Matcha (literally “ground tea”) is a famous specialty tea hailing from Japan. A cup of matcha is a stunning vibrant green color, with a very thick body and powerful flavors. Because of the unique processing method, these strong flavors tend more toward rich and sweet rather than the astringent and grassy tones that one expects from green tea.
Matcha requires an extremely labor-intensive process, beginning with covering tea bushes with black sheets as the buds begin to grow. This prevents tannins from forming and encourages extra chlorophyll production, leading to the vivid green color and exceptional sweetness of this special cup. Young leaves are harvested and immediately preserved using pressure-steaming, then dried. Tough stems and veins are removed, then the remaining leaf material is ground into a very fine powder.
Because of the enormous amount of labor that goes into every cup, matcha is relatively rare and typically very pricey! We are excited to find this variety – it is organic and exceptional, but because it is made in China, it is also significantly more affordable – win-win! Compared to Japanese matchas that we have tried, this one is a little more mild but still very yummy, with good consistency, impressive color, and an incredibly uplifting “tea high” experience that just cannot be replicated with ordinary teas!
Consuming the entire tea leaf has incredible health benefits – abundant chlorophyll, amino acids, and other powerful phytochemicals give a cup of matcha more than 100x the antioxidants available in ordinary green tea! In Japan it is claimed that matcha boosts metabolism, lowers cholesterol and blood sugar, aids in weight loss, provides numerous valuable vitamins and trace minerals, and detoxifies the body while it calms and focuses the mind.
Preparing matcha requires a special technique, detailed below:
- First, using a small sifter to break up any chunks, sift 1-2 tsp matcha powder into a traditional tea bowl or very large cup.
- Add 2 oz hot water (for best results use water just under a boil, approx 200 F).
- Use a bamboo tea whisk to whip the tea until it gets frothy. If you do not have a tea whisk, a small spoon can work fine (maybe easier if you add a little water to the powder and make a consistent paste before adding the rest of the water and whipping). Typically, a very fast zig-zag motion will yield the best results.
- Add more water to taste, but not more than 6 oz – a proper cup of matcha has a thick frothy consistency similar to a latte
- Sip and enjoy!
Steeping Time: Instant
Water Temp: 200 F
Stone-ground organic tencha green tea
Matcha is also used as an ingredient in many excellent dishes and beverages, including green tea lattes, smoothies, cakes, mochi, and countless other recipes. Below we have included an easy recipe to get you started. Matcha lattes are more and more popular as a unique and healthful coffee alternative, as thick body and rich and sweet flavors make matcha and milk great allies.
- 1/4 Cup boiling water
- 3/4 Cup unsweetened almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, or cow milk
- 1 teaspoon matcha powder
- Honey, agave syrup, or other liquid sweetener
Bring milk to a simmer in a small pot over medium-high heat. If using cow milk, take care, as it may boil over very suddenly.
Place 1 teaspoon matcha powder in a large cup, then gradually whisk in 1/4 cup boiling water, then 3/4 cup hot milk, tipping your vessel slightly to help create more foam.
Sweeten to taste with honey or agave syrup, as crystal sugar may not dissolve completely.
Also delicious iced – just put all ingredients (cold water & milk, not hot) into a cocktail mixer with a few ice cubes and shake very vigorously – or as a smoothie – just add 4-6 ice cubes and a handful of your favorite fruits, then mix in a blender for 2-3 minutes. Feel free to experiment with added flavors such as coconut, mint, or other fragrant herbs such as basil or rosemary.