What is Matcha?
Matcha is a powdered form of high-quality green tea. Instead of steeping, the green tea powder is whisked into hot water to create a frothy drink. The Japanese tea ceremony is built around the meditative act of preparing, presenting, and sipping matcha. While matcha’s origins are ceremonial, the green tea powder is now widely used in beverages such as tea lattes and boba tea, as well as as a cooking ingredient in everything from ice cream to salad dressing.
Origin of Matcha
Before teapots, early Chinese custom was to grind tea leaves into a powder and then whip or beat the ground tea in a bowl with hot water. While the Chinese eventually abandoned “beaten tea” in favor of steeped tea leaves, the Japanese popularized the method.
In the early 12th century, one of Japan’s own Zen priests studying in China’s Buddhist monasteries returned to Japan with tea plant seeds and bushes. Eisai, the young priest, used his experience in China growing and drinking “beaten tea” to popularize “the way of tea” as a meditation ritual within his community of Japanese Buddhist monks. He eventually spread the tea drinking custom throughout Japan.
Matcha health benefits
Numerous studies on green tea have revealed a number of scientifically supported health benefits. While much of the research has focused on green tea, the benefits also apply to matcha because matcha is made from whole green tea leaves.
- Could help in cancer treatment
Green tea has long been researched as a cancer-prevention supplement. Women who drank more than 10 4-ounce portions of green tea per day developed cancer 7.3 years later than those who drank fewer than three 4-ounce portions per day, according to one older study.
- Could aid in the prevention of type 2 diabetes
Some animal studies suggest that green tea may help the body release more insulin, thereby preventing diabetes. Insulin is a hormone that aids in the transport of blood sugar into cells where it can be burned for energy. Green tea may also improve how well cells respond to insulin and lower blood sugar levels in the same way that some medications do.
- Depression may be alleviated.
After researchers accounted for other factors, one study of workers in Japan aged 20 to 68 years discovered that those who drank more than four cups of green tea per day had a 51% lower chance of having depressive symptoms than those who drank less than one cup of green tea per day.
- It may protect brain function
A review of 36 studies discovered that green tea lowers the risk of cognitive disorders. These brain problems, which are more common after the age of 65, typically have an impact on learning, memory, movement, language, attention, and problem solving. Mild cognitive impairment to dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease are among them. According to the findings, the more green tea consumed, the better the protection against such disorders.
- Male fertility may be improved
In a study of healthy Chinese men, those who drank tea had a higher total sperm count and sperm concentration—indicators of fertility—than those who did not. Men who drank tea at least three times per week had higher sperm counts. Following a review of previously published research, scientists discovered that green tea contains a high concentration of polyphenol antioxidants. These antioxidants protect healthy cells, including those found in testicular tissue.
- Could aid in cholesterol reduction
According to one study, green tea drinkers who are healthy weight have significantly lower levels of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. LDL is considered “bad” cholesterol because it causes cholesterol buildup in arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease.
- Matcha may reduce Blood pressure
Green tea consumption has been shown to significantly lower both systolic (upper) and diastolic (lower) blood pressure. The effects were even more pronounced in people who already had high blood pressure or other risk factors for heart disease. Green tea’s ability to relax blood vessels, which improves blood flow and reduces inflammation, contributes to the outcome.
- Bone health may be protected
In a study of postmenopausal women in Korea, those who drank no green tea or less than one cup daily in the previous year were more likely to have reduced bone mass in their spine or thigh than those who drank green tea three times a day.
How to make Matcha?
Matcha is made differently than brewed tea and is very simple to make if you have the right tools.
Step 1: Bring 100 mg of filtered or spring water to a boil (about 1/3 cup). Remove from the heat and set aside for 2 to 3 minutes to cool.
Step 2: In a small bowl, mix 1/2 teaspoon matcha powder. Mix in a splash of hot water with a bamboo whisk to make a smooth paste.
Step 3: Pour in the remaining water and stir with the bamboo whisk, flicking the whisk back and forth, until the matcha is incorporated and a thin frothy foam forms on top.
Step 4: Savor and enjoy.
Matcha caffeine Contents
Matcha has more caffeine than green tea, about the same as black tea, and less caffeine than brewed coffee. Because matcha is made from tea bushes grown in the shade, the tea leaves retain more of their caffeine content. Furthermore, because you consume the ground tea leaf when sipping matcha, you consume more caffeine than you would from the extraction of steeped green or black tea leaves. However, as with all drinks derived from caffeinated plants, the amount of caffeine in a cup of matcha tea will vary depending on how the matcha was processed and prepared. Read the packaging carefully, or ask your tea supplier for caffeine information specific to the matcha you’re purchasing.
Where to buy Matcha?
Matcha is best consumed as soon as possible after it is harvested. Because matcha is a ground tea, any exposure to oxygen will immediately begin to degrade the tea’s color and flavor. It can keep fresh for several weeks to a few months if kept sealed in a cool, dark place (unlike dried tea leaves which can last for up to a year or two). Buy your matcha from a reputable company that can tell you when and how the tea was processed and packaged to ensure you’re getting a fresh matcha worth sipping. Inquire with your tea supplier about the best way to brew that particular variety of matcha.
What are the different ways to use Matcha?
If you’ve never used matcha powder before, try these seven ways to incorporate it into your diet.
- Make some matcha tea.
Matcha is traditionally prepared as a simple green tea. To make matcha tea, place two teaspoons of matcha in a mug with hot water and stir to dissolve.
- Add it into your baked goods.
Matcha powder is easily incorporated into baked goods such as muffins, scones, healthy cookies, and more. Matcha powder can be used in place of some of the flour. For breakfast, try making matcha pancakes or waffles. The powder will turn your baked goods green, which can be entertaining for children or for special occasions.
- Add it to your oatmeal or granola in the morning.
One of the simplest ways to incorporate matcha into your diet is to simply stir some into your morning cereal.
- Make use of matcha noodles.
For a unique and healthy meal, look for premade matcha noodles (or look up recipes to make your own) to use in soups, noodle salads, or other fun recipes.
- Give your green smoothie a boost.
Why not make it greener if it’s already green? A few teaspoons of matcha powder will make your green smoothie recipe even healthier.
- Sprinkle it on your popcorn.
Sprinkle a little matcha powder onto your popcorn for a fun and healthy snack during movie night.
Begin reaping the potential health benefits of matcha right away. Visit your local health food store and try out various brands to find your favorite. Matcha powder can be added to almost any meal, making it simple to establish a new healthy habit with this potent superfood.
In moderate amounts, green tea is considered safe as a beverage. A small number of people taking concentrated green tea extracts have reported liver problems. Although there is no definitive link, if you have a history of liver disease, you should consult your doctor. Green tea and its extracts contain a lot of caffeine, so if you are caffeine sensitive, look for a decaffeinated version.
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Some tasty recipes for matcha?
Matcha is a finely ground powder made from specially grown green tea, which dates back to the 12th century. Matcha preparation, serving, and drinking are all ceremonial in China and Japan, and the drink has grown in popularity worldwide. We’ve included a few of our favorite matcha drink recipes, as well as creative ways to use this earthy powdered green tea in snacks like cookies, cupcakes, and even a twist on Rice Krispie Treats, in this recipe roundup.
Matcha Tea cookies
These delicate cookies are moist and tender because they are made with oil. Matcha imparts a light, toasty flavor and turns them a lovely green color.
- 2 cups regular flour
- 2 tbsp. baking powder
- 1 kosher salt teaspoon
- 1/8 teaspoon cardamom powder
- Granulated sugar, 3/4 cup
- Canola oil, 2/3 cup
- Two large eggs
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- A quarter teaspoon pure almond extract
- 2 tablespoons matcha tea powder plus 1 teaspoon
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
Step-1: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cardamom in a medium mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla, and almond extracts. 2 tablespoons matcha powder + 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl, then stir into the wet ingredients Just combine the wet ingredients with the flour mixture.
Step-2: Scoop 1-inch balls of dough at least 2 inches apart onto 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper, using a 1-ounce ice cream scoop or 2 tablespoons. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Step-3: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, or until the edges are set and the bottoms are lightly browned.
Step-4: Place the cookies on one baking sheet. Combine the confectioners’ sugar and the remaining 1 teaspoon of matcha in a sieve. Serve the cookies with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.
Green Tea Fortune cookies
- 1 cup sugar
- three large egg whites
- 4 oz. melted and cooled unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup regular flour
- 1 tsp matcha green tea powder
- 18 tiny paper fortunes
Step-1: In a medium mixing bowl, combine the sugar, egg whites, butter, flour, and green-tea powder and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate the batter for 1 hour, covered.
Step-2: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with a silicone mat. Prepare a coffee mug and a standard-size muffin tin. Spread two 2-tablespoon-size mounds of batter 6 inches apart on the baking sheet. Spread the batter into two 6-inch rounds with an offset spatula.
Step-3: Bake for 12 to 14 minutes in the center of the oven, until the edges are browned but the centers are still light. Allow to cool for 10 seconds before inverting one tuile and placing a paper fortune in the center with a spatula. Fold the tuile in half and bring the ends together, making a crease with the rim of the coffee mug. To keep the fortune cookie in shape, place it in a muffin cup. Continue with the second tile. Return the tuile to the oven for a few seconds if it hardens. Rep with the rest of the batter and fortunes. Allow the cookies to completely cool before serving.
Matcha White Chocolate Mousse
- 1 tablespoon matcha powder
- 1 quart heavy cream (divided)
- 4 grams. white chocolate (coarsely chopped)
- a tsp vanilla extract
Step-1: Sift the matcha powder into a double boiler pan and whisk in 1 tablespoon of heavy cream until no lumps remain. Add 3 tablespoons more heavy cream and the white chocolate. Stir constantly over medium-low heat until the chocolate has melted. Remove from the heat and set aside for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is cool to the touch.
Step-2: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining heavy cream and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form. Fold in the remaining whipped cream after combining half of it with the melted white chocolate. Spoon into 4 separate small bowls, cover, and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Step-3: Serve with extra whipped cream, shaved white chocolate, or fresh berries if desired.