Matcha is the newest health craze out there. Healthy food lovers are using this green tea powder like it’s the healthiest thing around. This little ingredient is so versatile, it’s being added to almost every food/drink you can imagine: smoothies, sparkling tonics, popcorn, you name it and a dash of matcha will make it even tastier. This emerald green powder will turn your healthy snacks into a green, power-packed potion of health and wellness. This hot health food has almost inspired a cult-like following among the health/fitness community. The U.S. has finally woken up to what the Japanese have known for centuries. Matcha is just great for your health!
We’re not just saying this, the science backs up the hype. Some 900 studies have shown that matcha is a super-food. Matcha has been linked to cancer prevention to improving skin, hair, and nails. A study shows that it even helps suppress hunger pangs and speeds up metabolism naturally. Another study, conducted earlier this year, pointed out that matcha can also reduce the risk of depression.
All of this is brilliant, you say, but you still can’t get past the fact that it tastes like moss that you scraped off a tree? Don’t blame matcha, blame your attitude! The truth is you have been a victim of bad quality matcha, or it may be that you aren’t making it right. Read on and find nine tips that will lead you down the path of buying, brewing, and creating yummy matcha foods. So, get ready for a healthy mean and green boost of power!
Find the Right Grade
Yup, there are grades. Make sure you look for hyper-premium or ceremonial grade matcha. Stay away from the culinary grade. The culinary kind tastes awfully bitter. It’s used to color drinks and baked goods, definitely not something you want to drink. High grade powder is finer, has a smoother taste, and dissolves quickly. The newest growth of the plant is used to make these, so it has more antioxidants which is an added health boost.
It Should Originate From Japan
Did you know that the majority of matcha available in stores today is culinary grade? Yup, according to Eric Gower, the owner of Breakaway Matcha and knower of all things tea, says that there is a lack of packaging regulations. Some manufacturers simply write ceremonial grade on their labels even if the product is the lower culinary grade. The best way to make sure you get the real thing is to find premium grade matcha from Japan. The Japanese products follow a formal, but unspoken set of regulations.
Check the Color before Buying
Matcha plants are grown in the shade. This makes the leaves go into hyper-drive and produce more chlorophyll, and this is what gives matcha that brilliant green color. Emeric Harney, the tea expert at Harney & Sons, recommends buying powder that has a vibrant color, having an almost fluorescent tint. If it looks dull, don’t waste your money.
You Won’t Find a Bargain
If you’re trying to find a bargain, stop looking. Great quality matcha is really fine — difficult to produce and takes a lot of time, therefore, it’s rare and expensive. Try to recall Econ 101 supply and demand logic you learned: low supply means high cost. For example, the best grade matcha available from Breakaway will set you back about $150 per 30 grams and another quality supplier, Matcha Love’s ceremonial grade blend retails at $17 per 20 grams.
Use Warm Water for Brewing Not Boiling Water
Eric Gower recommends a water temperature of 150-175 degrees if you want the best tasting matcha. The amount of water and powder you use depends on personal preferences. The more matcha you add to the water, the more frothier and thicker the tea will be.
Go For Cold-Brew If On a Budget
The combination of ice and matcha is one of the most refreshing things you will ever taste. It’s also light on the budget. When drinking matcha over ice, you can use a slightly lower grade without compromising the taste. The cold actually cuts the bitterness. Henry Crosby, the co-founder of the iced matcha drink Motto, says that ice does not cover the flavor and simply lowers the bitter taste.
Matcha Is Not the Same as Green Tea
A lot of people think that matcha is powdered green tea. This is very wrong. Matcha is made by mixing finely ground tea leaves with warm water. Drinking matcha basically means you are eating the tea. You take in more of the antioxidants that help prevent cancer and boost metabolism. Drinking tea prepared by steeping leaves in boiling water does not give you as big of an anti-oxidant boost. If you look at the numbers, a cup of matcha gives you 10 times as much antioxidants as compared to 1 cup of regular green tea.
Coffee Jitters? Matcha Might Be the Perfect Option
The powder is a source of calm energy. The electrifying burst of energy when you sip a cup of joe comes from caffeine and l’theanine (an amino acid). The caffeine is what gives you that instant jolt, the l’theanine slowly releases energy and helps improve cognitive performance. Matcha is an excellent source of this amino acid.
Savor the Taste and Let It Linger
This is a bit unusual, but matcha is also great for the teeth and gums. In fact, dentists in Japan recommend that it should be used as a mouthwash. It attacks harmful bacteria that cause plaque along the gums and between teeth. A study in the Journal of Periodontology found that people who drink matcha daily showed a decrease in all indicators of periodontal (gum) disease that the researchers checked.