All About Matcha Tea
A fine powder of ground green tea leaves that offers incredible health benefits and delicious flavor.
What is Matcha?
While classified as a tea, matcha isn’t steeped like traditional tea is. Since it’s a ground powder made from the leaves of green tea, matcha is made by whisking a scoop with hot water until frothy. Unlike other teas, matcha is the only type of tea where the entire tea leaf is consumed. Because of this, only the strongest growing green tea leaves are picked for producing matcha. Matcha is thicker than other teas and offers a nutty bitterness with grassy and sweet flavors.
Matcha can be traced back to the Tang dynasty in China. Green tea leaves were steamed and formed into cakes, then ground into a fine powder and whisked with hot water to create a beverage that resembled tea. Eventually, this method of preparing tea was brought to Japan by the Buddhist monk Eisai sometime during the 12th century. Eisai advocated for the use of this tea, now called matcha, in Buddhist rituals, leading to it becoming an important part of the Japanese tea ceremony. While matcha has become increasingly popular in recent years, it’s still grown and produced traditionally in Japan.
Types of Matcha Tea
Ceremonial Grade Matcha
This is the highest quality matcha, used primarily for traditional tea ceremonies. It’s made from the youngest leaves of the tea plant and has a bright green color and delicate flavor.
Premium Grade Matcha
Made from slightly older leaves than those used for ceremonial grade, premium grade matcha is less vibrant in color and more robust in flavor.
Culinary Grade Matcha
This type of matcha is made from older leaves of the tea plant and is used primarily for cooking and baking. It’s darker green in color and has a more bitter taste than other matchas.
Matcha can be flavored with ingredients such as vanilla and fruit to add extra flavor to the tea. These flavored matchas are typically used to make lattes, smoothies, and other matcha-based drinks.
What are the health benefits of matcha?
Matcha is rich in antioxidants, specifically catechins, which help reduce the risk of chronic diseases. It also contains caffeine and the amino acid L-theanine, which can help improve mental clarity and focus.
What does matcha taste like?
Matcha is unlike other teas in the way it’s prepared, so it only makes sense that it tastes differently. It has a unique and slightly bitter taste that is often described as “grassy.” The higher the quality of the matcha, the more delicate and complex flavor profile.
Can matcha be used in cooking and baking?
Matcha is often used as an ingredient in cakes, cookies, and ice cream as well as savory dishes like noodles and soups. Culinary grade matcha is typically used for cooking since it has a more robust flavor profile than other matcha grades.
Is matcha safe for anyone to consume?
Matcha is generally safe to consume with a balanced diet. However, matcha does contain caffeine and may not be suitable for those who are sensitive to caffeine.