In my ‘career’ of a tea lover, there is one question I have been asked more often than any other: what is my favourite tea? Well, a mother cannot favour one of her children, so of course, NO I cannot pick (only) one, and I do really love them all :). HOWEVER, in the top 20 of all time, there would definitely be a spot for matcha & matcha latte.
HA? Matcha tea? What on earth is that? – you’d ask. Sadly, this incredible type of green tea is still fairly unkown in the West, despite being probably one of, if not the healthiest & fairest of them all. So, as this is a NEW start for my tea blog at the beginning of a NEW year, I have decided to hopefully make you all familiar with this super-delicious yet – till now – NEW to you form of green tea & chose it to be the subject of my very first 2016 post.
Matcha (meaning ‘powdered tea‘), in a quickest nutshell, is… powdered green tea :). And matcha latte is the only officially accepted combination of green tea & milk (though of course if you enjoy adding anything incl.milk to your cup of green tea, you are free and welcome to do so any time 🙂 ).
Oh but there is so much more about it! You could write hollywood blockbuster scripts about matcha & its preparation. Traditional famous Japanese tea ceremony centers around matcha giving it indeed a very special place in the culture of tea. Not surprising, considering that due to the way it is grown & processed, it is probably indeed the healthiest tea you could ever drink.
When drinking tea from other leaves, you get to consume, according to certain sources, about 5-10% of all the tea goodness. The rest, in your teabag or strainer, gets thrown away & lost for ever. Matcha is tea leaves, without stems, ground on stones to a fine powder so drinking it, you get to taste & keep the whole of what green tea has to offer. And to achieve the very special subtle taste that only matcha has, together with better flavour and texture, tea plants are grown under a shade for about three weeks before the harvest. This gives the leaves a chance to produce even more chlorophyll and amino acids, and the end result – a cup of matcha – a lovely brighter green color (so positive – how not to love it? 🙂 ). One cup of matcha has as many antioxidants as 10!!! cups of green tea!, and in comparison to spinach for example, it can have up to 150 times more of the good stuff!
Check out this comparison table:
Incredible, right??!! Source: http://matchasource.com/health-benefits-of-matcha-tea/
Thanks to all its properties, matcha is proven to boost your immune system, improve concentration, & help you detoxify! Many sources say it has also been said to help regulate blood sugar and metabolism. You can see a whole beautiful list of matcha’s benefits here.
AND – as if it all wasn’t enough – matcha is not only limited to tea, but thanks to its powder form, is often used in food & drink recipes. I strongly recommend trying matcha ice cream… be careful though, as it is addictive. Most recently, matcha gets more and used in many delicious non & yes-alcoholic cocktails.
You can find some fantastic food recipes on the TeaPigs website:
There’s even matcha flavoured pancakes!! (recipe here)
Or perhaps you fancy buying some matcha flavoured kitkats – to combine the healthy with the.. slightly less healthy 😉
For some gorgeous green cocktails & mocktails head on to Matcha cocktails – so yummy!
Matcha is so popular in Asia, I remember having it in every corner Starbucks in Malaysia, when I worked there a few years ago. I was told in Japan, every coffee / tea shop has an on site matcha grinding machine which on the spot prepares fresh matcha powder, just like all espresso machines grinding coffee beans in every coffee shop in London. I cannot wait to visit that part of Asia & see it & TASTE it one day! In London, matcha latte can be found in lovely Yumchaa tea shops all around central London, but also in the independent and lovely Tea Box cafe in Richmond (which also organises music events combining tea & music!).
You can of course prepare your own matcha at home :), using a very special unique set of tools. I remember hearing legendary stories about Japanese housewives who would despair if their matcha had too many bubbles after whisking it all too vigorously with the bamboo chasen (see below). I guess I would not be the best wife in Japan, as my matcha was definitely too bubbly – it is certainly not so easy to recreate the full Japanese Tea ceremony at home, but with or without bubbles, any of you can enjoy some green goodness every day whether in tea or food form, so if you are looking for a yummy super-healthy new addition to your diet to kickstart the year in a powerful way, matcha is the way to go! 🙂
Let me know what you think of matcha via comments & emails 🙂