Look what came in the mail for me today.
How cute is that? It’s right up there along with giggling infants, dimples, Mini Coopers and baby pandas.
It was sent by Melbourne-based Kenko Tea, a premium matcha online retailer. I’d used matcha in a past post whereby I concocted a raw vanilla cheesecake using a mung bean crust. However only a dusting of matcha was used – it was not the centre of attention.
I did a lil more digging around and discovered there’s matcha.. and there’s MATCHA. Let me explain. Like any fruit or vegetable, the more vibrant the colour = the more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants it contains. Makes sense. Who’d want a light mauve eggplant over one a fetching deep shade of royal purple?
I took the photos below to illustrate the varying grades of this wonder powder.
Yeah, this is mine… all mine. Note the intensity of the hue. And the smell when I popped open the container was just wow. Pure freshness in a can. Eau de fresh!
Yeah, the above pic is not my matcha obviously.
I was keen to do two things: brew myself a well-earned cuppa matcha. Check. Experiment with Kenko Tea’s premium matcha in the kitchen. A ha…
This is what transpired.
Raw Magic Matcha Macaroons
2 tbs matcha green tea powder
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup dried coconut
3-4 tbs tahini
3-4 tbs cup agave
¼ tsp sea salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
Optional: carob nibs, orange zest
Food process the coconut and sunflower seeds first until they resemble breadcrumbs. Food process everything else and shape into cute macaroon-esque balls. Done. Haha, short and sweet right.
If it’s too dry, gradually add more tahini, vanilla extract or agave. Conversely, if you went overboard on the liquid, add more dried coconut bit by bit. I had carob nibs in the pantry so threw them in there for an extra crunch factor.
Shape into macaroons and pop in the freezer for 5 minutes.
I was interested to find out more about the Man behind the Matcha. This is what I discovered….
Sam James, 27, has called the kitchen a second home ever since embarking on a chef apprenticeship at the age of 16. He works on Kenko Tea during the day before working the evening shift at a Melbourne restaurant.
Kenko Tea creatively fuses together his passions for quality ingredients, health and funky packaging.
Why did you start Kenko Tea?
I decided to start my own project as after living in Melbourne CBD for the last few years, I’d noticed the specialty coffee culture in Melbourne explode. I’ve always had an eye for food trends and first came across matcha online when researching its health benefits and high levels of antioxidants.
I couldn’t find any GOOD matcha in Melbourne. I read about matcha being an amazing, sweet, fresh and bright green super tea that whisks up a layer of crema. The ones I tasted were horrible unless mixed with loads of sugar and milk. So that’s why I started Kenko Tea, to bring high grade matcha to Australia.
What prompted you on the health and wellness path?
I’ve had a growing interest in nutrition, food and health for a few years now. I was miserable in my early 20’s – the lifestyle that comes with working in kitchens is characterised by long hours, high stress, bad diet, no social life.
I started searching for healthier ways to manage stress. This led me down all sorts of paths – meditation, yoga, martial arts, gym, cutting out sugar/processed foods etc. These days I notice straight away if I haven’t exercised for a few days or go back to eating junk. I am still learning what works best for me.
Why the interest in matcha?
Besides the health benefits, it was the intense colour that appealed to me. It was something new and exciting, an ingredient I’d never experimented with. It’s incredibly versatile – to drink on its own as a tea, made into a green smoothie, or added to desserts and sweets.
The history behind matcha is fascinating. It was used by samurai and Zen monks for meditation and the stone grinding production methods are the same methods they’ve used for centuries. The more I learn about matcha, the more I Iove it.
How matcha benefits me:
Matcha makes me feel energized, refreshed, alert and focused without the jittery or wired feeling of coffee. Matcha’s high levels of L-theanine which when combined with caffeine, delivers caffeine to the bloodstream over a longer period, so you feel calm and alert for 4-6 hours without coffee’s massive ups and downs. I receive emails constantly from customers saying exactly this regarding their energy levels.
Describe a typical day for you:
Wake up 9am, make a matcha smoothie, check emails, pack any orders and go to post office, check emails, write more content for my website, experiment with matcha recipes, send out any more orders before post office shuts. Then I head to work.
If you don’t design your own life someone else will happily do it for you.
The Kenko Tea Co in 5 years’ time:
Matcha is the superfood of superfoods. It’s the next gojiberry, acai berry, maca, cacao and spirulina all rolled into one. Kenko Tea will be the number one source of high grade, artisanal matcha green tea in Australia, and the world.