I am a fan of Japanese Green Tea for quite some time now, especially Sencha. Last year, while visiting Japan for the first time, I also tasted Matcha tea for the first time. I was blown away by its taste; it was so delicious.
Even it is not a daily beverage; it is also used in a wide range of desserts and sometimes even regular meals; from cookies to ice cream to noodles. In most of the sweets I tried you could taste the matcha and except a few occasions they were not overly sweet. Just enough to support the taste of the green tea, which is bitter by nature.
Personally, I felt in love with matcha ice cream. I could taste the green tea and a tiny bit of sugar. Great Combo. The best was with Matcha sprinkled on top - mmmm… even writing about it starts watering my mouth.
So let us see what Matcha actually is and how you can enjoy it.
In its essence, Matcha is powdered green tea. But it is harvested and ground in a particular way, so you only get parts of the leaves and can consume it completely. Unlike other tea, where you throw the leaves away after use, you drink the powder fully.
To harvest tea leaves for Matcha, the tea plants grow in shade three to four weeks before the crop. The leaves are getting dark green and build their aroma.
They are then dried, traditionally outside, but also without direct sunlight. Stems and veins are removed and what is left now is known as Tencha.
Tencha is then ground in a stone mill, and the resulting powder is our favorite Matcha tea.
Matcha is part of the superfoods, foods rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other essentials our bodies need.
It is rich in Catechines and Vitamine A, B, C and E, also contains the amino acid L-theanine and caffeine.
Catechins belong to the group of chemicals called Antioxidants and help our body to defense and fight infections and diseases. They also help to clean your body of free radicals. Free radicals are molecules which can damage cells in our body and increase aging. Study
L-theanine and caffeine help you to relax and focus. Whereas this combination does not down you after, for example as drinking coffee does. Study
There are also claims that you can lose weight by increasing your metabolism and lose fat.
I take those claims always with a grain of salt. They might work, but consuming in masses won’t help, neither will they help when you don’t stop doing the other shit. Still eating tons of chips and burgers and drinking a matcha tea day won’t change anything.
However, what I experience is that I calm down when drinking tea. But I can’t tell if it is because of the tea or me mindfully drinking my tea. Although, I noticed drinking green tea, makes me less hungry.
In Japan, if you happen to be there. Many green teas are not exported and only consumed in Japan. Unfortunately, this is not an option for most of us. But the second best option is a shop specializing in green tea.
Matcha is offered in different quality grades, from expensive ceremony grade to inexpensive cooking grade. You can use each grade for drinking or cooking, but if it is for tea, don’t use the cheapest one, because you will notice it more.
It is important also that you check the origin of your Matcha. Some shops call it green tea powder, but it is not original Matcha tea, its common green tea, mostly cheaper Chinese tea, badly ground and sometimes even oxidized.
It should have an emerald green color and not a dark, blunt one, nor should it look grayish. If you can taste it in the shop, go with it.
When you bought your Matcha, store it in the fridge and in a container where it is not exposed to air. When in contact with air Oxidation happens and the Matcha will lose its taste and smell.
Traditionally, you need a sieve for breaking up clumps, a bamboo scoop called chashaku, a bamboo whisk known as chasen and a tea bowl, chawan.
You use the chashaku to put the right amount of tea into the sieve to break up any clumps and freshly into the bowl. Then add 60-80ml (~1/4 cup) of hot (70–85 °C or 158–185 °F), but not boiling water. Whisk the mixture with the bamboo whisk until there are no clumps left, and you get tiny bubbles on the surface.
Now enjoy it in a mindful way.
I like simple straight forward recipes and not long cooking hours in the kitchen. So my favorite is a short to prepare but still delicious one.
Take a cup of yogurt and put it into a bowl. Add Matcha in a sieve and powder as much as you like to the bowl. Take care that no clumps are building up. Then stir everything until you get a smooth green mass. Add a tiny bit of rice syrup and continue stirring. Enjoy :-)
Instead of yogurt, you can also use a mix of cream and mascarpone. Put the cream and Matcha in a bowl, whip the cream and then fold the mascarpone, but do no whip anymore. Now put it for half an hour in the fridge.
What is your favorite recipe?