I recently acquired a new drinking ritual. No, it does not involve alcohol but I know some of you wouldn't mind if it did.
I first heard of matcha from my small chats with a barrista at a Peet's. Matcha is a powdered green tea used in tea ceremonies, and as a flavoring in ice creams and other sweets. You have probably seen its instant, liquid concentrate version at a local coffee chain. For a newbie matcha drinker, I am more interested in the pure, powdered form.
Luckily, I was able to find some for sale in Lupicia at the San Francisco Center so I didn't have to go to a Japanese specialty store. I was told it comes in two types - thick and thin. I don't remember which one I took but it must be the one that costs less. :) Now I can enjoy the rich, creamy flavor of matcha at home. Although I must admit I need more practice in whisking the tea to create the foamy consistency typical in tea ceremonies and also to reduce the bitter green clumps in the blend.
Here's a recipe of Matcha Latte which I found online.
o Add about 1/4-13 teaspoon good quality matcha to a mug
o Add 1 or 2 teaspoons sugar or 1 or 2 packets of your favorite sweetener
o Add heated or steamed milk to the rim, stir
o Sprinkle with light coating of matcha
o Alternative - heat in microwave for approx. 2 mins, watching very carefully for the first sign of foaming, the remove)
This is like bringing tea drinking to a higher level and making me a more serious tea drinker.
(A picture of properly whisked matcha tea)