Why not freshen up your recipe repertoire, while getting a nutritional boost, by incorporating some matcha green tea into your next meal?
Matcha green tea powder has been hot on the nutritional and culinary scenes for a number of years now. Just one look at any social media site and it’s easy to see that matcha is still as popular as ever.
With its eye-catching vivid green colour and a flavour profile that’s equally delicious on its own or in combination with other ingredients, matcha is a great addition to any kitchen pantry. Not only is it endlessly versatile, but matcha is also recognized for its one-two punch of nutrients and associated health benefits.
Matcha differs from other green teas you may be familiar with. To start, green tea plants for matcha are shaded for several weeks before harvest, and during the grinding of the tea, stems and veins are removed. This results in a fine powder that is dissolved in a liquid rather than being steeped. By consuming the whole leaf powder, you’re getting a more concentrated dose of its nutrients.
Some studies show matcha has a very high concentration of antioxidants, can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, may aid in weight loss, and can strengthen the immune system.
With all it has going for it, it’s important to note that matcha also contains a larger amount of caffeine than a steeped cup of green tea. Therefore, like everything, it’s recommended to consume matcha in moderation.
No matter how you choose to enjoy it, matcha is an easy way to incorporate some extra flavour and health benefits into your day.
The perfect cup
While matcha adds a brightness to many recipes, sometimes only a cup of tea will do. There are two ways in which you can prepare a cup of matcha: koicha (thick) or usucha (thin). In a few easy steps, a cup of usucha matcha tea can easily be made at home.
Step 1: Place fine-mesh sieve over a tea bowl or mug and sift 1 tsp (5 mL) matcha into bowl or mug.
Step 2: Bring a kettle of water just to a boil. For best results, matcha should be mixed with hot but not boiling water.
Step 3: Add about 2 oz (roughly 1/4 cup/60 mL) water and whisk vigorously with a bamboo whisk until a foam forms on top of liquid. Enjoy while warm.
Making the grade
Not all matcha is created equal; it comes in different grades to be used for different purposes. Understanding what each is best suited for will help when faced with a wall of choice at the supermarket. Take note that the price of one matcha compared to another has no bearing on its health benefits. It simply reflects the grade of matcha and the care taken during its production.
This matcha is grown expressly for the purpose of drinking simply, without the addition of sweeteners or other ingredients. Made from the youngest tea leaves, this matcha has a very fine texture and a delicate and nuanced flavour that would be lost if added to smoothies or baking.
Not as refined in taste as the ceremonial grade, premium-grade matcha is a good all-around matcha if you’re looking to both drink and cook with it.
This grade of matcha is made with the less delicate, more mature leaves of the tea plant and is not quite as finely ground as the other types. It has a slightly more bitter flavour that combines well with other foods and is perfect for experimenting with in the kitchen.