Kyoto, Japan Feb. 28 Wed 12:41PM
Matcha. This may be one of the most popular foods in Kyoto, and has been in Kyoto and Japan for a very long time. Green tea has become popular in the United States in the last decade and matcha catching up in the last few years, but did you know that green tea and matcha are different? To be a little more specific, although they are made from the same leaves, the term “Green tea” commonly refers to the “loose-leaf” variety, made by putting hot water with tea bags or through kyusu (tea pot), whereas matcha is a finely milled green tea leaves. The traditional way of seeing matcha in Japan is as something that is used in tea ceremonies in Japan, and has its influences from traditional Chinese tea ceremonies.
The city of Uji in Kyoto is especially known for their matcha and green tea, and many travelers enjoy experiencing tea ceremonies here. Getting Uji matcha has more prestige than other matchas as the quality is said to be top-notch.
In Kyoto, you can enjoy varieties of different matcha foods.
During the summer, matcha "soft cream" (Soft-serve) is very popular, along with matcha ice creams. Ice creams and soft cream have different textures, and in general, soft creams has a richer taste of milk and is creamier compared to classic ice creams. Soft-serves in particular are popular and can easily be found on the streets of Kyoto in various shops and restaurants.
You can enjoy some hot tea with some desserts as well like roll cakes with delicious cream and red bean paste.
Head into a more traditional tea house or Japanese dessert place for some matcha warabi-mochi. For those that enjoy mochi, this is a must! It often has red bean paste inside as well, as the flavor of green tea is often thought to perfectly pair with red bean.
And of course, the classic matcha. The only non-sweet dish above is the classic matcha, which does not have any sugar. If you would like to have something sweet to drink, many of the cafés offer matcha lattes and iced-matcha which usually come sweetened.
Something to note is that classic matcha usually comes lukewarm, not boiling hot. It is said that keeping it at that temperature is said to bring out the best flavors so you can truly enjoy the matcha itself. If you have never tried classic matcha, Kyoto would be a great place to try it!