Do you love everything green? Then it's time to meet matcha. Its flavor is mellow, its health benefits countless and the ceremony of making it will bring a sense of ritual to your life. In fact, Matcha is the centerpiece of a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.
You probably don't have a tea master at hand who will lead you through a proper ceremony, but you can easily recreate the experience at home, in a matter of just a couple of meditative minutes. Blended with soy milk and poured over ice, it's our favorite new way to stay cool on hot summer days.
What is Matcha?
Matcha (literally "powdered tea") is a fine, brightly colored green tea powder made from the finest, youngest leaves of the first harvesting days. Matcha Uji means "froth of liquid jade."
How To Prepare Matcha Green Tea
Traditionally, a tea master will measure the Matcha with achashaku (bamboo spoon) and place it into a chawan (serving bowl). Hot water is added and the mixture is whisked with achasen (bamboo whisk) until you see fine bubbles.
At home, you can simply measure a heaping teaspoon, place it into a Japanese ceramic bowl, add enough water for one cup and whisk it until frothy. Whip it until any "dama" (small lumps of tea) are completely broken up. You can enjoy your Matcha either as "thick tea" called koicha (less water) or usucha ("thin tea", more water). It's best to drink it straight from the bowl before the sediment has a chance to settle to the bottom.
How Do I Make An Iced Matcha Latte?
Measure a heaping teaspoon, place it into a ceramic bowl, add just a few sips of hot water and whisk it until frothy. Whip it until any "dama" (small lumps of tea) are completely broken up. Slowly whisk your choice of milk (best: whole or 2 percent) or plain soymilk into the mixture. Don't add too much milk. The liquid should still have a creamy jade color. Then pour over ice and enjoy. While still hot, before you add milk, you can also add some honey or agave nectar, if you like your latte sweet.
Is Matcha as Healthy as Other Green Teas?
Matcha is said to be even healthier than other green teas, since it is the only form of tea in which the whole leaf is consumed. Also, only the finest, youngest leaves are hand picked.
Health Benefits of Matcha
Matcha is rich in antioxidants (catechin-polyphenols) said to help prevent cancer and heart disease and slow the process of aging. It contains many trace minerals and vitamins (A, B-complex, lots of C, E, and K); reduces bad cholesterol; it also boasts mood- and concentration-enhancing qualities.
How Much Caffeine Does Matcha Have?
Matcha contains half the caffeine of a cup of coffee. In fact, the tannins in green tea offset the effects of its caffeine.
Why is Matcha So Expensive?
Only the finest tea buds are hand picked. It takes one hour per mill to grind 30 grams of Matcha!
Where Can I Buy Matcha?
We recommend Harney & Sons, which sells a top-quality Matcha powder that had our Japanese friend, an experienced tea ceremony attendee, proclaim: "You can tell it's a very good Matcha. The beads are very fine."