Matcha: 800 years of history, culture, and wisdom in a neat little can

Friday, November 14th, 2014 by


It only took us 8 centuries, but Coffee Bean Direct is proud to say, “we finally carry matcha!”

Famous for being the only tea used in the formal Japanese Tea Ceremony known as chado or “the way of tea,” matcha is stone ground green tea powder. Only the highest quality shade grown green tea is used. The soft and supple leaves at the top of the tea plant are picked by hand then processed to remove the veins, stems, and impurities. The result, known as tencha, is stone ground into a fine powder. Over-grinding can give matcha a burnt taste, so the process must be done very slowly and with great care. It takes about 1 hour to produce 1 ounce.

Matcha’s origins began in China, but the tea took on a whole new life in Japan where it was forever tied to Zen spirituality. A Japanese monk named Eisai brought the tea to Japan in 1191 AD after studying Buddhism in China. Eisai is credited with spreading both green tea and Zen teachings throughout Japan. In the 1500s Zen monks in Japan turned making matcha tea into the ritual of chado. Today, matcha is such a large part of Japanese culture that only about 4% is exported out of the country.

But what does it taste like!?

Matcha has a flavor that is uniquely distinct from all other green teas. While many green teas are vegetal or grassy, matcha is savory. The frothy green tea is smooth, creamy, and delicious. In general, matcha is historically famous for its bitter flavor and is often served with a small piece of candy to counteract the taste. However Yame Matcha, a high grade of premium matcha, has absolutely no bitterness or astringency at all, instead it is subtly sweet, with a soft creamy mouth feel.

Yame Matcha earns its amazing flavor and qualities from the garden in which it is grown. Yame is located in the southern part of the Fukuoka prefecture on Kyushu Island in Japan. Japanese lovers of green tea know of Yame’s long tea history; warm in the day, cold at night, with just the right amount of rainfall to make ideal growing conditions for cultivating the highest quality of green tea. The area is famous for growing teas that are both sweet and rich. Yame is famous for producing award winning teas time and time again. Each year the highest quality matcha and Gyokuro teas come from Yame. This very matcha was first runner up at the 2010 World Tea Expo.

This sweeter tasting matcha has become very popular in both Japan and America. Matcha is used to make green tea ice cream and in Japan many sweets are flavored with matcha, including famous brands like Pocky and Nestle Kit Kat bars. In America, matcha is very often used in baked goods, green tea lattes, and frozen drinks (check out our recipe for matcha sugar cookies). 

How do you prepare Matcha?

Matcha is meant to be served frothy, with a nice foamy head. The beauty of matcha is that you can make it instantly—no tea bags or steep times. Simply add a small amount of the powder to hot or cold water. The only “rule” is to not use boiling water (about 175° Fahrenheit will suffice). Matcha can be enjoyed thin or thick, ranging from 1/3 of a teaspoon to 2 heaping teaspoons for 3 ounces of hot water. 1 gram of tea in a 16-oz bottle of water will make a perfect light, creamy tea.

Traditionally matcha is whisked to perfection during the tea ceremony. Many people will use a small, battery powered milk frother. Around the office at Tattle Tea, you will frequently see people dropping a small amount of matcha into a bottle or air-tight thermos and then shaking vigorously (PLEASE make sure your lid is screwed on nice and tight and your thermos will not leak before you begin shaking scalding hot liquid!)

Matcha 1

The Japanese Tea Ceremony is deliberately slow and drawn out. The purpose is to force you to stop and appreciate the beauty in simple things, like a perfect cup of hot tea. Truly, there is something special about creating the perfect cup of matcha—you experience something subtle yet sublime.

Unfortunately most Americans do not have time to “stop and smell the roses.” This is sad, because with our hectic schedules, we could really benefit from a slow-down every now and again. Luckily, every tiny grain of matcha powder is infused with 800 years of wisdom and enlightenment. Whether you make your matcha on-the-go, or have time to sit, relax, and see the beauty in the mundane, it can still be a Zen experience. Whisked, stirred or shaken, each sip will bring you bliss.

Fall Preview

Friday, August 15th, 2014 by

If you’re having the summer of your life and the early arrival of Halloween decorations at stores everywhere seems rude, stop reading. Enjoy the pool, we’ll see you in a few weeks.

If however, you agree that fall is the most delicious time of the year, get ready! All of your favorite fall flavors will be returning to our site soon along with new creations like Pumpkin Roll coffee (see below). Excited? Well, the truth is they’re already here. You can have them. They never really left. All of our seasonal flavors are available year-round by phone. You can have your Autumn Harvest flavored coffee, or your Candy Cane, or your Chocolate Bunny, any time you please. Give us a call.

Pumpkin Roll

Pumpkin roll: gooey pumpkin spice cake with cream cheese filling. Coming to your coffee cup.

Waiting for fall? Tell us your favorite flavors of the season, coffee & tea related or not!

What’s New for June

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014 by

June is a beautiful month, especially the June I fantasize about in February, which does not include hay fever. That is a surprise every year. This June is extra-special because it marks our tenth anniversary. Ten years of roasting, blending, and creating some of the most unique flavors out there! We’re celebrating with cake, and not the ten year old frozen kind. Some of our featured flavors in June:


Strawberry Shortcake


Red Velvet Cake

If you’re a tea drinker too, celebrate the warm weather with a pitcher of Blueberry Lemon Cake iced tea (it’s great hot too).


Blueberry Lemon Cake Rooibos

Usually our customers fall into one of two categories: flavored coffee lovers and flavored coffee haters.  Lucky for you, we try to have something truly special each month for our customers in both camps. For you flavor haters (aka coffee purists,) our brand new anniversary blend is a mix of some of our all-time favorite coffees, or if you’re looking to try something new, give our smoked coffees a try. Smoked the old fashioned way, it is truly in a class of its own. In addition to our original smoked coffee blend, we’re also offering a new, slightly more mellow blend, Cafe Fume.

Although we’re thrilled that purists love the subtle smoke flavor, we also know that our flavor lovers might need something extra to keep their taste buds interested.  For these wild men and women, we’ve made Campfire S’more smoked coffee, Vanilla Bourbon Smoked Coffee, and flavor favorite Maple Bacon smoked coffee.

A decade of playing with coffee and flavor has produced some weird and delicious cult favorites (Jamaican Me Groggy, Zombie Cure, etc). Because we now have over four hundred flavors and we can’t stop experimenting, we regularly change what we offer on our site. Never fear. We can make just about any of your favorite flavors or blends for you year-round. Just call and ask!

Tea Sangria

Thursday, April 17th, 2014 by

You may have seen our new tea and wine infusion kit, featuring our Mist iced tea jug designed for cold-steeping, and three single-serve packs of Love Struck Rooibos herbal tea. Essentially, we took the two best things to flow from a pitcher, mixed them together, and they were both better for it. The right tea really can enhance an inexpensive bottle of wine. Think of it as a kind of sangria, using a spiced, slightly sweet herbal tea instead of fruit and brandy. The kit eliminates guesswork (and mess). Just empty one pre-measured pack of tea into the jug, fill with wine (we recommend Pinot Grigio), and chill overnight. The Mist jug has a screen in the spout that strains the tea for you. When it’s ready, pour the infusion into a glass and enjoy. We really hope you appreciate the amount of office drinking that went into getting this recipe just right.

Delicious as it is used as prescribed, you can have some fun experimenting with this kit too, and we have. We were  interested in a more traditional fruit sangria variation and after trying different wine-tea-fruit combinations, these two were declared the winners. For both recipes, we started with the chilled tea-infused wine. After pouring the infusion out and returning it to the pitcher to strain the tea leaves, we added fruit and let things sit overnight before serving.

Sangria #1: Peach and Mango Lovestruck Rooibos

Lovestruck Rooibos is the tea we include with the infusion kit. An herbal tea blend with hibiscus, ginger, and citrus peel, the Lovestruck pairs well with many wines and adds a beautiful red color. This time around we tried it with a dry Riesling. The fruity sweetness of the Riesling and ginger-y spice from the tea worked great for this fruit combination. Peach liquor might be a nice addition for a little added sweetness.


Sangria #2: Blueberry Basil Lavender Lemonade

Lavender Lemonade is one of new spring teas flavored without anything artificial, just lavender, lemon myrtle, hibiscus, and marigold petals. It’s spectacularly flavorful.  For our second sangria experiment we infused a bottle of Gruner Veltliner with seven teaspoons of tea. We added basil leaves and frozen blueberries, which turned the infusion a lovely purplish red. The lemon-basil-lavender flavor combination was dangerously delicious and refreshing. Try it with your favorite dry white wine or add fresh mint and blueberries for a variation on the theme.


Pairing teas and wines with fruit is a fun game we plan on playing all summer long. Have an idea for a combination? Share it — we’d be happy to give it a try and report back!

What’s Really In Our Teas? Your Questions Answered

Friday, April 4th, 2014 by

Tea drinking has been linked to a multitude of benefits, from weight loss and improved digestion, to mental clarity and sparkling charisma (I made up that last one but looking around at our staff, it might be true). While we make no specific health claims about our teas, we are certainly encouraged to keep drinking. Our consumption levels around the office are completely out of hand, so I have our customers to thank for having some idea of how much tea the average consumer enjoys on a daily basis. And the answer is usually multiple cups. You all might not drink as much as we do, but you drink a lot. With anything you’re consuming a lot of (especially for health reasons,) it’s generally a good idea to know the ingredients involved and how they’re grown. So, here are some answers to your frequently asked tea questions, and a few new teas (with no artificial ingredients) to try!

Maple Bacon ChaiHow safe are your teas?
Teas cannot be imported without meeting the FDA’s standards. All of our teas are tested for pesticides, allergens, biological contamination, mold and moisture and we keep certificates of analysis on file for each tea. This certification does not provide the specific amount of residue that may or may not have been found in the tea, it simply states that the tea meets the federal government’s requirements for safe consumption. As mentioned earlier, we drink MANY cups a day and stand by the quality and safety of our teas.

Are any of your teas organically grown?
Our facility is in the process of receiving organic certification from the NJDA. Once this process is complete we will be able to label our organically grown products as such and look forward to expanding our line-up of organic teas. Below is a list of the teas we currently offer that are grown organically:

Assam Tonganagaon GFBOP Black Tea
Golden Nepal Black Tea
Pu-Erh Tea
CO2 Decaf Green Tea
Mao Jian Green Tea
Sencha Zhejiang Green Tea
West Lake Dragonwell Lung Ching Green Tea
Bai Mu Dan White Tea
Honeybush Herbal Tea
Hibiscus C/S
Yerba Mate Select Herbal Tea

Do you carry any teas with no artificial flavor or additives?
Yes! The ingredients list for most of our teas is quite simple – one ingredient each. For example, Assam black tea is simply Assam tea from India and Young Hyson green tea is Young Hyson green tea from China. There are no chemicals, flavors, preservatives or other additives. What about our flavored teas? Many of our teas are flavored with natural and artificial ingredients, all of which are FDA approved. While all are considered safe for consumption, we understand that some people choose to avoid these ingredients and so we make it a point to always offer a wide selection of teas with no additives as well. And while we have a good time concocting mad-scientist worthy flavor combinations like Maple Bacon Chai or Blueberry Lemon Cake Rooibos, we know tea purists like to have some fun too. That’s why we have some new teas for spring creatively flavored with herbs, spices, fruit pieces, and no artificial anything. We’re very proud of the results! Here they are with their ingredients:

Barefoot in the Woods: Sencha, Green Rooibos, elderberry, lemongrass, cardamom pods, cracked star anise

Lavender Lemonade: lemon myrtle, hibiscus, lavender, marigold petals

Spring Blossom: Mao Jian Green Tea, blackberry leaves, freeze-dried cherry pieces, dried cherry whole, barberry fruit, hibiscus, rose hips, rose petals

Peppermint Rose: peppermint, rose petals, rose hips, lemon verbena, hibiscus, orange pekoe

We’ve been getting a lot of these questions lately in response to a recent “Food Babe” article about toxins found in popular brands of tea. You can read it here. In the interest of fairness, you might also want to check out this chemistry-heavy (for the average liberal arts type, anyway) response to Food Babe’s blog. These posts might further answer your questions or they might spark a few more. We’d like to hear your thoughts on the subject, so please share your comments below!