You’ve seen it on fancy cafe menus (matcha lattes!) and incorporated into desserts (matcha ice cream!), even positioned as a health ingredient mixed into juices, smoothies, chia seed puddings, cereals, dog treats... But what exactly is this exquisite green powder?
Let's break it down: matcha is just powdered green tea. The entire tea leaf is milled into a fine powder that has the texture of cornstarch and a vibrant green color. It can be consumed as tea or incorporated into a number of culinary and beauty uses. You’ll know good matcha when you taste it; the flavor is grassy and fresh, with a delicate sweetness.
Straight and pure is the best way to enjoy it. Whereas you drink “regular” tea by steeping the tea leaves in hot water, with matcha you whisk the powder with hot water and thus consume the entire tea leaf. This comes with plenty of health benefits (high antioxidants and tons of vitamins) but the bottom line is that it tastes amazing. It’s almost calorie-free (three per gram if anybody's really keeping track), and it makes you feel great. The way matcha releases caffeine is very different from coffee. Instead of a crash and burn and you get slow, steady, and concentrated energy.
Here’s how to make a good matcha:
- Sift a teaspoon of matcha powder into a bowl.
- Add 3 ounces hot water (175° F is the ideal temperature).
- Whisk until frothy.
—Kathy YL Chan
Kathy YL Chan is a tea authority based in NYC and Honolulu. She sources tea for private clients and consults for luxury brands on menus and retail tea lines. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @kathyylchan.