Love to #matcha? Good news!
If you’re been into any coffee shop around the city recently, there’s a high chance you’ve come across the word matcha before. Having gone beyond traditional Japanese tea ceremonies, this brightly colored powder has gone on to become a flavorful food trend in its own right. However, for something so widely Instagrammed and talked about, with ‘matcha shots’ even having been considered the ‘it’ beverage at New York Fashion Week last year, very few people know what matcha actually is. If you’re one of these people, then you’re in luck, because today you’re going to find out! .
What is Matcha? To begin with, matcha literally means ‘powdered tea’. Described as calming yet caffeinated, this bright green elixir packed with antioxidants comes in the form of a green powder, unlike traditional loose leaves or tea bags, as seen above. The initial vegetal taste can be likened to grass by some, however, the lingering sweetness which follows is what has so many java lovers swapping out their coffee beans for this Japanese delight. So what is it exactly? Grown only in Japan, where it has been used in tea ceremonies dating as far back as the 10th century according to some, matcha-infused innovations started to pop-up around the globe as a popular addition to coffee shop menus due to its unique taste and multiple health benefits. The preparation process is what makes it so different to the common ‘green tea’ we’re used to. Several weeks before harvesting in the spring, farmers cover the tea plants with bamboo leaves. This reduces the amount of sunlight that reaches the plants, which results in an increase in production of chlorophyll and amino acids. This part of the process is what turns the leaves dark green, giving matcha its distinct (and Instagrammable!) dark green color, and its intense umami flavor profile, umami being the Japanese for ‘pleasant savory taste’. Not to be confused with Unagi for any Friends’ fans out there! After harvesting, the leaves are steamed and then air dried. Next, the leaves are sorted for grade, ranging from culinary to ceremonial, with ceremonial being the highest quality tea grade, produced from the youngest tea leaves. Once sorted, the leaves are de-stemmed and deveined, and stone-ground to the fine bright green, talc-like powder known as matcha. Although a complicated process, the result is oh so worth it! As we mentioned already, this natural creation is packed with antioxidants, providing you with a mellow caffeine boost, allowing you to energize without your usual post-coffee crash and jitters. And if that isn’t enough, the chlorophyll in the tea leaves has powerful detoxifying properties including the ability to naturally eliminate chemicals and heavy metals from the body. Although most commonly consumed in the form of a tea, a simple internet search of matcha recipes will result in an abundance of innovations created with this trendy powder. From matcha chia seed pudding to matcha crepes, there’s a perfect matcha for everyone out there! And if you’re looking to give it a try yourself, why not pop into The Good Kind, where we serve up our very own deliciously healthy matcha lattes and teas, for your green fix of the day!