All about Matcha

by Shalini Phol

These days Matcha is everywhere. It’s being blogged on, and pictures of it flood the instagram and other social media. So what is about the Matcha that has made it such a hot topic? It has a unique flavour with a beautiful green colour. Let’s learn the history, preparation, health benefits and some recipes of this amazing powder tea of Japan.

What is Matcha ?

Matcha is a green tea powder with the scientific name Camellia sinensis and it’s originally from Japan. It has been used for hundreds of years in the Japanese culture in the legendary ‘Japanese tea ceremony’. So what exactly is the Japanese tea ceremony ?

The ceremony is a bonding experience of mindfulness and respect and a focus on the now. Usually the tea is made by experts and with certain hours of preparation. It also uses the highest and most purest form of matcha. It is a kind of spiritual ceremony and a symbol of peace, harmony and happiness that promotes social bonding.

Let’s learn a little more on Matcha tea and some of its characteristics before we learn the uses of it. The tea while cultivating are sheltered to avoid the direct exposure of sunlight which gives a darker shade of green and stimulates the production of chlorophyll. It has a brilliant green colour and an ultra fine texture which goes well in making teas. It has a blend of bitter and earthy flavours with an aromatic scent. In Japan, Matcha is described as having a umami, a savoury taste. It’s a simple drink to make and consume. It’s proven that Matcha has about 10 times the nutrients and health benefits compared with regular green tea. It’s a calming stimulant as it has a slow releasing caffeine. So it’s perfect for actually any time of the day.

Matcha cake

Health benefits of Matcha

The tea is full of antioxidants and some research studies proves that consumption of it may help prevent cancer cells from thriving. Another nutrition fact of the Matcha is that it has chlorophyll in it which is a detoxifier and helps to cleanse the blood and keep maintain the alkalinity of blood and tissues. As similar to the green tea, Matcha tea boosts metabolism in our body. It is also researched that Matcha reduces anxiety in mice. Its calming effects suggests that this tea may improve our overall health. Nowadays, people are interested in weight loss and pursuing a healthy lifestyle. Matcha has the benefits associated with health benefits, making it fit the ‘superfood’ label. It is readily available and can be easily bought online as well.

Uses and recipes for Matcha in your kitchen

This pretty green looking powder can be used for making teas and also in cooking and baking. Thereby making it quite a versatile item in a kitchen.

How to make a hot Matcha drink

You will need a premium Matcha powder, hot water and a small whisk to blend the tea with.

But traditionally in Japan a Matcha whisk, scoop and spoon set made from natural bamboo are used to make a perfectly balanced cup of tea.

For 1 cup of light Matcha, use a scoop of Matcha powder and put it over a bowl. Use a whisk to break up the lumps and give the tea a fine texture and taste. Add to this almost boiling water. Start with half a cup of water before adding more or else it may get too diluted.

An alternative to the hot match drink, is the healthy Matcha lemonade. Just add lemon to the cooled tea and top with plenty of ice for a perfect drink during the summer. Honey can be added to offset the slight bitter taste of the tea.

Making a Matcha latte

Use a milk of your preference, can be soya, almond or full fat milk. Heat the milk in a pot till it foams a little. Then pour it over the sifted Matcha powder. Adding some honey also can improve the taste.

Adding Matcha to your smoothie

You can add a teaspoon or two to your smoothies for the added flavour and a caffeine boost. It can go well with a green smoothie or in a chocolate smoothie. Just do a trial and error and find your taste preference.

For a great breakfast on the go. Try to make a blueberry Matcha smoothie which is totally healthy, nutritious and vegan. Just a few ingredients are needed to make it such as blueberries, baby spinach, ripe bananas, almond milk and Matcha powder. Blend the combined ingredients until you get a creamy and smooth texture and serve immediately in a tall glass.

Matcha for baking

I love to use Matcha in baking and one of my latest recipes is an inspiration from a friend who loves Matcha. So I came up with ‘Matcha chocolate brownies’. The taste of Matcha gives an earthly, vegetal edge to food and bakery. It pleasantly offset sweetness in dessert and perfect for even a salad dressing !

Salad recipeMatcha for a salad recipe

Matcha green salad with caramelised walnuts and cashew nuts. This salad may look so green but it has a lot of antioxidants and the caramelised nuts are super delicious. (Also made in my kitchen) For the salad you can choose some baby spinach or rocket leaves. Here you can create a salad with ingredients you like, placing them on a large bowl or salad plate.

For the Matcha green tea dressing

Mix together the ingredients below in a small bowl or a blender.
½ tsp Matcha green tea powder
1 tsp organic honey
salt and pepper to taste
1 shallot minced
½ lemon, juiced
3 tbsp olive oil
drizzle on your favourite salad

As we know by now how versatile Matcha can be in the kitchen. It is also very beneficial if applied as a natural face mask. It’s a gentle mask that helps to reduce acne, detoxifies the skin at the same time acts as a great moisturiser. Justing using 2 ingredients – honey and Matcha can help achieve that effect. If too lazy to make your own mask, buy a Matcha clay mask which uses only the purest grade of the Matcha green tea. The next time you want to pamper your skin, use a mask and take it step further by enjoying a nice hot cup of green Matcha tea to get the full effects of this antioxidant.

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