for Monday, 20 December 2021
[ mah-chuh ]
a finely ground powder made from small green tea leaves that have been steamed briefly, then dried, used to make tea and as a flavouring in desserts.
What is the origin of matcha?
Matcha “a finely ground powder made from small green tea leaves” is a borrowing from Japanese and can also be transliterated as maccha and mattya. The term is a compound of the Japanese verb matsu “to rub, grind” and the noun cha “tea.” Cha is a distant relative of tea; the Japanese and English words both derive from Middle Chinese and have a long and complicated history. As a Wanderwort, a word that has spread as a loanword across a long chain of unrelated languages, tea derives by way of Dutch and Malay from dialectal Chinese (Xiamen) t’e; compare Mandarin chá, which was borrowed via Russian and Turkish into English as chai. From there, te likely derives from a word for “leaf” in Proto-Sino-Tibetan, the reconstructed language ancestral to Burmese, Chinese, and Tibetan. Matcha was first recorded in English in the 15th century.