You might have noticed that I usually don’t do any collaborations on this blog. I like to keep the blog clean. However, this time I’m going to make an exception because I need to warn and tell you about different matcha green teas. When you haven’t tried matcha before, and you’re going to try the poor quality of matcha, then it might ruin your experience with matcha forever. Some of you have asked me what kind of matcha do you use. I couldn’t recommend any since I thought that they are all the same. I was completely wrong.
After tasting precisely ten different matcha green teas, I can finally say that the quality matters and it is THE MOST important thing! The main reason is that bad quality matcha tastes BITTER. I have never thought that the quality of matcha green tea can be that different. A while ago I decided to team up with Matchaelogist because I believe that they have the best quality matcha straight from Japan with the best price (no they didn’t ask me to recommend their products or write this post). The other good part is that they deliver all over the world and I can get my matcha delivered in the middle of nowhere where I live.
If you have known me for a while, then you probably know my deep love to matcha tea and my matcha ritual. Right now I’m still at Uni and to be honest, the matcha has been my lifesaver to survive all the exams. It’s my favorite alternative for coffee and keeps me awake and focused. I have no idea if it’s a placebo effect or the Buddhist monks’ were right. I like to believe that it is the second option. I have read that the matcha was Buddhist monks’ daily ritual as they realized the meditational benefits of matcha, which provided them with sustained energy and a level of mental acuity that they had never experienced previously. Japanese Zen Buddhist monk, Eisai Myoan described matcha as a precious medicine, the ELIXIR of the immortals, encouraging the Japanese to take on this tea-drinking habit for its health benefits.
The first time I tried matcha tea I wasn’t a big fan. It had a BITTER taste, and I thought that it should taste like that?! I was completely WRONG. Best quality matcha shouldn’t taste bitter. It’s LIKE A COFFEE that taste depends a lot on the beans you use. In matcha tea, it’s the same. The taste depends A LOT on the matcha quality. There are different grades for all the blends (culinary matcha (C grade), premium grade (B grade) and ceremonial grade (A grade)). The first one is better for baking and the ceremonial grade is suitable for matcha latte (such as Meiko). Some even make a difference with ceremonial grade matcha. So, if you prefer to drink it without coconut milk or other milk, then I suggest you buy the extra good quality ceremonial grade matcha (such as Misaki or Matsu). I use only ceremonial grade matcha at home and I prefer to get all the beneficial thing from matcha right away.
Matcha lesson nr 1: What is matcha? (This is not an academical work. So, don’t wait for academical references) 😀
Unlike any other types of tea, matcha is a finely ground powder made from stone-grinding green tea leaves grown under unique conditions. The entire leaf is consumed, carrying with it a more sophisticated flavor profile as well as higher nutritional properties than any other types of tea.
It has long been consumed as natural medicine. Buddhist monk described matcha as “a healing medicine for a healthy life; an art for a long life.” Modern scientific research has confirmed matcha as an excellent source of naturally occurring antioxidants. It has approximately 137 times that of regular green tea.
Matcha also contributes to the state of ‘calming alertness’ that lasts for hours without the “lull” that usually follows a strong coffee after an hour or two. Because of this effect, matcha has historically been used by Zen Buddhist monks and samurai warriors to enhance their mental focus before practicing meditation sessions or stepping into arenas. It looks like that is the reason why it always works for my sleepy afternoon.
Matcha lesson nr 2: History?
- Matcha has evolved through a fascinating journey that first began in China, and continued to Japan.
- Matcha was Buddhist monks’ daily ritual as they realized the meditational benefits of matcha, which provided them with sustained energy and a level of mental acuity that they had never experienced previously.
- Japanese Zen Buddhist monk, Eisai Myoan described matcha as a precious medicine, the ELIXIR’ of the immortals’, encouraging the Japanese to take on this tea-drinking habit for its health benefits.
Matcha lesson nr 3: Health benefits?
- Matcha boosts the immune system
- Matcha improves the heart
- Matcha promotes healthy weight
- Matcha can reduce stress
- Matcha rejuvenates the skin
Matcha lesson nr 4: Best way to use it?
The short answer is on its own. Nowadays, matcha has been more and more people use it as an ‘ingredient’ in lattes and desserts which are mostly full of fats and sugars (I’m guilty of doing that as well :D). However, it was originally meant to be consumed on its own. That’s why I suggest you to learn how to brew matcha. That allows us to enjoy a moment of quiet joy.
Matcha lesson nr 5: Quality?
High-quality matcha should be deep electric ‘bluish green’ in color (same color as pine-tree leaves), as opposed to bright yellowish green. The deeper the green (almost bluish green), the higher the quality of matcha. To be honest when I did my first matcha, then I had a bad quality of matcha tea. So, I didn’t get that bluish color. I almost thought that all the images on the Internet are just edited. I was completely wrong.
Matcha lesson nr 6: When to drink it?
Mornings or sleepy afternoons. I prefer it afternoons. About a year ago I changed my afternoon coffee for matcha tea, and I must tell that it has been my life saver for sleepy afternoons.
It’s also essential that matcha is a ‘suspension’ tea and is meant to be consumed immediately after brewing (If it sits for too long. Otherwise, it will start to separate (matcha particles will settle at the bottom, revealing a transparent surface). Matcha will also turn more yellowish/brownish green color the longer you leave it (due to a natural process called oxidation, the same way that cut apples become brown after a while).
Matcha lesson nr 7: Fun Facts
- While brewing matcha floating air bubbles are considered ‘impolite’ in the tea ceremony.
- The traditional way how to hold the matcha bowl? Left hand at the bottom, right hand on the side, supporting the cup.
- Matcha doesn’t like metal (avoid contact with metal objects such as metal spoons etc. Use a wooden spoon or bamboo to add your matcha).
- Matcha is extremely sensitive to air & moisture and can oxidize and turn brownish/yellowish really quickly (keep it in the dark and airtight jar)
- Matcha used to be one of Japan’s best-kept secrets?!
Iced Matcha Latte
- 0,75 cup of water
- 2 bamboo spoons of matcha powder (I prefer ceremonial grade Meiko matcha on my latte)
- 1 tbsp full-fat organic coconut milk (choose the tin one and refrigerate overnight and use the firm part of the milk)
- Boil the water and let it cool down a little bit. Perfect temperature for matcha is 70-80° C/ 176° F (if you don’t have the thermometer use your thumb). When you use boiling water for matcha, then it will taste awful and you will lose all the good things you would like to get out of matcha. Also, remember that when you pour the water into a cup, then the temperature goes lower because the cup already takes a lot of heat for itself. When you can’t wait for your water to cool down, then just pour the water into a first cup and then the same water to another cup. After this, the water temperature is usually perfect.
- Add the matcha in a matcha cup or pot (use a wooden spoon or bamboo. Matcha doesn’t like metal).
- Pour only about few tablespoons of water on top of the matcha (just to make it wet). Not too much, because it might be hard to whisk. Whisk the mix with a bamboo matcha whisk. Whisk until there aren’t any matcha clumps.
- Add the remaining water and give the cup a little swirl until the resulting liquid is consistent. Add coconut milk. Let it cool down a little bit.
- Fill your glass with ice and pour matcha into glasses.
If you liked this recipe, then please leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram @healthylauracom or another platform. Your feedback is very valuable to me.
If you would love to try their matcha, then use the discount code “HEALTHYLAURA” for 15% off for your Matchaelogist purchase.
Warm matcha recipe here.