February 9th, 2016
It’s almost Valentine’s Day and love is in the air! To celebrate, we created our first ever V-Day recipe – Matcha White Chocolate Covered Strawberries – featuring Aiya’s Cooking Grade Matcha. Sweet and chocolate-y with a hint of tartness, these handmade treats will surely make your Valentine’s Day special this year.
- 20-25 strawberries
- 6 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped
- 1.5 tsp Aiya Cooking Grade Matcha
- 2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
- Chocolate sprinkles (or other toppings) as desired
- Thoroughly wash and dry the strawberries and place them in the fridge.
- Finely chop the white chocolate and place in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 1 minute, stir, and microwave again for 20 seconds. If the chocolate has not melted, continue microwaving in 10 second increments until completely melted.
- Sift the Matcha over the melted white chocolate and stir until combined.
- Take the strawberries out of the fridge. Make sure each strawberry is completely dry before dipping it into the chocolate.
- Gently hold the leaves of the strawberries and dip each into the Matcha chocolate 2/3rds of the way, twirling the strawberry to get an even coat.
- Dip into your desired toppings and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Leave some strawberries with no toppings for the chocolate drizzle.
- Chill the strawberries in the fridge for 8-10 minutes or until firm.
- For the semi-sweet chocolate drizzle: microwave the chocolate for 45 seconds, stir, then microwave for another 15 seconds. If not completely melted, continue microwaving in 10 second increments until fully melted. Using a fork, lightly drizzle the chocolate onto the strawberries.
- Chill in the freezer for another 8 minutes or until firm.
- Share and enjoy! :- )
February 4th, 2016
Our 2016 trade show year began at the end of January with our exhibition at the annual Winter Fancy Food Show. Held in San Francisco at the Moscone Convention Center only a short distance away from our hotel, the show was exciting, busy, and filled with unique specialty food vendors from all over the world.
The traffic at the show was incredible – much busier than any of our past Fancy Food Shows – with lots of new booths showcasing innovative products. Among the most unique foods we saw were chips made with bug (cricket) protein and a guava jam block paired with cheddar cheese. The bug chips were surprisingly delicious, and the guava-jam pairing was the best we’ve ever tasted! There were even separate sections representing foods and drinks from different states and countries. We love that this show has so much to explore.
At the show, we successfully launched our new Premium and Ceremonial grades of Matcha, both now endorsed by the Tea Master of the prestigious Urasenke Tea School in Japan. We made the switch because currently there are no government regulations in the US for Matcha quality, which can allow for low quality/non-authentic Matcha grades to be sold as higher grades. We hope that by having this endorsement, consumers will be able to purchase our Matcha with confidence in its authenticity and quality. (Read more on our switch here.) Along with our new Urasenke Matcha, we gave out samples of our new organic Japanese green tea bags, along with our classic iced Matcha lattes and iced Matcha To Go. We were happy to see many of the attendees stopping by every day, and sometimes even multiple times a day for their Matcha fix.
This show was our busiest among past Fancy Food Shows, and it was also a great show for Matcha in general. While we have seen more and more people becoming familiar with Matcha, it seems like Matcha’s popularity has grown even further. We heard more “I LOVE Matcha!” and “I drink Matcha all the time!” than we’ve ever heard before at any show. We love that Matcha is such a trending product now. It’s crazy to see how far Matcha has come since 2014 when it first started trending, and we hope it will keep growing in 2016.
Next up, the Natural Products Expo in Anaheim- see you all then!
February 4th, 2016
The radiation test report is now available for our February 2016 shipment. It once again confirms that all of our Matcha and loose leaf teas are safe for consumption. Copies available upon request.
January 14th, 2016
Baked donuts are one of our favorite recipes to work with- not only are they a healthier version to their fried counterparts, but the possibilities for flavors and toppings are almost endless! For this donut recipe, we paired two of our favorite tea flavors- Matcha and earl grey- to create soft, fluffy donuts that are packed full of flavor. The two tea flavors pair surprisingly well, and the fruity pebble topping adds a nice fruity crunch. Feel free to modify and experiment with different flavors and toppings- we’re sure you won’t regret it. Happy baking!
Makes 12 Donuts
- 1.5 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 Tbsp Aiya Cooking Grade Matcha
- 1 stick butter (8 Tbsp)
- 8 Tbsp sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup soy milk or almond milk
Earl Grey Ganache
- 4 oz. white chocolate
- 3.5- 4 Tbsp heavy cream
- 1 earl grey tea bag (2 for a stronger ganache)
- Fruity Pebbles (to top)
- Sift the flour, baking powder, and Matcha together and set aside.
- Allow the butter to come to room temperature and stir until it is smooth and creamy.
- Whisk the sugar into the butter until it is well incorporated and the whole mixture takes on a white color.
- Beat the egg and add it in little by little until it is well incorporated.
- Begin pre-heating your oven to 350F.
- Add the milk into the sifted dry ingredients, mix gently, and then add the butter and sugar.
- Transfer the batter to a piping bag. If you do not have a piping bag, you can also use a large gallon Ziploc bag and cut off a small portion of the corner.
- Pipe out the donut batter into greased donut molds and tap lightly on the counter to get rid of air bubbles and to flatten the batter. Do not overflow the molds, as the batter will rise.
- Bake in the oven for 11-12 minutes, lower the temperature to 325F, and bake for another 5 minutes.
- Let the donuts completely cool in their trays before transferring over to a work space.
- Chop the white chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl.
- Pour the heavy cream into a small pot over low heat.
- Add the tea bag and stir the cream until it is lightly simmering. (about 2-3 minutes)
- Keep the tea steeped for another 30 seconds, then pour the earl grey cream mixture over the chopped white chocolate.
- Stir the mixture until the chocolate is melted. If the chocolate doesn’t melt completely, heat the mixture in the microwave for 15-20 seconds, and stir again.
- Let the ganache cool slightly.
- Carefully spoon the ganache onto the cooled donut and spread around until the top is coated.
- Take a small pinch of Fruity Pebble cereal, crush between fingers, and sprinkle onto the ganache immediately. Sprinkle some uncrushed cereal pieces to add more texture if desired. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to solidify the ganache.
- Once the ganache has hardened, take out of the fridge and enjoy!
January 4th, 2016
Happy New Year! The radiation test report is now available for our January 2016 shipment. It once again confirms that all of our Matcha and loose leaf teas are safe for consumption. Copies available upon request.
December 17th, 2015
With less than ten days left until Christmas, many of us may still be on the hunt for those simple yet thoughtful last minute gifts. This year, instead of searching in stores or online, why not make something instead? These Matcha macarons are not only beautiful and delicate, but they also have a stunning green hue and a mild, unique flavor. We’re sure many of you have heard of macarons being temperamental and difficult to make. Though those statements may be true, we found that they’re not so difficult to make with a little patience and love (and our tips and tricks below).
Matcha Macaron Shells
- 1 Tbsp Aiya Cooking Grade Matcha
- 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp almond flour
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 egg whites at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg white at room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 stick unsalted butter; room temperature and soft
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
- Blend the almond flour, Matcha and powdered sugar in a food processor until the almond flour is very fine. If you do not have a food processor, sift the almond flour until only the larger pieces remain in the sifter. Measure the amount of large almond pieces using a tablespoon (should be about 4-5 Tbsp), and set aside. Re-sift that same amount until the larger pieces remain again. Repeat one more time. The larger pieces left in the sifter during the last run can be mixed back into the almond flour mixture. Then, sift the almond flour together with the Matcha and powdered sugar.
- Meringue: Using an electric mixer, beat the 2 egg whites (make sure they are at room temperature) on low until tiny bubbles cover the surface. Turn your mixer on medium and add in the granulated sugar little by little. The bubbles should be gone, and the entire mixture should be shiny, white and smooth. Once incorporated, turn the mixer on high and beat until stiff peaks form.
- Mix the remaining egg white into the almond flour mixture until it forms a very thick paste.
- Once incorporated, gently fold in the meringue until well incorporated. This shouldn’t take more than 25-30 folds (try not to over mix- this will deflate the meringue).
- Once the mixture has taken on a very thick and gooey texture, transfer to a piping bag. We found it helpful to only fill the piping bag half way, because this batter can get very messy and sticky. If you need to put the piping bag down, put it back in the bowl with the batter. The batter is very gooey and will spill out.
- Pre-heat the oven to 325F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Pipe small circles onto the parchment paper, about an inch apart, trying to make the circles as even as possible. You can even make shapes by using a slightly smaller opening for your piping bag (we tried making Christmas trees).
- Slam the baking sheet down on the counter a couple of times to release any air bubbles that may have been trapped in the batter. Then, leave the baking sheets out until the macaron shells are dry and their tops are no longer shiny (about 45 minutes). The shells should be dry to the touch, and not sticky.
- While the shells are drying, make the vanilla buttercream frosting. Using an electric mixer, mix the powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla extract until smooth.
- Once the shells are dried, bake them for about 16-18 minutes, until the tops are firm and “feet” have formed at the bottom. If you have two baking sheets, bake them one at a time.
- Let them cool completely on their trays. Taking them off before they dry may result in the bottom getting stuck to the parchment paper.
- Once they are completely cooled, very carefully remove the shells, lifting up around the sides until the shells pop off.
- Transfer the vanilla buttercream filling into a piping bag and pipe a small amount onto the flat side of a shell. Find another shell most similar in size and sandwich them together. Repeat with other shells. The shells are very delicate, so make sure not to put too much pressure when assembling them.
- Decorate however you like, wrap with baker’s twine, take photos, and give as gifts :- ) Happy Holidays!
*We used a vanilla buttercream filling, but you can fill with whatever you desire. We think a strawberry, raspberry, or black sesame buttercream would go great with the Matcha macaron too!
December 16th, 2015
During the beginning of December, the Aiya team exhibited at the 5th annual Los Angeles International Tea Festival. It’s always nice to exhibit at this show because we get to meet people that are local to us. Held at the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo on December 5th and 6th, this was our fourth year in a row as a gold sponsor, and our first year with a larger 10×20 booth space. Normally held in August when it is hot and sunny, this December show had a slightly different vibe with chillier weather and more tea products geared towards the holidays.
Tons of familiar and well-known tea vendors filled the main hall of the Japanese American National Museum as well as the section right outside – with over 2000 attendees over the two days; this was definitely a busy show for us. We sampled out our new organic tea bag line (Organic Gyokuro/Organic Matcha Infused Sencha/Organic Matcha Infused Genmaicha), Matcha to Go, hot Ceremonial Matcha, and iced Matcha lattes, which were welcomed with kind words. It was our first time sampling our new tea bag line at this show, and people seemed to love them! Many commented on their flavors being very comparable to loose leaf tea, despite being a tea bag. Our convenient, single serving packets (Matcha to Go & Matcha Zen Café Blend) also seemed to be a major hit this year, with attendees fond of the idea of taking their Matcha (or Matcha lattes) on the go.
Looking back at last year’s LA Tea Festival trade show recap blog post, we realize how far Matcha has come along. Just last year, we mentioned that Matcha was “on the rise” in popularity. This year, you couldn’t turn a corner without seeing this powdered emerald green tea. 2015 was definitely a busy year for Matcha, and we hope that its popularity continues to rise throughout 2016 as well.
December 3rd, 2015
The radiation test report is available for our December 2015 shipment. It once again confirms that all of our Matcha and loose leaf teas are safe for consumption. Copies available upon request.