Tea or coffee? Endlessly debated and sometimes, unfairly, pitted against each other. We love both! But to get a closer look at some of the key differences between the two beverages, here to help is our very own Tricia Lu in an original web comic series by Stacy Redhead.
It is at once for beginners and not for beginners. Every tea drinker should have one. Maybe it’s an alluring rite of passage that we so eagerly seek it as tea people. It is the quintessential vessel of “the artless art.” Compared to collectors’ tea bowls and unglazed clay teapots, the gaiwan is a pedestrian and everyman implement. It relies neither on rarefied clays, nor a venerable kiln—it is, simply and strikingly, itself.
Translating to “mortar/grind tea,” the later steps its destined for, tencha is the finished-unfinished product of growing, cultivating, and harvesting. If you’re keen on your high-end Japanese teas, its cultivation is the same as gyokuro, the forest green, shade-grown tea, and shincha, the hand-picked first flush harvest.
Matcha, the bright, near-neon Japanese powdered tea now ubiquitous in cafes, restaurants, and grocery stores, has skyrocketed to the mainstream. Popularized as a powerhouse health supplement, we’re happy to see matcha is beginning to be appreciated for its taste and tradition. Though matcha does blend well into lattes, candy, and even soba noodles, let’s take a look at this unique tea and its place in tea history.