What is Matcha Tea?
Matcha tea is a premium powdered green tea unique to Japan, grown under a straw covering for the last few months to super-concentrate the chlorophyll, resulting in it's vibrant green color. These high-quality leaves are hand selected, steamed, dried and then stored in a cold place to deepen the flavor before they are then ground into a fine powder that gives matcha its distinct taste.
What makes Matcha tea so special is that it is simply a power-house of concentrated nutrients, antioxidants, chlorophyll and fiber, but contains no sugar, gluten, colorants or preservatives.
Health Benefits of Matcha Tea
Matcha tea contains the amino-acid L-theanine, which is known to be a natural mood-enhancer, used by Buddhist monks to aid concentration and clarity of mind. In addition, some research has shown that Matcha tea is also fat-burning and cancer-fighting, besides boosting energy and increasing concentration.
Taking a few minutes to carefully prepare and then drink your cup of matcha is a great opportunity to take some time out of your day and become more mindful of yourself and your surroundings. The benefits of matcha go beyond the purely physical; never underestimate the power of a moment of quiet during a busy, stressful day.
How to brew the perfect cup of Matcha in 5 easy steps
You will need the following:
- tea bowl or cup
- small sifter
- bamboo measuring spoon or tea-scoop
- small bamboo whisk (chasen in Japanese) – essential for getting a good froth.
There are two ways of preparing Matcha – Usucha is less concentrated and should have a thick frothy topping, while Koicha has a thicker cream-like consistency and should be smooth, without any froth.
1 Boil the water and prepare the chawan
Boil filtered or spring water in a kettle. Use a little water to pre-warm your bowl or cup and then allow the water to cool slightly – it should be just below boiling point – 180-190 degrees is ideal - when you add it to the powdered tea. A good way to get the temperature just right is to pour some water into a cup and allow it to cool for about 1 minute. You will need about 70ml for Usucha or 40ml for Koicha.
2 Measure and sift the Matcha
Measure 1-2 tea scoops (for Usucha), or 3-4 scoops (for Koicha) into the sifter and sift into your tea bowl to ensure there are no lumps of powder. You should have a lovely little pile of fine bright green powder in your bowl!
3 Add the first amount of water
Carefully pour your slightly cooled water into the tea bowl with the matcha powder and stir into a paste.
4 Use your whisk
Now use your chasen (bamboo whisk) to gently stir the tea using a circular kneading motion for smooth tea(Koicha), or a rapid M-shaped motion if you would prefer frothy tea(Usucha). (Interestingly, each of these two methods of whisking produces a slightly different scent and flavor in the finished product.)
5 Enjoy the final product!
Enjoy your tea directly from the bowl or pour into a teacup and enjoy immediately! If matcha tea is left to stand the powder will settle at the bottom of the cup and you will lose some of the goodness, so don't wait around.
Because Matcha comes in a powdered form you do not have to stick to drinking it in the form of tea to get your daily dose of goodness. It is really easy to add a spoon of matcha to a smoothie, latte, home-made ice-cream and many other tasty treats. Simply follow steps 1 to 4 to fully dissolve the powder before adding it to your favourite mixture.
Matcha is best stored in the refrigerator to maintain freshness. Allow to return to room temperature before use.