In Japan, there have been proverbs since ancient times such as "asacha brings more good fortune" and "asacha is a way to escape the difficulties of the day," and drinking tea in the morning has been considered good for the body and a good omen. These are words that I learned after I started asacha and they became strangely clear to me.

"Asacha" refers to the tea drunk in the morning, and the custom of drinking tea in the morning. The tea we drink in the morning can be sencha, hojicha, or any other tea, but I have recently started drinking matcha tea in the morning as a habit. Various studies have been conducted on the effects of matcha on the body and mind. According to the "Matcha and Health Research" published in 2022 by the Matcha and Health Research, matcha contains more components called "theanine" and "catechins" than sencha. Theanine relaxes the body and mind and makes one feel calm, while catechins are expected to suppress the rise in blood sugar levels, enhance immunity, and prevent aging and disease. Caffeine has a stimulant effect and relieves fatigue, so drinking it first thing after waking up helps you wake up refreshed, and these three are considered to be typical ingredients good for asacha.

I think the health benefits of matcha, not to mention the Japanese cultural aspect, are the reasons why it has become so popular and well-liked around the world in recent years. Matcha may sound intimidating, but all you need is matcha powder, a matcha bowl, a chasen, and a chashaku, and you are ready to go. If you do not have a bowl of matcha at home, you can use a bowl of similar size and a spoon for the tea scoop. There is a way to drink matcha that even beginners can enjoy easily and deliciously, as taught by a Japanese tea instructor.

First, boil water, pour it into a matcha bowl, wait a little, pour it out and warm the bowl, and then add about 2 cups of matcha from a tea scoop. After that, add water equivalent to about 1 cup of the lid of a PET bottle, and knead well with a tea whisk. Kneading matcha with water before adding hot water prevents lumps from forming without sifting the matcha, and at the same time increases theanine, the umami component of tea, rather than the bitter catechins contained in tea, resulting in a sweet and umami taste. After kneading, pour in an appropriate amount of hot water, and with a snap of the wrist, mix it up and down with a tea whisk, and finally, write the character "no" gently on the surface of the matcha with the tea whisk to remove any large bubbles.

After eating something sweet if you have something at home, wrap the matcha bowl with both hands and enjoy matcha slowly. This time has recently become a ritual for me to start my day with a good feeling. Although it only takes a few minutes, the beautiful green of the matcha, the sequence of making and drinking the tea, and the enjoyment of finding sweets and utensils add color to my daily life. Asacha can be enjoyed at any age. As we are almost at the halfway point of this year, I would like to introduce a good habit I started this year.

Susumuya's Matcha Set
Matcha and Health Research