With Matcha shops sprouting up from LA to New York, Japan’s ancient powdered green tea is having its moment of fame in North America. Having ten times the antioxidants and amino acids found in a cup of steeped green tea and the added benefits of chlorophyll and fiber, Matcha, a Japanese powdered green tea, is what is keeping us younger, slimmer and smarter right now. Its versatility has cleared its pathway into bakeries, kitchens and bars across the country, but its smooth and satisfying, rich umami taste is what gives it staying power.
Powdered tea has fallen in and out of popularity throughout the ages. First introduced during the Song Dynasty in China, it fell out of fashion then but resurfaced in Japan during the 11th century by way of traveling Japanese Zen Buddhist monks. By the 15th century, Sado, the Way of Tea, or the Japanese Tea Ceremony, ritualized the use of matcha. Sado was based on principles of peace, balance, purity and respect and Matcha was, and is, known to induce a more relaxed, focused, meditative state*.
*The amino acid, L Theanine, naturally occurring in green tea and found in concentrated amounts in matcha, increases alpha wave frequency in the brain, thus creating a relaxed state.
Matcha is super concentrated in both the garden and the factory. Tea plants that are cultivated for matcha are grown under shade cloths that keep them from photosynthesizing. The result is an almost iridescent, blue-green leaf that is rich in chlorophyll, amino acids and the antioxidant that tea is so famous for: polyphenols. The fibrous stems and veins are removed in processing and then the leaf is finely milled, traditionally between two granite slabs.
Our favorite time of year to enjoy Matcha is all year long. Versatile, Amai Matcha can be heated in a cup of your favorite warm milk during winter months, or you can add ice to your latte as a way to cool down in the heat of summer. In this video, we demonstrate making an iced Amai Matcha Latte.
Fore more of our cool, crisp and colorful iced tea ideas, download our free Iced Tea Recipe Guide!