What is Matcha?
You might have heard about matcha before, but weren’t exactly sure what it was.
Matcha is a high-grade green tea that has been ground into a very fine powder. Traditionally, in Japan, matcha is the center of the tea ceremony, where the powder is whisked into hot water and is presented as a frothy green drink.
How it’s grown
Matcha is a shade-grown plant, alluding to the process by which the tea is cultivated. Camellia Sinensis, the plant from which the match comes, is protected from direct sunlight. Only a controlled amount is allowed to filter through the shading. The entire process can be labor intensive but is worthwhile since it alters the chemical makeup of the final tea leaves. The lack of sunlight reduces the plant’s photosynthesis in the leaves, which alters the natural levels of caffeine, sugars, antioxidants, and theanine, giving the matcha its signature flavor.
Types of Matcha
Outside ceremonial use in Japan, matcha has grown in popularity around the world and is used in more than just making tea. Although coming from the same plant, there are different grades or qualities of matcha that are produced and sold.
Mainly, there are two grades:
This grade of matcha is the highest quality. A great deal of care and attention is given in the cultivation process to ensure that the harvest consists of the best buds and leaves. This type of matcha is reserved for ceremonies and is enjoyed without any additives or sweeteners.
Culinary grade matcha is more robust and sometimes includes tea leaves from more than just one source. It may also include stems from the plant and can be a duller shade of green. This makes it less expensive than ceremonial grade.
How Matcha is Used Today
Nowadays matcha is used for more than just making tea. Many people have found that the green powder has a unique flavor and can be implemented into several dishes, both sweet and savory. Matcha can be used as an additive in smoothies, lattes, ice creams, cakes, and pastries. However you may like it, it is sure to be delicious.