August 11, 2020

Matcha: What It Is and Tasty Recipes

Written by Kumiko Toya

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between matcha tea and green tea? While they both come from the same plant and processed as tea leaves, that is where their similarities end! Find out more in the article.  

matcha and green tea leavesGreen tea leaves (left) and matcha powder (right). image credits   maxpixel.net , Evanhoever

About five years ago, “matcha”, a Japanese word for “grounded tea”, started appearing everywhere: In lattes, smoothies, cookies, cupcakes, ice cream, and more. Admired for its grassy flavor, ample health benefits and also superior Instagram-ability that everything it touches turns a delightful shade of green, matcha has quickly become a trend across the country.

dunkin matcha 2
Dunkin’ introduced a new latte in February, 2020: Matcha Latte®

Tea plants to harvest green tea leaves are grown in the sun. After being cropped, they are steamed, rolled, then dried before packaging in the form of loose-tea or tea bags. On the other hand, matcha leaves are systematically kept in the shade before harvested. Only the young, small leaves are carefully selected to be used for matcha. They are handpicked, removed from all the stems and veins, steamed, then slowly ground down into a fine, velvety green powder.

tea field top
A tea field in Japan image credit zuzu

Though both green tea and matcha are rich in antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that deliver health benefits, green tea is consumed as an infusion and the leaves are discarded. On the other hand, matcha is ingested as an entire tea leaf. One glass of matcha has the antioxidant content of 10 glasses of regular green tea. Matcha holds the ultimate green tea powers and is called “superfood”.


matcha makingJapanese tea ceremony image credit www.all-free-photos.com


Green tea has been the most popular kind of soft drink in Japan and consumed for morning, noon, or night. On the contrary, matcha has been only used in tea ceremonies, an artistic pastime that features the mindfulness “ichi-go ichi-e” (every encounter is unique and can never be reproduced). Matcha remained a luxury good reserved for the noble and wealthy until about 100 years ago. Gradually, matcha has taken root among common people in Japan.



matcha in recipesToday, matcha is a part of many recipes in Japan: Drinks, baking, sweets, dressings, seasonings, and even in cocktails. Tempura served with matcha-salt (left) and matcha sake (right). credit Christian Kaden

oi ocha“Oi Ocha”, meaning “Tea, please!”, Japanese unsweetened ready-to-drink green tea has been a big hit among health-conscious consumers in the U.S. credit amy

Until just recently, matcha was only found at Asian supermarkets, organic stores, or online. More and more local grocery stores are carrying several selections of matcha these days, so next time you are shopping your groceries, check out their tea section!


matcha at grocery storeMore local grocery stores are carrying matcha. Before putting a can in the basket, read its label to know if it is what you are looking for.

When choosing quality matcha, make sure to purchase “pure” matcha powder. “matcha powder mix” or “sweetened matcha” contain sugar or milk powder. Sometimes it is written “ceremonial grade” or “culinary grade” on the package. Although ceremonial is supposed to be the highest grade of matcha and culinary the second, unfortunately these gradings are often not trustworthy in the rapidly growing Western market of matcha.

matcha labelLook for the country of origin on the back. Matcha from Japan is the best👍

Instead, it is wise to look for the country of origin. Matcha that was grown and processed in Japan is likely to be your best option for high quality. It also helps to know that 80% of all the matcha produced in Japan today is from either Aichi prefecture or Kyoto prefecture.

Whether you are new to matcha or already a matcha lover, you will love these easy and delicious recipes!

Dalgona Matcha Latte

dalgona 1

Have you seen how much Dalgona coffee is blowing up online? While we are at home, the South Korean whipped coffee caused a sensation among the younger generation. Let’s make it even better. Try Dalgona matcha latte!

Ingredients: 2 servings
2 tablespoons Matcha powder
2 tablespoons Sugar
1/2 cups Heavy Cream
1 - 1/2 cups Milk or Soy milk

matcha and sugar

1. Place matcha powder and sugar in a bowl. Mix well.

add heavy cream

2. Add about one third of heavy cream and start beating. 

done

3 Add the remaining heavy cream gradually, about one third at a time. Continue beating until creamy. 

matcha latte

4 Pour milk to two glasses, then spoon the whipped matcha on top. 

dont forget photo

5. Take a photo!

drink

6. Stir and enjoy! The flavor is rich and sweet with a nice hint of matcha. So good!  

 

Matcha Madeleine

matcha madeleine

Adorable shell shaped cookies with grassy, slightly bitter flavor and the vibrant green color. These matcha madeleines are easy to make and perfect for your afternoon green tea!

Ingredients: yield 12 cookies

1/2 cups Butter
1/2 cups Sugar
2 Eggs
7/8 cups  All-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Matcha powder
1/2 teaspoons Baking powder


Instruction:

grease the pan
1. Preheat the oven to 360 F (180 C). Lightly grease the pan with canola oil or using baking spray.

egg mixture

2. Put butter in a bowl and melt it in the microwave oven. Add eggs and sugar and whisk together. 

mixed

4. Shift the flour, matcha powder, and baking powder together. Mix the flour mixture into the egg mixture, until combined.

drop the pan

5. Spoon batter into the pan. Drop the pan gently on the kitchen counter a couple of times to evenly spread the batter.

baked

6. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

allow to cool

7. Allow to cool slightly and remove from the pan and let cool completely.

serving 1

8. Enjoy! 

24 wrapping 2They can be a great gift, too!

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