Japanese Matcha Tea for Culinary Delight

Matcha, a drink consisting of finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea leaves, is traditionally consumed in East Asia. The green tea plants used for matcha are shade-grown for three to four weeks before harvest; the stems and veins are removed during processing. During shaded growth, the plant Camellia sinensis produces more theanine and caffeine. The powdered form of matcha is consumed differently from tea leaves or tea bags, as it is suspended in a liquid, typically water or milk.

Now matcha is growing increasingly popular in the West, with claims that it offers an exceptional blend of energy, wellness, and culinary delight.

Rich in antioxidants, including the powerful EGCG, supporting overall well-being, with its moderate caffeine content and calming L-theanine, it provides a gentle and focused energy boost without the jitters. Whether you’re looking to enhance your metabolism, reduce stress, or simply enjoy its vibrant flavour, it’s the perfect choice.

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To prepare the drink, traditionally a bamboo whisk called a chasen is used to whisk the powder with hot water until frothy.

The great thing about matcha is that it is versatile – from lattes and smoothies to baked goods and desserts, it adds a vibrant green hue and unique taste to your favourite recipes.

  • Abundant in antioxidants: renowned for its high antioxidant content, particularly catechins like epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). These antioxidants help protect the body against harmful free radicals, which may contribute to various health issues.
  • Enhances energy and focus: contains a moderate amount of caffeine, which provides a gentle and sustained energy boost without the jitters often associated with coffee. Additionally, it contains L-theanine, an amino acid that promotes relaxation and mental clarity, leading to increased focus and concentration.
  • Supports metabolism and weight management: Studies suggest that matcha can boost metabolism and promote fat oxidation, potentially aiding in weight management. However, it is important to note that matcha should be part of a balanced lifestyle that includes a healthy diet and regular exercise.
  • Promotes relaxation and reduces stress: matcha’s L-theanine content induces a sense of calmness and relaxation without causing drowsiness. This combination of L-theanine and caffeine creates a unique state of alert relaxation, making matcha a popular choice for meditation and stress reduction.

Matcha’s grassy, umami flavour can be an acquired taste. If you’re new to making it, don’t hesitate to add a few drops of maple syrup or honey. You also might want to sweeten your tea if your powder is particularly bitter.

Matchado – Unsweetened Yame Matcha, is sourced from the Yame region and known for its exceptional matcha production. The organic nature of Matchado ensures that the tea leaves are cultivated without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides, maintaining the purity and integrity of the product. Matchado Unsweetend Matcha Green Tea costs £21.50 for 30g from Lemonsalt.co.uk.

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How to Make Matcha Green Tea

  • Sift powder into a small bowl or mug. Matcha clumps very easily, so sift it before you add any water, otherwise, it will be difficult to get the tea to disperse evenly in the liquid, and the drink will be lumpy.
  • Pour in a small amount of hot water, and whisk. Don’t use the circular whisking technique used for baking – instead, whisk vigorously from side to side, either directly back and forth or in a zigzag pattern, to disperse the powder evenly in the water and create a foamy layer on top. If you whisk in a circular motion, your tea won’t foam. If you make matcha often, invest in a bamboo whisk called a chasen. It is designed to break up clumps and create a frothy layer of foam on top of the tea. Otherwise you can try using a regular whisk or an electric milk frother, but whisking or stirring with a fork or spoon will not work.
  • Top off with more hot water or steamed milk. Traditionally, matcha green tea is made with just green tea powder and water, but you can also make a latte by finishing your drink with steamed milk. You can try almond milk, coconut milk, or oat milk to vary the flavour. Whisk again until foamy, sweeten to taste, and enjoy!

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