Matcha seems to be all the rage these days. Actually the surge began in 2014 as it began showing up on the menus at Starbucks and other popular coffee houses. I first tasted it in Japan a year ago at a tea ceremony where it’s been a staple enjoyed for centuries. Matcha is made of anti-oxidant rich green tea leaves that are ground into a powder and then mixed with hot-water by using a special whisk until it is well-blended and smooth. It has a unique balance of vegetal (like seaweed or edamame), bitter, and malty flavors. To appeal to the American palate — which hasn’t acquired a taste for matcha’s bitter, seaweed flavor — many cafés use sugar-laced matcha powder and steamed milk to make the trendy matcha latte, in addition to other treacly concoctions. Thanks to chains like Starbucks and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, a lot of American matcha drinkers have no clue what real matcha actually tastes like (due to the added sugar). There’s nothing wrong with drinking the tasty matcha lattes, just try one without added sugar and this will not only be healthier but also give you the more bitter taste of matcha! Look for a coffee house that serves them unsweetened. I found a very delicious, unsweetened and beautifully presented one at Cha Cha Matcha in the East Village, Manhattan. How cute is this?!!
Matcha is an all-day beverage in Asian households. People also use it during meditation to help focus. It has an adaptogenic quality: if you’re frazzled, it calms you; if you’re feeling sluggish, it energizes you. I encourage you to try matcha as it was originally intended so you can experience the full-flavor of this health-boosting staple in Asian cultures. Be sure to search for high-quality matcha. The greener in color the better, and with no sugar added!
This recipe is more of a dessert than a matcha experience. But I think it makes for a unique, interesting flavor! Much better than the green tea ice cream I remember as a kid at Chinese restaurants! The recipe is comprised of health-boosting ingredients and makes for a colorful presentation. It’s green appearance is festive for the holiday season or maybe even St. Patrick’s Day!
So go ahead and try all three: authentic Japanese Matcha tea, American inspired matcha lattes, and this tasty and unique dessert!