I love my green tea. I really, REALLY love my green tea.
While just a few days ago I was crying about constant rain, this week the weather is absolutely beautiful and it’s slowly starting to feel like summer- and that’s when my green tea addiction gets out of hand. I love making big jugs of green tea, adding some good maple syrup and sipping on it all.summer.long. If you follow me on Snapchat (@Paula13) then you know that I have a new tea obsession: Matcha.
Soo.. matcha.. what is it and is it really all that different from regular green tea?
Matcha is a high-quality, finely milled green tea powder that is unique to Japan, grown in unique conditions. It’s cultivated quite differently than regular green tea- young leaves are protected from the sun- this lets them become a very bright green color with an increased amount of chlorophyll. The leaves are hand-picked and steamed which helps preserve the bright color and then they’re dried, de-stemmed, de-vained and milled. Because this process is meticulous (it takes one hour to get a half an ounce of matcha) matcha retains nearly 100% of its nutrients- like antioxidants and phytonutrients. It also contains some caffeine (about quarter the caffeine of coffee) so you might want to give it a try if coffee makes you jittery.
Finding good-quality matcha.
So, full disclosure here, I only recently got into matcha, but I already know a few things you should look for, when buying it. I buy this one as it was recommended by my friend- it’s ceremonial grade, organic matcha. When looking to try matcha, don’t be surprised when you see how pricy it can be. It also shouldn’t contain any other ingredients (like sugar, milk) it should be a vibrant, green color (this is very important) and come from Japan. Store your matcha away from the light and refrigerate after opening, to assure freshness.
Traditionally, matcha is brewed using water that is just below a boiling point, but I love making cold brew matcha- using filtered water and ice. It’s amazingly refreshing, has an amazing flavor and I’d go as far as to say that it’s slightly addicting. And hey, all those antioxidants ain’t bad, either, knowhatimsayin?
Cold Brew Summer Matcha Drink
1/2 lime (sliced or juiced)
1/2 lemon (sliced or juiced)
few fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon matcha
16 oz filtered water
good maple syrup (optional)
Matcha doesn’t actually dissolve so when “brewing” it with cold water, you need to mix it very, very well to temporarily suspend the tea particles in the water. This is why I make this drink using either a bottle or a big cocktail shaker. I put ice, water and my matcha powder in a shaker (you can also use a glass water bottle or a mason jar) and shake it vigorously for about a minute. The matcha should be smooth and creamy. I then pour it over ice with slightly muddled mint, some lime and lemon slices and finish off with a little maple syrup (which is totally optional here). This makes two servings.
Because matcha doesn’t dissolve, I don’t really make this ahead like with “regular” green tea, where I make one or two jugs at once and keep them in the fridge. If you let your drink “sit” then you’ll notice that the powder will eventually settle at the bottom of your glass- this is why it’s best to drink it right away (and trust me, you won’t have problems doing this).
Have you tried matcha?