#100 – Matcha Latte
#100 – Matcha Latte
This is Recipe Roundup and we’ve finally reached Episode 100! A very exciting milestone for the show – remember you can listen to our past episodes online at alleghenymountainradio.org.
Today’s show is about Matcha or fine green tea powder. Powdered tea became popular during the Song Dynasty in China around the 12th century. Along with Zen Buddhism, the method of tea preparation traveled to Japan where it became hugely popular within monasteries and the upper class. The traditional Japanese tea ceremony is a meditative practice that focuses on the preparation and serving of matcha as a hot beverage.
One of my most vivid food memories is the first time I tasted matcha – I believe I was about 11 years old on a field trip. It was in the form of green tea ice cream at a particularly excellent Chinese buffet in Gettysburg, PA. I had never tasted anything like it and longed for the flavor again – at the time, it wasn’t the easiest to find, especially in rural Virginia.
Nowadays, Matcha is an extremely common flavor of sweets, cakes, mochi, ice cream, and other treats. It’s bright green color also makes it interesting. In the United States, this flavor has become steadily more popular in the past decade and most cafe’s offer matcha lattes.
While Matcha is a specialty product and has a specialty price attached to it, if you love matcha making your own lattes is a great way to save money! There is a fairly significant difference between culinary matcha, which is for baking, and ceremonial matcha, for tea preparation. Just like any fine food, there are many different kinds and levels of quality, mostly based on when the tea was harvest. Matcha is supposed to be made out of green tea leaves that have been grown in the shade! This keeps the flavor light, fresh, and floral.
Unlike with most tea where we soak the dried or roasted leaves in water, Matcha is a powder made from directly grinding the leaves. The powder is whisked into hot water and then you have the option of adding milk and sweetener. I think using the traditional bamboo whisk is nice and easy enough, but use what you have!
I place a few teaspoons of matcha into a bowl. Before I add the water, I whisk the powder around in order to break up any clumps. You want your water to be hot but not boiling. I usually let my water reach boiling and then let it sit for a minute or two. Slowly pour about half a cup into the bowl with the matcha and whisk together. You want to whisk until a light foam forms on the surface of the water – at this point you can drink it or add to a glass with ice, sweetener, and the milk of your choice! Matcha is slightly higher in caffeine than other versions of green tea. It also contains antioxidants and l-theanine which has been linked to having positive effects on anxiety.