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Matcha — One Tea, Many Uses

If you’re a fan of tea and tea-based beverages, you have probably heard of matcha. Matcha, a type of green tea originating in East Asia, has recently taken the world by storm, and can now be found in cafés and tea shops internationally. Many shops and cafés specializing exclusively in matcha-based products and beverages have opened and gained popularity as well. The tea has been featured in many articles, blogs, and videos on the internet, discussing the tea’s various uses and benefits. The popularity and versatility of matcha have captured the public’s attention, leaving many to wonder about the nature of the tea.

What is matcha? 

Matcha is a green tea made in a unique way — instead of steeping tea leaves in the traditional tea-brewing manner, matcha tea leaves are ground into a fine powder and mixed into water. While other tea plants are often grown in the sun, matcha leaves are grown in the shade, promoting increased chlorophyll production within the leaves. The abundance of chlorophyll within matcha leaves causes them to have a bright-green appearance, an iconic aspect of the matcha plant that is present within the powdered tea as well. Once the matcha leaves have reached full maturity, they are hand-picked, and their stems and veins are removed. At this point, they are ground into the fine powder that the world knows as matcha tea.

What is the origin of matcha?

In China, tea was traditionally made by grinding tea leaves and mixing or “beating” them with water. After teapots became popularized, this method of tea-making was widely replaced with steeping whole tea leaves within a teapot. However, in Japan, the traditional “beaten” tea-brewing process remained popular and soon became a widespread method to create tea. This was largely due to Eisai, a Japanese Zen priest who studied abroad in China and connected the making of Chinese “beaten tea” with Japanese Buddhist meditation rituals. Eisai’s tea-drinking rituals soon birthed the Japanese art of the tea ceremony, which is still widely practiced in Japan today.

What health benefits does matcha have?

Matcha, like other green teas, contains many antioxidants that aid in promoting health. Green teas contain catechins, a specific family of antioxidants that are well-known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Matcha in particular possesses a large amount of the catechin EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which is believed to have anticancer properties. Many studies have shown an association between drinking green tea and health benefits such as weight loss and the prevention of heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Other studies illustrate a connection between drinking green tea, and lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Matcha also features high amounts of L-theanine, an amino acid that aids in reducing stress and anxiety.

What are the culinary uses for matcha?

Matcha is used in many products! In addition to the traditional matcha tea, in which matcha powder is whisked in either hot or cold water, other methods of matcha tea making exist. Matcha milk tea can be made by mixing matcha with cold milk, and may be served with toppings such as boba or lychee. Matcha tea lattes are made by adding matcha powder to steamed milk. Matcha can also be added to cold foam or cream, which can be used as toppings to other drinks. 

Matcha powder doesn’t need to be confined to drink making — it can also be used to craft and flavor food products as well. Green tea ice cream, a delicacy that is served in many Asian restaurants, is frequently made with matcha powder. Matcha can provide a unique flavor to baked goods such as cookies, cakes, and other pastries, and it can be used as a healthy addition to oatmeal, yogurt, and smoothies.

Are there any other uses for matcha?

The unique flavor and properties of matcha make it a wonderful addition to many health products! Matcha’s powerful and pleasant aroma, along with its antioxidant properties, can be enjoyed in bath salts, foot soaks, and face masks, all of which will leave your skin soft and revitalized. Because matcha is a finely-ground powder, it may also be used as an exfoliant, and can be included in body scrubs and foot scrubs. Health products featuring matcha may be found in many drug stores, beauty stores, and bath product stores internationally.

In conclusion, matcha can be used in a variety of ways, both inside and outside of the culinary world. The wide range of food, beverages, and health products matcha is included in ensures that it may offer benefits to everyone! Those who are keen on matcha’s unique taste and flavor may use it in food and beverage making, while others who prefer its scent can stick to matcha-inclusive bath and body products. Either way, matcha’s health benefits are found in each and every matcha product, allowing all to enjoy the tea in the way they like best!

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