The answer may surprise you, but Japanese people actually consume matcha in all forms. The traditional tea ceremony remains popular despite countless renditions of matcha desserts. Most Japanese welcome the great variety and celebrate matcha in all forms.
How is matcha consumed in Japan?
Japanese convenience store soften offer matcha-flavored confections such as cakes, chocolates, ice cream or biscuits.
At the same time, the traditional methods of making matcha are well and alive. Universities and schools in Japan have tea ceremony clubs. There, the time-honored tradition carries onto the younger generation. The tea ceremony is still practiced by the Japanese despite its rapid commercialization.
Matcha is also available in Japanese restaurants. If you happen to dine at a family-run restaurant andrequest for a bowl of matcha, they may offer it to you as a guest. It is quite certain that even if they do not have it on the menu, there will be some they use for personal consumption.
Today, the US consumes more matcha than Japan
This is a fact which comes down to the larger population of the US. Matcha in the USA develops into a main stream tea beverage enjoyed by all.
In any case, this is a good thing. There are articles which claim others are drinking matcha ‘the wrong way’. There is no real wrong or right way to enjoy matcha so long as we are enjoying what we are eating or drinking.
Matcha as culture in Japan
The traditional way of consuming matcha is still celebrated in Japan. This is why people are more accepting of modern matcha-flavored desserts.
In fact, matcha flavored confectionery has its own storied history in Japan. Mochi, a traditional rice flour based snack, has come in matcha flavors for a very long time. We expect to see more matcha lattes, ice cream and other desserts as a continuation of the matcha story. It is not an aberration of traditional matcha culture but matcha evolving in time.
There is a time for everything
Modern methods of making matcha can co-exist well with traditional methods. The most popular form of matcha dessert is matcha soft serve. The young people love it, and few can resist the temptation of a cold, creamy bittersweet treat on a hot summer day.
Trying matcha in this form is good because it allows people to appreciate the matcha taste. As people grow accustomed to it, they start to crave matcha in different forms. After trying matcha soft serve, one cannot help but wonder if there is something more. Something purer and more intense.
We see traditional matcha and matcha desserts as part of a unique balance. They are not exclusive concepts, they coexist. One cannot exist without the other, and we are better for it. As an advocate for Japanese matcha and tea culture, we welcome it and cannot be happier.
So, do the Japanese drink ceremonial matcha?
Yes, in all shapes, forms and sizes, it remains popular in the past, and will remain popular for a long time as the world also starts to enjoy good Japanese matcha!