Matcha is a young, delicate, high-grade, green tea leaf that is, grown in the shade for about three weeks before it’s hand picked, dried and ground into a fine powder.
During the time it’s grown in the shade the plant produces very high levels of chlorophyll which is a plant based pigment that is not only responsible for matcha’s beautiful bright green color, but also packs the leaves full of nutrients and antioxidants.
The shade also creates an amino acid called L-Theanine, which is the magic ingredient found in matcha, said to reduce anxiety, and enhance your mood while boosting, concentration, focus and alertness.
Unlike traditional green tea, with matcha tea you are actually consuming the whole leaf which is part of the reason why it’s such a nutritional powerhouse and considered a super food! It’s actually one of the highest graded foods when it comes to antioxidant concentration. And remember antioxidants are what fight off free radicals in the body!
Not only are they preventative but they also support healthy glowing skin, control blood sugar, lower cholesterol and increase our metabolism (which is why you will often hear people say that matcha supports weight loss).
Matcha does contain caffeine but because of the way the body digests matcha the caffeine is released at a very slow and steady rate, so rather then getting a big jittery boost and then a crash, it gives us a more natural, sustained boost of energy over a longer period of time.
So if caffeine doesn’t normally agree with you, you may find that you have a different experience with matcha.
Categorically there are two main types of matcha; ceremonial and culinary.
Ceremonial matcha is made from the finest, youngest green tea leaves which give it a delicate, refreshing and naturally sweet flavor. It is ideal for enjoying simply as a tea or an iced tea.
When looking at a ceremonial matcha, it should have a vibrantly green color with a light, fresh, and slightly grassy smell. It should also be extremely fine to the touch and feel like eye shadow. If it smells off, or is grainy or dull, it’s not the real deal.
Culinary Matcha on the other hand is a mix of younger and older tea leaves and so while it’s still has a fresh flavor, it tends to be a bit more earthy and robust.
Culinary grade matcha can look less vibrant green than ceremonial matcha but should still be a beautiful green. Just like ceremonial grade, a quality cooking grade matcha should smell fresh and slightly grassy and still feel fine and smooth. If it feels coarse or you can see the individual grains of matcha easily, it is not good.
And because culinary matcha usually has a lower price point, it’s the perfect to add to your lattes, smoothies, breakfast bowls, baked goods etc.
So in a nutshell, when you are buying your matcha you want to pay attention to the origin (most good matches come from Japan), color, texture, taste and price.
And yes, my friends, you pretty much get what you pay for. A good ceremonial matcha can range any where between 25-40 per gram.
I am not a matcha aficionado, but the matcha I have been using and really enjoying is from The Matcha Reserve. It costs just under $40 for 40 grams. Not only do they sell traditional matcha, they also have flavors like mango and caramel, which are made by adding a tiny bit of extract to the matcha. If you are interested in trying out their matcha, you can save 15% by using my code: DaniMatcha
Once you choose a matcha home you want to store it in a cool dry place, it’s extremely sensitive to both light and heat which is why good quality matcha is usually sold in foil or a dark container.
Keeping it in the fridge freezer is a good idea, especially if you do not drink it every day.
There are lots of different ways you can incorporate matcha into your diet, it’s super versatile. You can add it to smoothies, pancakes, oatmeal, chia pudding, cookies, muffins, you name it! People are making matcha everything these days.
How To Make Matcha Tea
Those who drink matcha often like to use an official matcha making kit which includes a matcha bowl (chawan) with bamboo whisk (chasen) and scoop (chashaku).
For an 8 ounce cup start with 1 teaspoon of matcha powder, you can run it through a fine mesh sifter to help break up the clumps so you have a creamier, frothier matcha.
Then add a couple ounces of hot water, you want your water to be just before boiling. Technically speaking it should be at 175 f, steamy/just before boiling is really all you need to aim for.
Grab your whisk and begin moving in an M or W motion to whip the matcha until it starts to create a thick green paste and becomes frothy. This will take one to two minutes.
Note: if you are using a metal whisk you may not get as much froth as you would if you were using a bamboo whisk.
Once your forth has formed, add another 4-6 ounces of water and enjoy.
How To Make A Matcha Latte
Now if you wanted to make a Matcha Latte, you would do everything exactly the same right up until you’ve created your foam and then instead of adding water, you would add a teaspoon of your favorite sweeter and 6 ounces of steamed milk, any milk you fancy will work, so pick what works best for you and your health style.
Have you ever worked with Matcha before? I would love to hear your tips down in the comments below!
Matcha Green Tea Latte
Yield: 1 latte
Prep Time:2 minutes
Cook Time:3 minutes
- 2-4 tablespoons hot water
- 6 ounces milk (almond, coconut, cow’s etc)
- 1 teaspoon matcha tea powder (this is the one I like)
- 1 tablespoon honey, maple syrup, or stevia to taste (optional)
- Add the matcha tea powder to a small amount of hot water in the matcha tea bowl or into your favorite mug.
- Use a fork to briskly whisk the matcha in up-and-down direction until you see a white foam form on top of the matcha.
- Pour sweetener and steamed milk into the cup. Enjoy!