I am currently having a love affair with matcha. This new phenomenon has blown up (queue the hipster matcha tea shops) and it seems like everyone is trying this antioxidant-filled tea that’s been a staple in Japan for centuries. I don’t drink caffeinated beverages, but the occasional indulgence is always warranted.
Matcha is a Japanese green tea powder made from the highest quality shade-grown tea leaves. As a powder, it is consumed whole, rather than steeped, meaning you get all the nutrition contained in the leaves. You can buy it in different concentrations, which will give you more of a nutrient-packed form when stronger, but even the weakest forms have many benefits. The entire leaf of the tea is used when it is ground into the powder, whereas most teas only use part of the leaf.
Ok, benefits. Matcha has more than three times the amount of protein, fiber, vitamin c, and calcium than green tea. As far as antioxidants go, matcha is way off the chart compared to blueberries and Goji berries, and has 137 times more antioxidants than green tea. This tea is rich in chlorophyll, which is a natural detoxifier. It has a high level of catechins, which boosts your metabolism and fights cancer cells. It lowers cholesterol and blood sugar. It also reduces stress, helps reduce acne when applied directly on the skin, and boosts energy without the jittery effect of coffee. One caveat I’d like to add is that matcha is a moderate source of caffeine, and you should keep that in mind as you incorporate it into your diet. I don’t drink it regularly.
Okay, so now that you’ve heard the why, here’s the scoop on the how. There’s an art to a good cup of tea and after much experimentation, I present my guide to matcha tea to help you feel much more balanced and give you endurance throughout the day.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
Ingredients | Servings: 1 | Prep time: 10 minutes
1/2 cup milk (I prefer coconut milk, but skim milk is great for an extra creamy matched latte)
1/2 cup Boiling Water
1 tsp Matcha Tea Powder
1 tbsp Organic Raw Honey
Japanese Ceremonial Grade Matcha: I have tried a few different brands and keep coming back to Pure Matcha and Harney and Sons thin grade. Don’t settle for something cheap that isn’t made in Japan and isn’t “ceremonial grade.” Quality truly matters with this powder, and there are a lot of imposters trying to overprice people for a lesser version of the tea. As a general rule of thumb, the more vibrant green the powder is, the higher quality it is.
Tea Strainer: I eventually caved and bought a standard strainer because it made quite a difference in the consistency of the tea for me. Worth the $5.
Bamboo Whisk: this helps you sift through the powder before you add the water. I purchased this 3 piece bamboo set on Amazon.
Handheld Frother: this is not a necessity, but I prefer using one of these because you can froth up the matcha much nicer and quicker than using the hand whisk alone. If you’re making a matcha latte, this is useful to froth the milk. I ordered one for under $20 on amazon.
Matcha Bowl: Matcha is traditionally made in a bowl that you drink the tea out of, but you can definitely make this in a big mug if you don’t feel like purchasing one of these bowls.
STEP 1: STRAIN THE POWDER
Scoop 1-2 teaspoons of matcha powder into your bowl through a tea strainer. Using your bamboo whisker, whisk the powder to break up any clumps so that all of the powder is evenly smooth.
STEP 2: WHISK THE TEA
Add a few drops of hot water to the matcha powder and mix it into paste with a whisk or spoon.
Heat the water. I use my electric tea kettle that has the temp set at 175 degrees. However, you can bring the water to boil with a traditional tea kettle, stovetop, or even in the microwave and let it sit for 3 minutes so it’s just under the temperature of boiling.
Pour boiling water, over the tea to a little under the halfway point and whisk it together with the bamboo whisk until the powder fully dissolved and the tea is frothy. Add a little more hot water from your kettle by carefully pouring it down the side of your bowl so as to not disturb the frothy top layer.
STEP 2: FROTH THE MILK
If you want to make this a latte, prep the milk. Using your handheld frother, froth the milk until there is a foam laying across the top of your bowl. If you are using a tea press, use the top to pump it up and down several times to create the froth.
Note: The tea is good with or without the froth, but it makes the tea latte light and tasty. You can drink it hot, or you can pour this over some ice for a cool version in the summer.
STEP 3: MIX
Pour the tea mixture into a mug and pour the milk on top. Add a little honey now if you choose to sweeten. If you are using the press, stir it first with a spoon to help get the honey mixed in. Sit back and enjoy the frothy green goodness of your matcha tea!
In a few short minutes you will have made yourself some morning fuel that will help you conquer your day. More importantly, you will be taking a few minutes out of your busy morning routine to treat yourself to something that is great for you body and soul.
I often shake the matcha powder into smoothies. It can also be added to other foods, like breads and pastries, for its color and flavor. If you want to simplify without the milk, here’s a video of how to make traditional matcha tea.