"I just saw this powdered "tea" and wonder what it's all about...I saw some that was called "ceremonial" and it said that it was in use since the 9th century and was a good favorited morning tea. However, that doesn't tell me how it tastes. Does the Whistling Kettle offer this tea to try out? I'd love to try it, since love teas and know that "green teas" (as I assume this is) are very good for you. Can you let me know a little more about the taste; whether I can try it at the Whistling Kettle and why is it in powdered form rather than as loose tea leafs?"
Traditional Matcha comes from the Gyrokuro tea leaf. This is a high end tea that is shaded which increases the chlorophyll content and gives the tea it's traditional dark green color. So if you wanted a sneak peak at the taste of traditional matcha, start by trying a pot of Gyrokuro. It's best described as sweet with an intense grassy, vegetal flavor. Our Izu matcha is the standard grade matcha I would suggest trying.
Matcha is produced from the deveined leaves of Gyrokuro plants. They are then slowly ground with granite wheels. So what you wind up with is a finely powedered, concentrated version of tea. All the aspects of the tea are intensified - which means more caffiene, more anti-oxidants and more flavor. Think of it as the espresso of tea.
There are other versions of Matcha. Samurai matcha for example, uses more select leaves. For an enthusiast, this "ceremonial grade" matcha is top notch. Once you acquire the taste for matcha you'll appreciate it. Green Pearl Drop uses a Chinese green tea rather than the Japanese. You get a more astringent flavor, with slighly less vegetal notes because the tea isn't shaded. The White Rhino matcha uses Kenyan White tea - same concept as regular matcha, just a different tea.
Matcha can also be used in cooking - ice cream, smoothies, bread, cookies and cakes.
Based on your request - we are responding to a few things that might help. First, we will offer samples of matcha. This way you can try all the varieties out before having to drop more $$$ to find out which one you like. Second, we are officially launching our flavored Matcha line. To start - we will be offering Caramel matcha. This make a GREAT entry level matcha. Natural caramel flavors blend thoroughly making it a wonderful taste experience. We'll be offering many more flavors in the months to come.
We have an article posted with some additional information including a video on basic brewing techniques.