We all know that green tea is good for you, it’s been drilled into us enough times over the past few years to know that our tea collection isn’t complete without it. However, there is a new type of green tea that has been put in everything from lattes to brownies, and it’s set to knock the original green tea off the top spot.
Matcha tea is a stone-ground powdered green tea used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. Matcha is “the ultimate mental and medical remedy and has the ability to make one’s life more full and complete” according to 8th century Zen priest Eisai, who introduced the tea to Japan. Matcha is most prized for being rich in polyphenol compounds called catechins, which is a type of antioxidant. It is a more potent source of catechins than your average green tea because matcha is made from ground up whole tea leaves as opposed to standard green tea, which is consumed as an infusion. One study found that matcha contains three times more of the catechins called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) than other kinds of green tea. EGEC is an antioxidant linked to fighting cancer, viruses and heart disease.
However, the National Cancer Institute has said that any potential health benefits depend on how the matcha is prepared and consumed, which means that scoffing loads of matcha brownies won’t help prevent cancer however much we wish it did. Though matcha lattes and smoothies are becoming increasingly popular, they don’t contain the same amount of key ingredients as brewed tea. Good matcha tea comes at a price, but it’s worth it for the delicious taste, the amazing health benefits and the awareness it brings to the beautiful Japanese culture. You can find out how to prepare matcha tea the traditional way below.
How to prepare matcha tea
1. Take between 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of matcha powder p/cup. (This is down to personal preference on how strong you like your matcha, it is best to experiment!)
2. Add 50ml (ish) of just below boiling water (around 80 degrees) – this is important, you must not burn the powder or it will taste bitter. If you’re not sure, too cool is better than too hot!
3. Mix in a W shape, using an aerated frother whisk, a kitchen whisk or a fork. Make sure you whisk well and get rid of all lumps, getting all the matcha from around the cup or any that might be stuck at the bottom. This is important too, if you don’t mix well your matcha will taste chalky or lumpy.
4. Once you have a liquid paste texture top up your cup with 80 degree water, stiring as you go.
Steps from Bluebird Tea Co.