over 800 years. All of Aiya’s Matchas have always imparted the distinct flavor of Nishio. For that reason, when Aiya first pioneered cultivating organic Matcha in the 1970s, it was imperative to find a suitable location in the same area. That location turned out to be Shimoyama. Just outside of Nishio City proper, Shimoyama was the perfect choice as it is about 2,000 feet above sea level and has a naturally cooler climate than the main city. The cooler climate acts as a natural deterrent to bugs and other pests since few of them can survive the temperature difference. Tea can be grown in Shimoyama with far less concern for pest encroachment on the fields.
Organically certified tea is not just grown under strict regulations. It also has to be handled and packed under strict regulations as well.
Differences in Processing
The whole manufacturing process of storing and grinding organic Tencha followed by packing and labeling is also performed under strict guidelines; the entire facility must have organic certification and follow all industry standards for storage, processing, packing, labeling, shipping, etc in order for the finished product to carry USDA certification.
The most surprising part of the whole process involves labeling. If one were to simply apply a label to a sealed, organic product at a facility that did not have organic certification, the product is no longer allowed to carry USDA organic certification.
Differences in Taste
Differences in the farming and processing of organic Matcha leads to a pretty stark difference in taste when compared to conventional Matcha. Conventional Matcha has a stronger tea flavor than organic and is often said to have a more “robust” or “full-bodied” flavor. Organic Matcha tends to be described as “crisper” or “lighter” in flavor. This tends to be surprising to people as the common consensus is that organic products always taste better than conventional products. The reason behind this draws directly back to the cultivation process of tea.
The Effect of Fertilizer Regulation
Unlike other agricultural products, tea is harvested using the same plant over a span of 25-30 years. In a sense it is like a vineyard where year-in and year-out wineries grow grapes from the same vines. As the type and amount of fertilizer used is strictly regulated for organic Matchas, the tea plant may not fully replenish its nutrients from year-to-year. Due to the fact that they are shade grown, tea plants that produce Tencha in particular are very reliant on soil nutrients. Soil nutrients are primarily provided by fertilizer. By strictly regulating the fertilizer, the tea plants may not get their nutrients replenished fully for the following harvest. This can compound over the years and cause the flavor of organic Matcha to gradually trend to being lighter and crisper while conventional Matcha remains more robust.
The Flavor Verdict
The logical question one might have after reading all this is, “Which is better tasting? Conventional or organic?” Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer because everyone’s tastes are different and “better tasting” is very subjective. Some find a strong, robust green tea flavor to be off putting and prefer the more subtle notes of an organic Matcha. Then there are others who seek out and appreciate the strong, robust green tea flavor of a conventional Matcha. It really depends on the taste buds of the subject and how strong you like your tea flavor.