Matcha is a popular traditional drink.
Understanding how to make matcha or how to make matcha latte is really simple but the resultant drinks are amazing!
Traditionally from Japan, Matcha is the name given to tea leaves that have been processed into a fine powder, in fact so fine that when you drink it (or use it for cooking & the like) you actually consume the whole leaf.
The variety of leaves traditionally used to produce Japanese Matcha is pure Gyokuro leaves which have been shaded beneath special mats for 3 weeks prior to plucking this cuts out around 90% of sunlight. The result of this process is the leaves contain less bitter polyphenols and more L-theanine amino acids which add more sweetness to the tea.
There are varying grades of Matcha now available. Matcha can be brewed in many ways and does not necessarily have to be brewed to the strict guidelines of the Japanese tea ceremony. However there are a couple of tips when brewing that might help.
The first, Matcha is best brewed using good quality water that has been boiled and then left to cool for about 2 -3 minutes. The tea will be at its peak flavour and you will be able to consume it immediately.
Secondly, it’s a good idea to sift Matcha through a tea strainer so that it won’t form lumps when hot water is added.
The history of Matcha
Matcha has been used in the Japanese tea ceremony (or Chanoyu) for centuries. Tea was believed in ancient Japan to be a gift from the heavens that gave great spiritual power and restorative properties here on earth and as such Matcha has been revered as something very special. Whilst the Japanese tea ceremony is still highly placed in Japanese culture today, the consumption of Matcha in other situations has become commonplace.
How to make matcha in the traditional way
If you’d like to prepare in the traditional ceremonial way you’ll need a set of Japanese tea ceremony bowls, scoops, and a whisk.
- Warm the tea bowls with boiled water.
- Prepare your Matcha whisk by soaking the tip in one of the tea bowls filled with boiling water for approximately 10 seconds.
- Now remove the water from the bowl and dry it with a paper towel.
- Using a Matcha teaspoon, add 2 scoops of Matcha green tea powder to each bowl
- Carefully pour about 1/3 of a cup of the boiled water into each bowl
- Using the whisk, gently submerge any Matcha that may be floating on the surface of the tea.
- Whisk more briskly in a back and forth motion until the surface of the Matcha is frothy.
- Drink immediately – in Japan, it is custom to consume the whole bowl in 3 slurps!
How to make matcha lattes
There are many other ways to consume Matcha. Most popular at the moment is either hot or iced Matcha Lattes a great and healthy alternative to lattes made with coffee. Try with flavour shots, just as in normal lattes and you’ll be amazed at how delicious Matcha lattes can taste. Almond or Soya milk make a great alternative to cow’s milk if preferred. An easy way to make matcha latte is as follows:
Ingredients per cup/mug serving:
- 1 teaspoon (approximately 1g) of matcha green tea powder
- Honey or sugar to sweeten
- 3 tablespoons of warm, filtered water (boiled and allowed to cool)
- 300ml of hot milk or 250ml of cold milk
- Place milk (or soya/oat milk alternative) to heat on stove, or heat/froth if using a steamer.
- Add 1 tsp of matcha green tea powder and place it into a cup or mug.
- Boil around 3tbsp freshly drawn, filtered water, and let cool until warm.
- Add the water continually stirring or whisking with a whisk into a smooth paste to avoid lumps.
- Add hot milk (top with froth optional) – or if making an iced latte, add cold milk.
- Sweeten to taste
- Sprinkle with a little matcha for decoration
Matcha can be used in your cooking
Matcha can be used in bread, smoothies, chocolate, salad dressings, desserts, and many other recipes. There are now many varieties of matcha including Kenyan White teas and Peppermint herbal matcha both sold here at Harrison teas.
Why is Matcha so good for you?
Traditional Matcha is made using Gyokuro leaves which we’ve already mentioned are kept shaded for three weeks before harvesting. It is this shading that forces the tea bush to produce higher than normal chlorophyll resulting in the tea leaves becoming a very rich green colour. Once plucked, the leaves are steamed and dried and are known as Aracha.
The next stage of the process removes all stems and veins from the leaves to leave a very pure leaf known as Tencha.
It is this Tencha that is ground into a powdered format known as Matcha. As a powdered leaf, however you consume Matcha you are actually consuming the tea leaves which of course increases the levels of caffeine, L-theanine, polyphenols, and other nutrients in the tea.
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