Enter into the Distinctive World of Matcha Green TeaKatachiware Japanese Style Tableware
If you want a refreshing zing to your morning cuppa then Matcha green tea is the right shot for you! This Japanese origin tea has wound its way into millions of homes outside Japan and is conferring all the health benefits that green tea can provide plus something more! You can either take it as your traditional morning cuppa or in a diluted form through one of the many recipes that have wound around it.
Table of Contents
Is Matcha tea the same as Green tea?
No, Matcha Tea is not the same as Green Tea. Both differ from one another in terms of
- Mode of preparation
- Health benefits
The flavour of green tea depends largely on the herb or botanical additives. Some of the popular aromas associated with green tea range from hints of honey, jasmine, peach, ginger etc. and its taste can be fruity, floral or nutty.
On the other hand, the flavour of Matcha has a greater richness and depth and as it is popularly drunk in the form of a latte, the tea is frothy, sweet and smooth in texture without the overdose of caffeine.
Mode of Preparation
Green tea is made by immersing tea leaves in hot water; here the compounds in the tea leaves are let loose into the water and this is sipped with relish.
On the other hand, in Matcha, ground tea leaves are dissolved into the water. The grinding of tea leaves follows a definite process. Tea leaves that are grown under shade are handpicked and set to dry. After they are dried the veins and stems are separated and the tea leaves are ground finely into a powder. A small quantity of this fine powder suffices to brew a cup of the great matcha.
The tea leaves undergo lesser processing and are high in antioxidants and chlorophyll levels in addition to being more potent than conventional teas.
Both Matcha and green tea have their own set of unique health benefits that are conferred on the users. Having said this, the nutrient store in Matcha compares with none other; it has everything from antioxidants, minerals, vitamins as well as proteins in the form of amino acids. One cup of matcha tea equals drinking 10 cups of green tea if you want to obtain the equivalent goodness.
The high antioxidant content in Matcha helps in tackling several ailments like heart disease, cancer in addition to helping regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
The presence of an amino acid by the name of L-Theanine in high quantities helps to lower anxiety levels and calm the individual without causing sluggishness. This heightens the focus and concentration levels in the individual.
The caffeine release in matcha is at a slower pace and this helps to lower ‘caffeine jitters’ that other teas or coffee can cause.
However, the tea comes with a high price tag.
Reasons for Matcha’s High Price Tag
Nurturing the tea leaves is a process undertaken with utmost care and caution. The leaves grown under shade are steam-fixed and undergo cutting and air-drying instead of rolling and firing that is normally undertaken. This helps the leaves achieve a vegetal aroma that is clean of roasted sweetness.
The tea leaves are ground into a fine powder, unlike other brands which contain tea leaves in their entirety. The milling process undertaken in factories involves high tech processes. A sizeable output of powdered tea is obtained only after hours of such grinding.
The harvesting of tea leaves has to be done at the right time. Early harvesting can lead to lower yields while delayed harvesting can compromise the quality.
The extent of care and work involved in creating the perfect tea powder is one of the reasons for the high price tag.
How to Make the Perfect Cuppa?
Making the perfect cuppa of Matcha for a refreshing morning is a very easy affair. All you need is a stone matcha tea bowl and a bamboo whisk that is just right in size. You sift the fine matcha tea powder into the bowl, add to it hot milk or water as desired and using the bamboo whisk, stir the mixture till it turns frothy. If you are lactose intolerant you can go for almond milk. Sugar is not traditionally added. And that’s it! Your morning cuppa is ready.
The preparation of matcha in today’s times is not as complex as it was during traditional tea ceremonies in Japan. If you don’t happen to have the above utensils you can still use a mug and a spoon in place of a bowl and whisking device. Having said this, however, the beauty in whipping a cup of green goodness with the aid of traditional matcha tools is something incomparable!
Versatile Ways of Consuming Matcha
Matcha tea is popular as a rejuvenating drink the world over; but did you know that there are several innovative ways to use matcha in many of your savoury as well as sweet food preparations. The mighty matcha is truly very versatile!
Some of these delicious food preparations where matcha forms an important ingredient include raspberry muffins, chicken tenders, egg waffles, ice-cream sandwiches, lava cakes, homemade sponge cake, ice-cream, banana bread; the list is almost endless. If you are a savoury buff then you can utilize matcha salt and matcha flavoured noodles and pasta in your recipes.
There are several online sites that offer recipes for these delicious food preparations. The first matcha café, MatchaBar which was opened in the U.S. in 2014 offers everything that is matcha to its customers.
Storing Requirements to Preserve the Flavor of Your Matcha
- Firstly buy your matcha in quantities that will last for a month or so as otherwise, the tea will begin to degrade if it remains for a few months at a time; even if you fulfil all the storage requirements.
- Always keep your matcha in a place that is away from sun, oxygen or moisture. A place that is cool and dark is ideal for storage.
- Do not store your matcha in the refrigerator as that temperature is not conducive.
- Store your matcha in an airtight container as that will keep it protected from all unwanted elements.
Different Grades of Matcha
Matcha comes in varying grades and depending upon the grade, its taste, colour, aroma and price differs. The grade differences arise mainly due to the difference in the cultivation and its processing. Matcha is thus available in three grades which are:
Ceremonial is the topmost grade and is normally reserved for special occasions. In Japan, this is used for tea ceremonies and is known as ‘thick tea’. A lot of care goes into the harvesting of the leaves and only the best of them are used for processing. Stem and veins are carefully separated and the finest leaves and buds go into the grinding of the tea leaves. This grade tastes best when used without any accompaniments and does not require the need of any additives.
Premium grade is next best to the Ceremonial grade and is often called ‘thin tea’ in Japan. Though it may not equal the thickness and sweetness of the Ceremonial grade it will still offer a genuine matcha experience for a reasonable price. This grade is best suited for everyday use as your regular tea cuppa.
As for the Culinary grade of matcha, the flavour is subdued and this is not processed with the same care and attention as given to the top two brands. The leaves may include some amount of veins and stems which are otherwise diligently removed from the Ceremonial and Premium brand of matcha. The Culinary brand is best suited for food preparations. Whipping it into your food recipes will enable them to obtain the distinct matcha flavour and colour without shelling a lot of money.
Which brand or grade you choose will depend entirely upon your likes and preferences and the experience desired by you from your matcha.
Experience the Goodness of Blended Matcha for your Morning Cuppa!
If you are game to experiment with your morning cuppa then you can try out a cup of blended matcha. What is blended matcha? It is a mixture that combines the distinctive taste of traditional matcha and adds in an extra flavour to provide a different experience of matcha. The matcha here is not grounded; instead, this is steeped like traditional tea.
What is used to create blended matcha? Any juicy peach, bancha or dried peach can be added to form a lighter and refreshing version of the original matcha. You can have white peach matcha or a very berry matcha or roasted buckwheat matcha!
On a Concluding Note
Green tea is known to be a healthy option for your cuppa tea. And matcha is the healthiest of the lot as it is packed with loads of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients.
So, what are you waiting for! Embark on discovering the goodness of this awesome tea and explore the various options offered by it.