From Nektar Cafe in Quebec City
“Matcha (抹茶?, pronounced [mat.tɕa][n 1]) is finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea” – From wikipedia
I have some distinct memories of Matcha:
1) The first time I learned about tea in a traditional tearoom was at Urasenke in New York. I remember being focused, my legs hurting after sitting on them on the tatami mats, being in awe at the significance of every movement from opening the sliding doors to walking eloquently in our white socks and last but not least, realizing I did not have the wrist strength to make foamy Matcha that was smooth- we were all using the same powder, water and utensils but it takes inner strength and good wrist movements to make good Matcha. My tea was good but it could be better.
2) We had high quality Matcha last year at Ippodo (one of the oldest tea shops in Japan) in Kyoto which tasted very rich with the consistency of mud. I was so eager to finish; my normal self of taking one million photographs of everything receded in the background and I was left with only my mental image of this memory.
3) When I went to Nektar Cafe which is in Quebec City, I had ordered a Matcha latte and was pleasantly surprised to find two stenciled hearts. It probably didn’t take much to make them but it was artistic and on top of it, the matcha tasted good; it was smooth and not too sweet.
4) The first time I went to Japan society was in high school; the curator asked us, “Which do you think costs more, green tea leaves or green tea powder?” The answer was green tea powder (matcha). I thought green tea leaves costed more before she told us the answer.
5) I made really bad green tea at a Ryokan in Japan by putting two tea bags in one tea pot; It was really awful and bitter (not matcha related but I felt bad about it; I had good intentions- afraid the tea would be too weak- but no reason could justify that awful tea).
Matcha is not easy to make. It is really an art. It makes me think of the practice I lack from Urasenke, the moment I didn’t try to enjoy high quality matcha in Kyoto, the low expectations I had at a place I thought didn’t appreciate Matcha, my wrong answer at Japan society, and a bad decision to do things before I even consider all the options just because I thought it would make things better.
I am thinking about matcha because I am thinking of a coworker who I am not well acquainted with; he got into an accident on Tuesday. I thought of how a change of event by a millimeter at that time could have changed his situation. If he hadn’t gone jogging at that exact hour, maybe that accident wouldn’t happen.
If we don’t reflect on the small things, we can’t see the big things. If we don’t reflect, how can we learn and grow? Next time, maybe our matcha would taste better and we would enjoy it more. Maybe we can’t master the art of matcha; but we can still try- the chance is here now- at this present moment.