Meet your “Matcha”!

By Cristina Rebellon

It’s time to shine some love on matcha! In recent years, many restaurants and coffee shops have jumped on the matcha train.  However, this particular tea has been enjoyed for nearly a thousand years in many parts of Asia. (Scroll down for recipe!)

Matcha is a type of tea made from high-quality, young, green tea leaves (Camellia sinensis) that have been stone-ground into a very fine powder. The style that has come to prominence most recently in the West is “latte style” where a little bit of milk and sweetener is added. 

Drinking matcha tea involves consuming the entire leaf suspended (dissolved, as a powder) in water. This differs from standard drinking green tea, which is steeped then the leaves are mostly removed. Matcha is also unique in that the matcha tea plant is shaded about three weeks prior to cultivation.

Hands holding a cup of matcha - yum!

What does matcha taste like?

Green matcha powder has a smooth, earthy flavor that is particularly pleasurable when consumed in frothy tea form with the addition of milk and agave. When matcha is used as an ingredient in cooking or baking (coconut matcha macaroons, anyone?) it balances out sweet flavors.

Why should I drink matcha?

Matcha is a source of antioxidants in tea or natural compounds that have the potential ability to protect healthy cells against UV exposure and other forms of oxidative stress. A 2003 research study from the University of Colorado showed that matcha contained over 100 times the amount of the antioxidant ECGC than green tea.

Does it have a lot of caffeine?

At about 34 milligrams of caffeine, one cup of prepared matcha has about one third the caffeine of one cup of coffee, which has about 90 milligrams of caffeine. But the final amount may depend on how it’s prepared.

Matcha powder

How do I prepare matcha tea?

Bowl and whisk method

1. Add 1-2 teaspoons of matcha powder to bowl through a fine sifter.
2. Add 2 oz. of hot water that is just under boiling temperature.
3. Whisk vigorously in side to side motion until the tea is frothy.
4. Enjoy straight from the bowl!
5. Optional: Add milk, honey or maple syrup

Cup Method

1. Heat about 8 oz. of water.
2. Add one or two drops of near-boiling water to 1 teaspoon of matcha powder to make a paste.
3. Add the remaining hot water to paste and stir.
4. Adjust water and matcha to taste.
5. Optional: Add milk, honey or maple syrup.

Anschutz Health and Wellness Center