A Tea Lover's Guide to Matcha
As a tea lover, you probably have a cupboard full of your favorite brews. From boxes of tea bags to tins and jars of loose leaf, you're well prepared for any flavor needs. But, have you heard of matcha? This delicious and healthy tea beverage is said to have originated in Asia between the 7th and 10th dynasties. Read on to learn more about matcha:
Green teas grow well in parts of Asia, and centuries ago, Zen Buddhists grew it in shaded conditions in an effort to increase the health benefits of the sencha tea plants. The variation was then referred to as matcha, and this tradition of powdering the leaves caught on in Japan and spread across the world. Today, you can find matcha drinks in tea houses, cafes and even strip malls.
Matcha green tea leaves are harvested by hand as this allows great discretion of the pickers who only select the smallest, youngest leaves. They are then lightly steamed which preserves the nutrients and flavor - a very different method than many other teas endure.
Green tea is often lauded for it's nutritional value. If you're sick, someone may have recommended drinking some because it's full of powerful antioxidants that help the immune system fight off damaging free radicals and bacteria. Green tea also contains caffeine, but not the fast-burning variety found in coffee. Instead, green tea slowly releases caffeine, providing a more even energy boost and reducing the chances of the drinker having an energy crash. Matcha also offers vitamin C, chromium, magnesium, selenium and zinc - all of which are parts of a healthy daily diet.
The very act of making tea can also provide another benefit - relaxation. The Zen Buddhists who first cultivated and drank matcha had powerful tea ceremonies in which the drink was prepared slowly, almost putting those involved into a trancelike meditative state. While you won't necessarily partake in a similar event, putting a kettle on to boil, waiting for the water to reach the proper temperature and then whisking the powdered tea in a mug can still be a relaxing process. To reap the full benefits, try to stay off your phone and focus only on the moment at hand. Watch the water as it heats up, enjoying the steam while you prepare the matcha. As you drink it, think about the healthy chlorophyll and vitamins your body are getting from the drink. Pretty soon you, too, will be singing matchas praises!
"Purchase powdered matcha at a tea house or cafe."
Making Matcha at Home
Make a visit to a tea shop to purchase matcha in it's powdered form - this will save you a lot of time and is way easier than trying to grind tea leaves at home. You can enjoy matcha with water as a regular tea or use frothed milk to create a matcha latte. First, measure out the matcha into fine strainer placed over a mug. Sift the matcha to ensure it is uniformly powdered. Next, use a Mr Coffee® Hot Tea Maker and Kettle to heat water to 180-190 degrees Fahrenheit; it should take two to three minutes.
Pour the water into the mug with the matcha. Use a chasen whisk to combine the two for 10-15 seconds. Next, enjoy! You can always alter your matcha to be foamy or thicker with additional whisking or more matcha. If you frequently drink this tea, consider using an electric kettle with temperature settings so you can brew the water right to the appropriate temp for matcha and not have to wait for boiling water to cool.