Will the Matcha Boom will Lead to a Mulberry Boom?
I ate in an upscale Korean restaurant in Ann Arbor Michigan the other day. Accustomed to having my own bowl of bibimbap, I was surprised to be served instead a number of small dishes in a course menu format. It reminded me a lot of Japanese kaiseki, a form of dining where each dish is prepared differently and brought out one at a time.
Another reminder of Japanese cuisine was the dessert. The restaurant served matcha ice cream.
A specialist in Korean tea told me that matcha tea was never produced in Korea, but that in recent years, farmers have switched to making tea for matcha to capitalize on the global matcha boom. Matcha, like all tea, requires the use of pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers, and irrigation. Some tea fields even have large fans to blow morning dew on to the plants. Matcha producers also use tarps to cover the tea trees to increase the amount of chlorophyll in the leaves.
Mulberry tea can have a similar taste to matcha if the leaves are processed in the same way. (Actually I like the taste of mulberry better, since it is not as bitter as matcha). So, I wish that restaurants would try mulberry powder instead of matcha. If they did, they would be using a local food that is also organically grown.