What is Matcha?
In short, matcha is a whole leaf Japanese green tea that has been ground into a fine powder.
How is it made?
Matcha powder is made from tea leaves that have been grown and processed in a very different manner than other types of tea. The tea plants are covered several weeks before they are plucked in order to avoid direct sunlight. As a result, the leaves are a darker shade of green and contain more nutrients.
After the finest tea buds are harvested, machines are used to partially air dry the leaves and to separate the body of the leaf from the veins and stems. The remaining leaf is ground to a fine powder on stone mills at a very slow speed in order to avoid oxidation due to friction and heat. It takes approximately one hour to produce 40g of tea per mill.
The Many Benefits of Matcha
Matcha is not infused into water; it is whisked into suspension. Therefore, the non-soluble components of tea, such as Vitamin A and leaf fiber, are ingested. Matcha contains much higher concentrations of antioxidants than all other types of tea.
In addition to the many benefits provided by antioxidants, matcha is known to improves focus and is a natural source of energy.
How to Make Matcha at Home
- Heat water to between 160°F and 180°F.
- Sift 1/2 tsp matcha using a tea strainer into a small bowl or mug.
- Measure out 3-4oz of water at the correct temperature and pour over the sifted matcha.
- Using a bamboo chasen (matcha whisk), whisk matcha & water in a W shape until there is a nice layer of froth on top, about 20 seconds. Make sure that there are no clumps.
- Drink matcha as is for a traditional Japanese matcha.
- For a hot matcha latte, froth milk to 140°-160°F and pour on top of matcha. Stir to combine the two.
- For an iced matcha latte, pour prepared matcha over a 16oz glass filled 3/4 with ice. Stir, then add milk to top.
Matcha Tips & Tricks
Typically no sweetener or milk is added to traditional matcha, but these additions often help people begin to enjoy matcha and all its benefits.
For maximum freshness, store matcha powder in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, such as a refrigerator. Unlike other types of tea, matcha can be frozen.