First things first. What is matcha?
Matcha is powdered Japanese green tea. Essentially, it's the whole tea leaf that is hand picked in Japan and ground into a powder through a very delicate and precise process (which explains the higher price compared to other green teas). The difference is that when you drink matcha you receive all the benefits of the whole leaf, not just what seeps into the water.
Traditionally in tea ceremonies, matcha is mixed with water through a very special and ritualistic technique. It is typically prepared very precisely with an exact water temperature to maintain the integrity of the flavor and its health benefits. To make it easy for myself and avoid using the thermometer, I like to simply heat up the water and let it cool until the point where I can put a finger in and not burn.
Since matcha is heat sensitive, I like to also eat it raw by adding it to smoothies, raw treats and chia puddings. Matcha can also be used in ice creams, pancakes, cookies, cakes and other desserts.
What makes it so great?
- Matcha is extremely antioxidant, more so than any of the other know antioxidant food and superfood. More than any other green tea variety, cacao, goji berries and blueberries combined together!
- 1 serving of matcha contains the same amount of caffeine as 1 coffee. However, matcha is metabolized with larger molecules which slow down the absorption of caffeine into the bloodstream, making it gentler on the body without the negative side effects of caffeine.
- The caffeine level in 1 serving is gentle enough not to affect the body's delicate hormonal balance.
- Matcha contains significant amounts of L-Theanine, an amino acid that promotes feelings of relaxed calm.
- The L-Theanine combined with caffeine provide sustained energy and concentration, making it an exceptional substitute for coffee.
The vibrant green color is due to chlorophyll which helps detoxify the body at a cellular level.
How to buy and store it.
Matcha is incredibly sensitive to light and heat, so to preserve the flavor and health properties, it is best stored in a dark/solid container preferably in the fridge.
Freshness is important too, matcha is delicate and will loose significant amount of its benefits quite quickly. So buying a small quantity more often is better.
Like in most cases, quality matters, specially when talking about health benefits and flavor. Opt for organic varieties whenever possible, and if budget allows go for the ceremonial matcha (you wont be dissapointed!)
matcha tea latte.
So finally, I want to show you how to make an easy matcha latte. Once you get the hang of it, its quite simple and quick to prepare. Enjoy it in the morning or in the afternoon as a pick-me-up (as long as you are not caffeine-sensitive).
This recipe is really easy to make, it only requires two ingredients plus some hot water and a sweetener. You will also need a whisk to make it frothy. If you plan on making matcha tea often, then you might want to buy a cute bamboo whisk, otherwise a regular whisk will do. I hope you like it as much as I do!
1. Add matcha, hot water and almond milk into a large cup.
*You can also try coconut milk instead of almond milk.
2. Using a bamboo whisk, whisk briskly from side-to-side or in an M motion until frothy.
* If you don't have the bamboo whisk, prepare the tea in a larger bowl and use a normal whisk. Then transfer it to the drinking cup. You could also use a milk frother if you have one.
3. Add sweetener to your taste. I like to add 1 tbs raw honey.
*Alternatively, you can use maple syrup or stevia.