M A T C H A
There is more to Matcha than meets the eye! When I first bought Matcha online from Japan, I had no idea about the different grades available so I’m hoping to make a simple guide as well as a recipe for quick and easy Matcha Latte.
What is Matcha?
Matcha is a powder made from stone ground green tea leaves. It is well known for its health benefits being rich in chlorophyll, antioxidants, fiber and nutrients. It is unique from other green teas because the whole leaf is ingested vs just drinking the water that the leaves were brewed in. In fact, one glass of matcha is equal to 10 glasses of brewed green tea leaves in terms of nutritional content and has 137 times more antioxidants!
Matcha tea has been consumed by monks for centuries. It is a mood enhancer due to a rare amino acid called L-theanine which relaxes the mind, enhances the mood and is perfect for meditation. The cool thing about L-Theanine is that stress on the body causes the brain to be in an excitable, agitated state creating beta waves while L-Theanine creates alpha waves, which results in a more relaxed alertness. This amino acid is common in teas but there it is 5x more potent in Matcha vs other common teas.
Lastly, it boosts the metabolism, lowers cholesterol and blood sugar and provides vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc and magnesium. What I found most interesting was a unique antioxidant called catechins. The EGCg catechin (epigallocatechin gallate) has potent cancer-fighting properties. It is so potent that it counteract the effects of free radicals such as from pollution, UV rays, radiation, and chemicals, which can lead to cell and DNA damage. How amazing!
Different Types of Grades :
Matcha Green Tea is separated into main categories Culinary Grade or Ceremonial Grade. The grades are further divided based on the quality (texture, density, colour), processing (fineness, exposure to oxygen, how it was ground, any additional treatment) and ingredients used (stem or leaves).
Let’s start with the Ceremonial Grade :
- highest quality matcha available = $$$
- it has a sweet taste
- it is meant to be whisked with hot water and consumed as is without any added ingredients or sweeteners
- its more vibrant green in colour
- made from the youngest tea leaves with stems and veins discarded
- leaves are then stone-ground
Next the Culinary Grade :
- as the name implies, this is more commonly used for cooking or baking
- it’s taste is more bitter and less sweet than ceremonial
- it smells more of chlorophyll aka like fresh grass
- it’s texture is smooth and never coarse
- it can be mixed with sweeteners in cooking, baking or drinking
To add to Culinary Grade – it is further divided into 5 types :
- Premium Grade : for everyday use, a slightly lower price
- Cafe Grade : for cooking and baking, very strong flavour and made with less delicate leaves than ceremonial and premium grade matchas. One of the more expensive types.
- Ingredient Grade : for recipes that contain dairy (ice cream, latte, smoothies), it has a thicker consistency than other types
- Kitchen Grade : more economical, made with less delicate leaves. Best for large scale brews.
- Classic Grade : Most economic although still a high grade. More widely available than other grades.
I chose an organic culinary grade from leaves from Uji, Japan as I wanted to make lattes as well as bake with it.
Recipe : Matcha Latte
This makes 1 cup of Matcha Latte. I use 1 teaspoon of Matcha per every cup of milk/non-dairy product.
- Add 1 teaspoon of Matcha to your cup and add roughly 1 tablespoon of hot water
- Stir or whisk the powder with the hot water until blended. Avoid clumps.
- Add sugar or sweetener if you prefer
- Boil/Steam your milk/non-dairy product. I used my Nespresso Frother and added 200ml of organic whole milk
- Combine the milk/non-dairy product with the hot water Matcha mix
- Stir until everything is combined
It’s as easy as that! I hope this helps you decide which grade you wish to buy and I hope you enjoy the benefits of Matcha as much as I have!