Everything You Need To Know About Matcha

I have always liked matcha as a kid, especially in ice cream form but it wasn’t until my last visit to Japan that I became a matchaholic.  It all happened in a tiny tea shop in Kyoto where I had the most amazing matcha.  By matcha, I am not talking about the sweetened matcha latte you get at Starbucks or boba tea shop, I am talking about the authentic matcha drink made with just matcha powder and hot water.  It was paired with mochi filled with red bean and warabi mochi.  A match’a’ in heaven~

After I returned from my trip, I started experimenting with different matcha powders. Luckily in San Francisco, you can find a variety of matcha powders from Japan town.  So far I have finished 3 different tins.  It actually takes awhile to finish a tin (typically 1.4 to 2.2 oz each). But ever since I got myself a matcha kit I’ve been able to entice others to help consume my matcha supply faster with my theatrical matcha-making performance.  Just picture me whisking feverishly with a really cool bamboo whisk to create a bubbly foam on the top. =D

What is Matcha?

The word matcha literally translates to powdered (“ma”) tea (“cha”).   The tea leaves are steamed, dried, and stone ground into fine powder.  So when you drink matcha, you are actually consuming whole tea leaves in powdered form!

Matcha History

Matcha was brought to Japan from China by Japanese monks that studied Zen Buddhism in China during 7th and 9th centuries.  In China, the tea leaves were baked and molded into cake mold for storage convenience.  A small piece was chipped off and whipped with a bamboo whisk in hot water.  Learn more from here.

So Matcha Benefits
  • High concentration of antioxidant – 137x more than green tea, 60x more than spinach and 7x more than dark chocolate.
  • Calming effect – L-theanine in matcha stimulates brain’s alpha waves which results in an alert calm.
  • Improves memory and concentration – L-theamine also increase dopamine and serotonin which enhances mood and memory.
  • Manages cravings – High content of chlorophyll in matcha helps control hunger and cravings.  It also gives matcha its electric green color.  The high content of chlorophyll comes from shading the tea plant before harvest to boost growth.
Types of Matcha

There are 2 main types of matcha grades that you can buy. The highest quality is ceremonial grade.  It has vibrant green green color and is made with the youngest tea leaves.  The second one is culinary grade which is good for baking and cooking.  It’s also fine for everyday drinking.

3 Step Recipe
  • Add 1 teaspoon of matcha powder to a deep ceramic bowl (preferably sift the powder first)
  • Whisk with hot water or hot milk (170F or 75C) until smooth and frothy (“W” strokes)
  • Serve immediately

Isn’t it amazing how easy it is to make matcha?  I usually like to use almond milk (califia brand) to make my matcha latte since it adds a nice nutty flavor.  But other than matcha drinks, matcha powder is great for baking and cooking.  Some of the best matcha creations I’ve had include matcha creme brulee from Ebisu, matcha pearls from One Tea and matcha softserve from Matcha Love.  Oh, so matcha to choose from!

This is where I had another awesome matcha experience in Vancouver, Canada at O5 Tea Bar.  The pairing was handmade chocolates.  Another match’a’ in heaven~

Friend’s birthday coming up?  Why not try a Matcha Kit with organic matcha from Taste of Kyoto?  Or if you are more of a crafty person, these natural scrubs and masks might just be the thing!

Matcha Facial Scrubs from The Cottage Market and Dream A Little Bigger

Matcha Face Masks from Rafa Natural

Thirsty still? Check out these thirst-quenching paper art and bubble tea wall decor =)

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