With its beautiful green color and wonderful taste, Matcha powder is taking the world by a storm. You must have seen the trendy drink at your coffee shop, but what do you really know about it?
As Matcha's popularity seem unstoppable, more coffee establishments find new ways to deliver the best Matcha drink. You can now find iced Matcha, Matcha shakes, half coffee half Matcha drinks, with milk, without milk, and even Matcha ice cream! Matcha is an instant powder (dissolves in water( and can be easily made at home as well.
History of Matcha
Matcha powder is a high quality finely ground green tea. Unlike in other methods, where teas are steeped in hot water, matcha powder is whisked into the water (or milk).
The idea of powdered tea came from China during the Tang Dynasty (7th to 10th centuries), before there were teapots or other tools to steep tea leaves in. The people then made tea bricks for easy transportation and consumption of the tea. It was made by roasting tea leaves and pounding them into powder, which then turned into a brick-like form. However, the drink gained most of its traction in the 12th century, when a Japanese priest who was studying in China brought the ideas of powdered tea back to Japan and associated it with meditation rituals.
The ritualization of matcha made it very popular amongst monks and samurai’s and is still a hugely popular and symbolic drink in Japan today. In fact, real Matcha (like with Champagne or Bordeaux wines for example) is only grown and produced in Japan.
The Matcha Difference
Tea leaves used for Matcha are covered for several days before harvested to shade them from the sunlight. Keeping them in shade results in boosted chlorophyll levels of the plant, which turns the leaves into a vibrant shade of green. Growing the plants in shade helps the leaves grow to be softer, greener, and sweeter. Japan has very special and intricate ways in which to produce Matcha, making it truly unique and symbolic to Japanese culture (and also making the powder a bit more pricy than other teas).
Matcha tea has only recently become a big trend in North America and is quickly gaining popularity. It is widely praised by doctors, nutritionists, foodies, and hipsters for it’s versatility, claimed health benefits, and deliciousness! It is also incredibly easy to make, making it perfect for those without tons of space or tea-making gadgets.
There are two main types of matcha: Ceremonial Grade Matcha and Culinary Grade Matcha.Ceremonial grade is of the highest quality and from carefully grown and picked leaves. This luxury matcha is used for special occasions and meant to be enjoyed on its own without any additions to the tea. Culinary grade matcha is stronger and can be served with other ingredients such as milk, sugar, or other tea additives. Naturally, this kind of matcha is less expensive than the first.
Like coffee and other tea types, Matcha contains caffeine as well. On average, Matcha has about 34mg of caffeine (compared to 30mg of caffeine per serving in our instant black tea), which is about half the amount of a cup of brewed coffee.
It also has many claimed health benefits! Green tea in general has many healthy antioxidants that can boost your immune system. Matcha specifically has certain kinds of antioxidants that can help with lowering blood pressure and bad cholesterol. Green teas can also help defend the body against cancer, lead to better dental health, help with alertness, fighting inflammation, protect the liver, boost brain function, and promotes weight loss.
Making Matcha Tea
When making Matcha, you will need:
- Matcha powder
- Bamboo whisk
- Tea bowl
It is recommended to use 1-2 tsp per 20 oz of hot water. Remember, Matcha powder is more concentrated than normal green tea (about 10 x more concentrated), so a little bit of powder certainly goes a long way. There is also nothing worse than a chalky matcha drink where the powder does not fully incorporate, so try not to oversaturate your water with powder.
It is also a good idea to sift the Matcha powder into a tea cup before pouring in water to ensure there are no large bumps of powder in your cup. Then, bring about 20oz of water to a simmer and pour the water into a tea cup. After the powder is mixed with the water, the drink must be vigorously mixed until it is frothy, and the powder is completely dissolved. Enjoy!
Not a Matcha person? Try our quality black instant tea here.