Matcha green tea has seen a recent surge in popularity though it was a staple part of Japanese tea ceremonies of the 12th century. Enthusiasts are evincing interest in this finely milled green tea powder owing to its purported health benefits, distinct flavor and visual appeal. Matcha tea is made out of green tea leaves that are stone ground into a fine powder. Thereafter it is sifted and whisked with hot water to derive its final form. It is more expensive than many other tea varieties. The best Matcha tea leaves are grown and processed in the southern regions of Japan.
Matcha Green Tea – Manufacturing Process and Benefits
The matcha tea shrubs are guarded from sunlight and kept in shade for about 20 days before harvesting. The plucked tea leaves can be optionally rolled out before drying them. If they are rolled out, the tea leaves become Gyokuro, a type of premium green tea. The leaves plainly dried out become Tencha leaves which are used for making matcha green tea. The leaves are thereafter de-stemmed and de-veined (for a softer taste). They are then stone-ground to a fine powder.
Matcha gree tea is used to make two kinds of teas: koicha, a thick tea made from the highest quality powder and usucha that is made out of the second-highest grade tea powder. The powders are usually not interchanged. Matcha tea is essentially a suspension and not a brew. The sifted matcha powder is whisked to a frothy mix with hot water and the entire tea leaf is consumed along with the water.
Specific equipment is used for making the matcha green tea: the traditional chawan or tea bowl is used to make and drink the tea. The chashaku or the bamboo tea spoon is made use of to scoop the tea and place in the chawan. Matcha Green Tea – Health Benefits Growing matcha in the shade helps to increase the tea’s chlorophyll as well as the naturally occurring amino acid L-Theanine contents. The increased L-Theanine content purportedly improves mental focus. The action of the amino acid in combination with the caffeine in tea helps to avoid the typical crash that would occur if coffee was consumed. This amino acid has the ability to both calm and stimulate the body system. Matcha would also deliver more phytonutrients to the body because all of the leaves in the suspension are consumed.
Creative Uses of Matcha
Green tea and specifically matcha green tea is consumed by health-conscious individuals because of the presence of catechins which are powerful antioxidants that keep the harmful effects of free radicals at bay. In addition to drinking cold or warm matcha green tea, there exist many creative uses of the tea powder. The fresh grassy flavor of the matcha is the favorite of many a food connoisseur. It is infused into cocktails, mixed with dough used for making confectionery and biscuits and whipped into thick lattes. Here is a matcha green tea recipe that would surely whet your appetite as well as help you reach your fitness goals.
Matcha Green Tea and Zucchini Noodles Seasoned With Honey and Ginger Sauce
Buckwheat Noodles (spiked with matcha green tea powder)
– 8 oz Zucchini (large)
– 1 noOlive Oil
– 3 tablespoonsGrated Ginger
– 1 tablespoon Peeled and grated garlic
– 3 clovesSesame Oil
– 2 teaspoonsHoney
– 2 tablespoonsSoy Sauce
– 2 tablespoonsJuice of 1 Meyer LemonFresh Mint and Basil
– 15 to 20 leavesA little sea salt
Add the salt to a little water and bring it to a boil. Cook the noodles according to instructions. Cut the zucchini into long noodles using a peeler. Place the zucchini noodles in a colander and sprinkle required salt. Drain for at least 15 minutes over a bowl. Saute the ginger and garlic in the heated olive oil to a gentle golden brown in a pan for 2 to 5 minutes in medium heat. Stir constantly to avoid the contents sticking to the pan. Remove the pan from the fire and add the soy sauce, sesame oil, lemon juice and honey to form a smooth sauce. Add the sauce to the buckwheat noodles and toss till it to form a smooth coating over the noodles. Thinly slice the rolled mint and basil leaves. Add the drained zucchini noodles (remove any remaining water) to the noodles and sauce and mix evenly. Serve chilled or at room temperature. This quantity makes four servings.
Calories: 350Fat: 14.5 gSat Fat: 1.9 gCarbs: 47.1 gFiber: 4.2 gSugar: 5.9 gProtein: 10.8 g