Have you ever tried taking a sip of Matcha Green Tea? Did it ever pop up your mind and wondered what it tastes like? Well, if you haven’t tried it yet, the long wait is over! In this article, you’ll finally learn the real flavor of Matcha-ahhh!
Remember the first time you nipped a bar of dark chocolate? How about spinach? Or the first time you drank red wine? These experiences are very similar to that sensation of Matcha. Getting curious now? Here, you’ll discover the mysterious and distinctive taste of Matcha as you find out more about its origin, benefits, grades, and how to make it.
What is Matcha?
Matcha comes from the Japanese word “ma” which means ‘’to rubbed or ground’’, while “cha” means “tea”. Unlike the regular green tea where the leaves are infused in water then removed, it is made by taking young tea leaves and grinding them into a bright green powder. The powder is then whisked with hot water.
According to a brief history, it was the Chinese Zen Buddhist monks who practiced the preparation of powdered tea over 900 years ago. Ensuring a careful step-by-step method, Traditional Matcha preparation is consequently ceremonial and serious by nature. The Japanese, who have been preparing and sipping the frothy tea drink for a long time, adopted this custom in the 11th century until now.
Japanese Matcha tea is a fine powder made from green tea leaves. Like all tea, Matcha is made from the tea plant Camellia Sinensis. Tea cultivated specifically for Matcha is primarily grown in two Japanese regions: Uji in Kyoto and Nishio in the Aichi prefecture. Tea leaves grown for Matcha are especially shade-grown for three weeks.
Shielding the plant from direct sunlight incites an overproduction of chlorophyll, which contributes to Matcha’s distinctive bright green color. Besides, shading the plant yields an increase in the amino acid Theanine, which is thought to give the drink its deep umami flavor.
When the plants are ready for harvest, the leaves are hand-picked, steamed, dried, destemmed, and deveined. The pure leaves, known as “tencha” at this stage, are then expertly ground into a fine powder. While the grinding process is traditionally done with a stone mill or mortar and pestle, powdering machines are now often used to produce a higher volume of Matcha in a shorter amount of time.
What Does Matcha Taste Like?
Imagine yourself going back to those good old days when it was your first time eating spinach. Reverse into Matcha and there you have it. Can you describe the sensation? It’s indiscernible and unique. You can’t describe the taste with just one sip.
So, you take another one until it’s so addictive that you can’t get enough of it. Matcha’s creamy, rich, aromatic, and biting taste remains in your mouth and because of its high chlorophyll and amino acid content, it has a unique vegetal taste and a lasting sweet aftertaste.
But what’s more? The taste of Matcha depends also on its quality. Cheadle mentioned that a good quality Matcha is bright green and smooth. An average Matcha will be yellow and grainy to touch—the tougher leaves of the tea bush. The quality of leaves impacts the taste. A good Matcha will not taste bitter at all. Instead, there will be a slightly sweet taste when you try it.
Matcha’s Health Benefits
Matcha green teas offer an incomparable amount of nutrition, unlike your regular green teas. Studies show that when you drink Matcha, you consume the entire leaf, receiving 100% of the nutrients of the leaf. They say that 1 cup of Matcha is equivalent to 10 cups of regularly brewed green tea.
Matcha is packed with 137 antioxidants and it boosts your immunity to the powerful catechins and EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate), which is believed to have cancer-fighting effects on the body.
It helps in preventing other illnesses like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and a lot more. It also improves your metabolism and burns calories that can even encourage weight loss. It detoxifies and relaxes your body without feeling drowsy.
It’s rich in vitamins and minerals such as Chlorophyll, Vitamin A, B Vitamins, Vitamin C, Fluorine, and Flavonoids. Matcha can also enhance your energy and give you more brain power without the jitters or crash throughout the day.
The Matcha Grades
In school, students will be ranked according to their grades. This goes well with Matcha. Generally, people who are not familiar with Matcha Green Tea or even first-timers are not familiar with Matcha Grades. Here are the following Matcha Grades that you must know:
- Ceremonial Grade is traditionally served whisked just with hot water and is the highest grade, made from the finest leaves plucked from the first harvest. Also, it is best served for special occasions. Traditionally ceremonial grade Matcha is not made with other sweeteners or additives, such as milk.
- Latte Grade is not a common grade you will find. Like ceremonial, it is also made from the first harvest leaves and is best balanced with milk in a latte. It’s a high-quality product that’s more affordable for everyday Matcha drinkers.
- Culinary Grade is traditionally meant for baking or Matcha smoothies. Culinary grade matcha is generally made from the second or third harvest. When baking, the culinary grade will still have that vegetal and nutty shapes in your baked goods.
Choose the Best Matcha
After reading all those facts, now you wanted to personally try a Matcha Green Tea. But how do you choose and buy Matcha? If you wanted to buy one, here are the factors that you need to consider: the type, quality, and grade.
It’s because not all Matcha brands are created equally the same. It can either make or break your first experience so better yet, choose wisely. After purchasing your Matcha, see the following guide for you to know your green tea more:
- The Origin. Look carefully at where the Matcha comes from. Most Matcha drinkers buy Matcha from Japan, where the practice of harvesting has been popularized and honed, and where the agricultural laws are much more stringent as they say. If the Matcha comes from heavily polluted areas, like parts of China, it’s more likely that the Matcha itself contains high levels of metals or lead. While looking at the origin, always choose an Organic Matcha first. Since you consume the actual leaves of the tea, it’s important that what you eat isn’t laced with harmful pesticides.
- Vibrant Hue. This is the second thing that you need to look at when you’re selecting your Matcha. Setting aside taste for a moment, the more vibrant green the Matcha, the higher the quality or grade. In comparison, non-organic Matcha can use artificial stimulants that control for color/taste that can be deceptive concerning quality. Few things can influence the color of Matcha. A browner as opposed to vibrant green Matcha can mean the leaves weren’t properly shaded or were harvested later, both of which can influence the flavor and health benefits. This might mean a Matcha that tastes like bitter dirt, without the sweet and nutty notes that make it so smooth to drink. Moreover, when exposed to oxygen or water, Matcha oxidizes,, and turns brown, which negatively influences flavor.
- Smooth Taste. The most evident flavor notes to consider when buying Matcha is how smooth and balanced flavors are when it’s in the mouth. In the highest-quality Matcha brands, you’ll notice vegetal notes, a pleasant, but not astringent bitterness, nuttiness, and a smooth sweetness. Grassy and sweet, without tasting of dirt.
3 Ways to Make Matcha
There are two methods on how to make Matcha. You have the Traditional method and the Modern Method. Whichever technique you use, most Matcha drinkers summarizes them in these three options:
- Whisk. Making Matcha with a traditional bamboo whisk is a great way to be present and find a mindful moment with your Matcha. The fine bamboo prongs on the whisk do a wonderful job at breaking up the fine clumps of Matcha and creating a smooth cup with a frothy finish.
- Shake. If you are on the go or in a hurry, making Matcha can be as easy as combining Matcha powder with water in a bottle and giving it a good shake. They recommend using a blender bottle to make sure you break up any fine clumps. Careful not to use hot water for this method because shaking your Matcha with hot water will cause your bottle to explode. So, use cold water.
- Blend. If you are at home and don’t have a whisk, you can add a scoop of Matcha with water in your blender and blend away. As they say, Matcha also makes a good healthy smoothie!
Have you decided to finally grab your Matcha? Well, if you want to know more, feel free to connect with us through the comment section below. Tell us your Matcha experience and don’t forget to subscribe to get the latest updates from our page.