Kaitlin and her blog, The Garden Grazer, caught my attention initially from her love of matcha green tea. Encha organic matcha, to be exact (one of my favourites!). The Garden Grazer is a blog filled with delicious plant-based recipes everyone would love. Aside from the colourful meals, what stood out when I visited Kaitlin’s blog for the first time was that she actually has an entire section devoted to matcha where she shows extensive knowledge for the beverage. While she does have a few matcha recipes, she’s more likely to be found preparing and drinking ceremonial matcha the traditional way. Connecting with Kaitlin over a virtual bowl of matcha was such a treat! At the tea table we discussed her matcha rituals, tips for matcha beginners and much more.
The kettle is on and I can hear it about to sing. What tea are you going to steep for us today?
Let’s grab our bowls and whisk up some matcha!
Delicious choice! As I am sipping on my bowl of ceremonial matcha I imagine it was not the first tea you have ever tried. What is one of your earliest memories with tea?
I can’t recall how old I was, but I’ve always been partial to green tea. I remember jasmine green tea was the one that really got me hooked. I couldn’t believe the aroma! So delicate and sweet, it felt so happy and uplifting – like a cup of summer sunshine It was also the first time I started thinking about the process of tea; where it came from, how it was grown, etc. I loved the feeling of becoming more connected with nature through the simple joy of a cup of tea. It definitely inspired me to want to learn more about it.
A cup of summer sunhine is such a lovely way to describe it! It’s quite evident from The Garden Grazer’s social channels that matcha green tea is a tea you drink most often today. What does matcha mean to you?
To me, matcha represents love and health. I whisk a bowl of organic matcha every morning to feel the zenergy (a calm, focused energy that’s unique to matcha which I LOVE) and also to nourish my body with the long-term health benefits which are pretty numerous. I feel it’s truly good and healthy for my all around well-being; both physically and mentally.
On a larger scale, I especially enjoy thinking about the connection of people from all over the world, working together to make this moment of tea happen. It’s quite magical, really. The farmers in Japan who work so hard growing/tending to their crops; the bowl maker who shares their passion of beautiful pottery; and of course the matcha company who joins all the pieces together to bring it to tea lovers around the world.
For me, matcha was a slow journey. I didn’t enjoy it much at first, but didn’t give up on it. I later realized it was the matcha I was drinking that was low quality and when I started to learn more about higher grades, I became addicted. Did you have a similar experience?
Definitely. At first I assumed all matcha was created equal – very much not the case. Quality is everything with matcha! Like you, I started with an okay quality for a while, but my passion totally flourished when I discovered Encha and founder Dr. Li Gong through Instagram. Without a doubt, I have him to thank for my matcha passion and knowledge. His enthusiasm for quality, organic matcha is contagious!
Dr. Li Gong has definitely played a big role in my love for matcha as well! Thanks to him I started to view matcha differently. How have your early thoughts on matcha changed today?
Matcha started as a fun new drink to try, and quickly became an essential part of my daily routine. It represents so much more than just a tea! For anyone looking to get started, just go for it and be sure you have good quality organic matcha! I think you’ll start to feel the effects branch out to almost every aspect of your life. It’s a learning process like anything, but so much FUN and incredibly versatile! (You can try it as pure tea, lattes, smoothies, etc. to find your favorite taste/way of preparing.) Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
Great tips! Matcha can seem a bit intimidating at first, but once you have a matcha you love, you’re set! Before you begin your matcha sessions, do you have any rituals?
I always start with a little breakfast. Then grab my favorite black matcha bowl, measure the powder, heat the water, and whisk away! Before my first sip, I cup the bowl with two hands, feeling it’s warmth, smelling the sweet aroma, and taking a moment of grateful reflection as I start the day.
Black, Green, Yellow, White, Oolong or Puerh?
Hot, Iced or Cold?
Hot (and once in a while iced in the summer – so refreshing!)
Teapot, Infuser or Gaiwan?
Straight, Sweetened or Latte?
Cheese or Chocolate pairing?
Can I be a rebel and say fruit? 😉
Choose one person, living or passed, celebrity or family, that you would love to whisk and share a bowl of matcha with.
To sit down and share tea with my grandma who passed away 4 years ago would be an immeasurable joy. She was the most lovely lady I ever knew, and led by perfect example on how to live with a kind, compassionate heart. (She was a coffee drinker, so it would be fun to introduce her to matcha and get her thoughts on it)