Wednesday, June 10, 2015

FARMACY: MIZUBA MATCHA GREEN TEA + TART



I deeply believe that the energy of makers are infused into their products. Anything we touch, create, or make absorbs traces of our energetic field. Food cooked when sad, angry, or in an otherwise depressed state will recompose the elements of the food into a similar energetic form. A meal prepared by a mother's hands simmers in love . . .

I experience this with all the products that I cover in makers + movers—the love infused into their products result in a vibrational shift towards a higher state of love towards myself. I adamantly believe this, and YOKE's Tamara Jones's process of creation is evident of this. It is also palpable through the palate with Lauren Danson's work. I was enamoured with her line when I first came across it on Tea Bar's instagram all the way back in February + knew I had to feature not only her wisdom on matcha tea but her line boasting with female entrepreneurial power. I get high off of not only the surge of potent ORAC antioxidants of her Mizuba matcha tea but the slivers of her excitement laced into her green tea. House organic matcha steamed into a warm froth with creamy coconut milk, mornings are still a dream . . .

Coconut matcha tart recipe after the jump that is nut-free, autoimmune-friendly, + accommodating of any allergy besides coconuts . . .

LAUREN DANSON, MIZUBA TEA |portland, or

Q: Tell us a little about yourself + how you entered into the world of tea.
Hey there! I’m Lauren, and I currently drink lots of tea and run around Portland, OR with my sweet husband. I’ve been in love with tea for quite some time now; my mom first gave me a cup of Constant Comment by Bigelow every morning before middle school. But, having grown up around a food and wine culture, I began tasting food critically. Over time, I found myself enamored with how tea elicits so many different experiences! I started collecting tea from around the world in high school, and learning all I could about it became quite a hobby. In college, I hosted some serious tea parties…and in my senior year traveled to Japan (not for tea, just to visit a friend)! But, I met a tea farmer in Uji, Japan and the rest is history. 


Q: What are some of the potent benefits of Matcha green tea? What makes it so unique compared to other teas and even regular green tea?
Goodness, it’s quite remarkable. I came into Matcha just purely based on the relationships I made and the flavor I loved, but I can’t deny that it’s so wonderfully good for you, too! There was just a report that came out, citing that Matcha's antioxidants are measured on the ORAC scale (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) with values like 24 for blueberries and 18 for kale. A gram of matcha scores 1384 ORAC units…! That’s astounding. Let’s look at how this happens: Matcha is one of the only teas that is shade-grown – covers are put over the plants, which inhibit their access to the sun, preventing photosynthesis. As the plants try to photosynthesize, they concentrate all their nutrients in the leaves. This gives forth extremely concentrated amounts of chlorophyll (said to be a fantastic blood-oxygenator, promoting good circulation and anti-inflammatory), Catechins (the antioxidants mentioned above), amino acids (most notably L-theanine, which binds with caffeine to not let you spike or jitter!), and vitamins a and c. Furthermore, the leaves are then stone-ground into a fine green powder. Therefore, the drinker gets 100% of the nutritional content, as opposed to steeping leaves and only receiving a fraction of the nutrients! Awesome.

Q: Where do you source your tea from? Tell us about the process + the importance of sustainability, quality, + direct trade.
I personally source my teas from my farmer in Uji, Japan. Uji is the region world-renowned for begin the birth place of the Japanese tea industry, as well as the birthplace of the iconic Tea Ceremony. The farmer I met runs his family’s 100-year old Matcha operation, and I visit annually to be on the ground for harvest season! These relationships are SO important - I know where my tea is coming from, and my farmer knows exactly how it’s handled and presented- we want to do justice to his amazing craft, and therefore we take care in learning about the entirety of Matcha (from plant to cup), in order to bring you the best quality we can.

Q: Tell us about your line + the difference amongst the variety of Matcha you offer.
We carry four different drinking grades of Mizuba, and 1 high-grade culinary Matcha. Like wine, coffee, or chocolate, tea is grown from a plant that is affected by its environment (terrior). Different growing environments result in different flavor profiles. So, based on the age of the tea plants we harvest from, you’ll get completely different experiences! Our ceremonial grades (Kichoen and Hibiki Organic) are harvested from plants that are 30+ years and older (the Hibiki we only harvest once a year). The House Organic and Daily are younger plants, but based on other variables like climate, elevation, etc, vary. For example, our House Organic is our most umami-forward tea, slightly marine, and brisk. Our Daily is super smooth, vegetal, with hints of sweet toasted vanilla on the finish. Our high-grade culinary is incredible in lattes, smoothies, salad dressings, hummus, cookies…you name it!

Q: What is your favorite way to prepare Matcha tea? Do you have a ritual for making + consuming your tea?
Oh goodness. Really depends on the day, but of course there’s nothing quite like admiring the perfect froth you just whisked up with the traditional bamboo chasen (tea whisk). My husband actually loves shaking it up in a mason jar, and then mid-morning I usually love a almond-milk latte.

Q: Words of wisdom to sip on . . . You are a young female entrepreneur. What is something you’d tell another young woman envisioning beginning their own business?
When something seems extraordinarily difficult - just do it. Don’t turn down that meeting with a company that seems "out of your league” because you’re young and new - be confident, even if it feels like that’s the last thing you can be. Be a phone person. Call more often than you e-mail. Work with people’s needs, and flexible when you can. TRULY enjoy what you do - don’t do something simply because it’s lucrative. If you’re excited about something, I’m sure you’ll be able to get others excited about it too! Just a few things to sip on… :)


COCONUT MATCHA + PINE POLLEN TART | aip / paleo / vegan /raw 
crust
1 1/2 tablespoons raw organic coconut oil
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon homemade coconut milk
2 teaspoons maple or coconut sugar
1/4 teaspoon quantum salt

filling
l teaspoon homemade coconut milk
2 teaspoons maple or coconut sugar | optional, for a sweeter version
2 tablespoons raw organic coconut butter
1/2 banana
1/2 teaspoon Sun Potion pine pollen
1/2 teaspoon organic matcha

directions | This is an incredibly easy little tart! Mix the crust ingredients, making sure that the coconut oil + milk are at room temperature. It may look crumbly but incorporate the ingredients into a dough as much as you can before moulding it into a small pie pan. You can also mould it by hand into a rustic shape like I had to when I realised that my pan was nowhere to be found . . . Chill the crust while you invite the filling ingredients into a quick dance with the food processor. Pour into the chilled crust + chill in the freezer again until it hardens, which will be around half an hour or so. Take it out out the freezer + for a twirl once the time is up!