If you haven’t heard about matcha yet, I’m sure you won’t be able to avoid it for long because it has become the trendiest of drinks. Read on and I’ll take you through the steps of enjoying the perfect cup of matcha.
Getting a solid cup of matcha used to be hard to come by, but now every neighbourhood java joint features this elegant smooth green tea beverage.
What is matcha you might ask? Matcha is a finely ground powder that is made from green tea. Matcha is a stable ingredient used in Japanese cuisine –from using it in baking to dying noodles. Drinking matcha in beverage form, specifically in the form of a latte, has become very popular and super trendy. You can thank Starbucks for the beginning of matcha lattes in North America. However, many underground cafes are preparing matcha the authentic way by whisking with hot water. To see this in action, hit up Neo Coffee Bar in the St. Lawrence Market for an authentic perfect cup and real matcha experience. They also offer an array of matcha desserts. So if you’re really in the matcha mood, hit em up.
Another reason matcha has become trendy, is because it is often prized for its health benefits. Matcha is a common ingredient now in weight loss pills and its supposed ability to burn fat. Recent research has found a very weak link between matcha and wt. loss and has yet to prove any real results.
Matcha has gotten a lot of attention because of its antioxidant contents that can protect our cells from being damaged and may have protective effects from disease. Research around this concludes there may be benefits but they are minimal. Matcha can still be a great alternative to high calorie sugary drinks, so why not give it a try.
One thing many people might not know is that making matcha requires attention and careful preparation. One wrong move and you may burn the tea which can be a major pain seeing how expensive authentic pure matcha is. We’re talking around $20 bucks for a few ounces.
Choosing Your Matcha
This grade is the top brass of grades –it has a bright green colour and an incredible smooth flavour. This grade is best prepared with solely hot water and shouldn’t be used in smoothies or lattes –don’t mess with its purity!
This grade is more realistic in terms of price and for many who are not matcha snobs, this may be the matcha for you. Not as bright in colour as the ceremonial grade, this matcha works well in baking, smoothies or lattes to add a bit of umph to it.
There’s a third grade out there that you must be aware of. I call it the tainted grade. You may find cheap matcha out there, but be sure to check the ingredients list. Some matcha out there are only really made up of ¼ matcha and the rest is mixed with sugar and powdered milk. So look for unsweetened matcha for the real thing.
What You Need
- A tea kettle
- A matcha bowl or any ordinary bowl
- Ceremonial grade matcha
- A matcha bamboo whisk or any ordinary whisk
- A matcha teaspoon or any ordinary teaspoon
* I am a bit of a matcha snob and rely entirely on my matcha equipment, but quite honestly these substitutes work fine and make you look less like a pretentious hipster *
Step 1: Boil Your Water
Listen carefully. This part is important. Your water temp can make or break the perfect cup. Once your water is boiled, place about ½ cup into a tea cup and let it sit a few minutes until it cools down to 180-190 degrees.
Place 1.5 teaspoons of matcha into matcha bowl and then use a whisk to gently break up and the clumps –you want it too look like a very thin powder. If you have a sifter, use that.
Once the water was cooled down, pour the teacup of water slowly into the matcha mixture in the matcha bowl.
Step 4: Figure 8s
This next step requires a bit of fancy technique. Picture figure eights in your head and use your whisk to follow that pattern. Your matcha is ready once the mixture fills your bowl with tons of bubbles and turns frothy.
You’re done and you can now reward yourself with a perfect cup of matcha. Enjoy plain, or add honey or agave syrup.
I know some of us feel like we should cut back a tad on our coffee intake, so next time coffee hour hits try a cup of matcha instead. Matcha still contains caffeine but less than a cup of coffee, so to ease your caffeine addiction try a soothing cup of matcha, and it may be a complete game-changer.
Has matcha changed your life? Comment below if it has!
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