Recipes · Uncategorized

Matcha Strawberry Smoothie


With the exception of a few small projects, I’m taking a break from doing my usual Japanese-English translation work while I learn German for the first few months of living in Berlin. Learning a third language has been interesting – I’ve never had a problem with switching between English and Japanese, mostly because when my brain goes into second language mode it just defaults to the only one it knows. But now that there’s a new language in the mix, I’m finding myself mixing them up all of the time (leading to some awkward moments in grocery stores and cafes!), and feeling overwhelmed at times. Which is why on days I need to keep focused, I’m relying on tea to keep my mind especially sharp.

Here’s a recipe for a way to start your day off with a kick: matcha strawberry smoothies! This recipe is vegan, satisfying and has a rich matcha flavour. The wonderful thing about smoothies is that you can take a basic recipe and adjust to your taste. Want more sweetness? Add another banana or handful of strawberries. Not so sure if you’ll like the bold matcha flavour? Start with a teaspoon and keep adding until you reach the flavour you like. You can leave out the cashews if you don’t like the richness, I add it because the protein keeps me fuller for longer. If you like ice in your smoothies feel free to add a handful. I like to have a base recipe to start from before altering it, so I hope you enjoy the recipe below!

Vegan Matcha Strawberry Smoothie

(serves 2)

1/4 cup of cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours (you can skip the soaking if you have a high power blender)

1 tablespoon of matcha, or to taste (I used cooking grade matcha that I bought at Matchashop and it worked very well)

1 teaspoon of ground flaxseeds (optional)

1 cup of ‘milk’ (I used unsweetened soy milk but oat, rice, or any other type of milk would work great too)

1 small piece of vanilla bean or dash of liquid vanilla (optional but adds nice flavour)

-1 cup of frozen strawberries

2 frozen bananas


Place the cashews, matcha, flaxseeds, milk, vanilla, and strawberries in your blender. Blend on high until it reaches a consistency you like, and then add the peeled frozen bananas and blend again until smooth. I garnished mine with a dusting of matcha powder & red berry smoothie powder.

Hope you enjoy if you try this, and let me know if you come up with any extra ingredients or substitutions that you love!



Matcha Beer Garden


Beer and matcha lovers, take note: two of your favorites together at last! The following article translated from Mynavi News may be of interest to some of you.

Green beer!? The beer garden with 10 different types of matcha beer is now open for business.

Summer is the time of year when we thirst for beer. There are a number of beer gardens where you can drink delicious beer, but surely only one where you can taste green beer. ‘Green Tea Restaurant 1899 Ochanomizu’ in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo opens a matcha beer garden during the summer months from June-September, complete with all drinks, food and sweets being made from tea.

The matcha beer garden is entering its third summer season this year, after being hugely successful last summer – around 7,200 glasses of matcha beer were served. Visually matcha beer delivers a strong impact, but customers have said that the beer has a mild and delicious flavour, and that it is ‘healthy even though it’s beer.’


In addition to light and dark regular beers, the beer garden serves 10 types of all you can drink beverages such as matcha beer, hojicha dark beer, and matcha wine. Since they will still also have their regular beers on tap, it might be nice to try a regular beer with a tea flavored one to compare.

This year, two new flavors of original tea beer are being introduced: Japanese black tea beer and Japanese dark black tea beer. The natural sweetness and splendid aroma of black tea mixes harmoniously with the bitterness of beer to create a new and exciting blend of flavors. As it is also primarily a tea restaurant, the food and sweets are also made using tea. Sencha potatoes and matcha cake are just a couple of examples of the extensive tea-based menu.


Green Tea Restaurant 1899 Ochanomizu is located on the first floor of the Ryumeikan main building, 3-4 Kanda Surugadai in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo. The first seating begins from 5-6pm, and the second seating from 7:30-8pm. The all you can drink service has a limit of 2 hours, and costs 3,500‎¥ (*approximately $40 Canadian as of this translation.)”

I certainly wouldn’t complain if my meal and drinks were all matcha flavored, so I’m adding this to my list of future places to visit. I really miss the amount of restaurants in Japan with all you can drink/all you can eat deals, too. Have any of you gone to this matcha beer garden, or plan to this summer? You can find the original article here if you’d like to see the original Japanese version.

Next week I’ll be making a post about matcha and tea shops in New York City, so stay tuned and thanks for reading!



Matcha Shops in NYC

I’m very fortunate to be heading to New York City tomorrow, and so (of course) I’ve been researching the best places to grab some tea and matcha while I’m there. While looking around for info I stumbled upon this great video by Milkbox, who filmed a matcha tour of NYC! It was fun to get to see all the matcha stuff she tried, and gave me some inspiration for places to check out. Here’s the video – additionally if you’re into goth lolita or kawaii stuff she would be a great person to follow.

So far my only concrete tea-related plan in while I’m in NYC is to attend a Shincha preparing workshop at Ippodo, which I’m really excited about. I have a list of places I’ll be visiting now thanks to Milkbox, but if anyone has any other recommendations for places to check out, please leave a comment!

Next week I’ll have another article translation to post (hint: if you like both matcha and beer you won’t want to miss it!), and in two weeks I’ll be posting an extensive report of my own on NYC matcha/tea places. Thanks for reading 🙂  ❤


Drinking the Last Sip: An Expression of Appreciation


My first koicha (“thick tea”) at Ippodo tea room, Kyoto. 

Michiko Osawa runs a relaxed matcha classroom in Yokohama, and also maintains an excellent blog that delves into the deeper enjoyment that participating in a tea ceremony can bring. Her other objective is to bring that enjoyment into our daily lives, thus bringing the special experience of a traditional tea ceremony to our regular kitchen table.

Showing respect to the host who made your tea is an important part of the tea ceremony, and Michiko talks about a small but important detail that we might easily overlook: what to do with those last few remaining drops in our tea bowl.

“Have you ever been bothered by the bottom of your tea bowl after you finish drinking matcha? When someone has prepared matcha for you, it is courteous to drink the tea without delay and while it is still fresh and delicious. One other point: drinking your matcha to the very last drop is an expression of appreciation toward the person who made it for you.

As people aren’t machines, there may be times when the matcha has not been well mixed and dissolved. But once you realize this, you can still slurp in the last sip with some force and completely finish the tea. If you do this, the act of finishing your matcha is beautiful.

If you don’t finish your matcha to the last drop, your tea bowl may end up looking like this: 


One last point: When there is some thick matcha left on the bottom of the bowl, the problem may sometimes be due to the person preparing, and other times may be due to the guest drinking in a carefree way.

Without worrying about who is to blame, it would be nice to drink our matcha to the last drop.”

This was interesting to read, because in many cultures slurping the last drop of liquid from a glass or bowl is considered rude, and it’s important to know that (at least in Japanese culture) it’s seen as a sign of respect and appreciation. If someone is going through the trouble of making me a delicious bowl of tea, I want to enjoy it to the fullest! So let’s slurp away, fellow matcha fans 😀

The original article is here, and you can find many other excellent Japanese articles by Michiko at her blog, O-Matcha Happylife. Thanks for reading!

Recipes · Uncategorized

(Vegan!) Matcha Cheesecake


I’ve come across a number of matcha cheesecake recipes online, but this is the first I’ve seen with a layer of red beans between the filling and the crust! For those of you who haven’t encountered sweet adzuki beans in desserts yet, they’re used regularly in Japanese sweets – and I actually might love them more than chocolate 😮  Their rich and satisfying taste aside, adzuki beans are high in iron, protein, potassium, and a ton of other nutrients that are excellent for you. All the more excuse to try out this delicious plant-based matcha cheesecake!

Today’s recipe comes from Peaceful Cuisineand you can find the original Japanese recipe here. The author of Peaceful Cuisine, Ryoya Takashima, has a number of other creative and delicious looking recipes (with some recent ones in a great bilingual video format) involving matcha on his site that can be found with a quick search.

Recipe notes:

The original recipe is intended to be made in a traditional cheesecake shape, but I made mini cheesecakes. The ingredients came out to equal 12 mini cheesecakes exactly.

★For readers not familiar with recipes using weight, please note that some of the measurements are in grams so you’ll need a kitchen scale. The equivalent in cups has been listed when possible.

★Due to differences in the amount of water that cashews absorb while soaking, try to make sure that the total weight of the cashews (after soaking) and the water for the filling weigh 340g. This ensures that the filling will have the same texture every time you make it.

★I substituted maple syrup for agave, since I’m a stereotypical Canadian and that’s what I had on hand 😀


Vegan Matcha & Sweet Adzuki Cheesecake


Almonds  120g
Agave     30g
Shredded coconut  30g
Salt    ¼ teaspoon (or to taste)

Adzuki layer:
Adzuki beans  50g (½ cup)
Water 400g (2 cups)
Salt     a pinch
Beet (or any other type of granulated) sugar   35g

Cashews   150g
Water   190g
Agave or maple syrup  110g
Coconut oil  100g
Matcha  1.5 to 2 tablespoons, depending on your preference


1. Soak the almonds in water for at least 8 hours, then place them in a colander for about a half hour to allow water to drain. Place the almonds in a food processor and mix until they resemble a powder-like consistency, then add the rest of the ingredients for the crust and mix again until well combined. Place the mix into a cake pan (or cupcake liner in a muffin pan, if using) and press down to compact it into a crust.

2. Make the bean paste. Add the adzuki beans, water, and salt to a pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling lower the heat and let simmer. When the water has reduced to the point where it’s just barely covering the beans, add the sugar a little at a time and stir after each addition.  Continue to let the mixture boil down until it becomes a soft paste, stirring constantly as it becomes less watery to avoid burning.

3. Soak the cashews in some water for about an hour. Then, add all of the ingredients for the filling to a blender and blend until the mixture is completely smooth.

4. Spread the bean paste on top of the crust and distribute it evenly. Pour the matcha filling on top of the paste, cover the pan and place in the freezer. It will be ready to eat within 2-3 hours!


I could have made the bean layer on the mini cake above a bit more even, but otherwise they turned out delicious and I highly recommend this recipe! If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment, and don’t forget to check out Peaceful Cuisine for more fantastic recipes.