There’s always something new on the beverage hot list, and these days, it’s matcha. Although matcha has long been popular in Japan, it has only recently become mainstream in the United States. Check out our primer on this versatile ingredient and drink.
Matcha means “powdered tea” and consists of green tea leaves finely ground into a powder. It has a stronger flavor profile than regular brewed green tea, and taste varies based on the grade of matcha. Matcha made from younger leaves has a lighter, grassier taste, while matcha produced from more mature leaves is coarser with a sharper flavor.
To make proper matcha, you need to start with the right tools, according to Eater.com — namely, a sifter, a bamboo whisk and a tea bowl. Scoop your matcha into the sifter, which carefully removes any clumps, and sift the matcha into the tea bowl (most recipes call for about 1 teaspoon of matcha per third cup of water). Heat water almost until it boils, then pour it into the matcha. Whisk in a zigzag motion until all of the matcha is dissolved, and add more water as desired. Need something to brighten up the flavor of matcha? Many people add a little something to sweeten it.
Although matcha is most well known as a straight-up tea beverage, it can also be made into lattes and smoothies, and used as an ingredient in everything from frozen yogurt to cookies. Visit the Matcha Source for recipes.
Green tea may be healthy, but matcha is healthier. It has been linked with numerous health benefits, according to Natural Living Ideas. These include helping the body burn calories and detoxify. Matcha is absolutely loaded with antioxidants, including catechins, the most powerful antioxidants, which help ward off disease and the effects of aging. Additionally, matcha has been shown to help improve energy levels, concentration and memory.
With about 30 mg of caffeine per serving, matcha contains more caffeine than regular brewed tea and less caffeine than a cup of coffee. Many people opt to swap their morning coffee for morning matcha, advocating that the caffeine found in the powdered tea produces an alertness that’s nice and calm.
Matcha is becoming more common every day, and many tea and coffeehouses already serve matcha drinks. Specialty tea shops such as Teavana, David’s Tea and Republic of Tea sell matcha that can be prepared at home, and it’s catching on in grocery chains as well.