Matcha Match with Edgar
Just recently loads of peeps have been asking me about Matcha. Probabaly because they have been on holiday to the US and UK where drinking matcha tea has really taken off. It is a new healthy trend.
Matcha is finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea from Japan. It is special in two aspects of farming and processing: The green tea plants for matcha are shade-grown for about three week prior to harvesting and after harvesting the stems and the veins of the leaves are removed. The leaf is dried and stone ground.
As early as the 8th century a Japanese Zen priest Eisai claimed matcha to be “the ultimate mental and medical remedy and has the ability to make one’s life more full and complete”. Recently matcha has taken on a new image as being a must have for the health set crowd. So why is matcha so good for you? But what’s the truth behind the health claims? Here’s what you need to know if you want to join the green health party.
To prepare matcha the traditional Japanese way, measure the tea into a heated tea bowl (chawan) with a bent bamboo spoon (chashaku). Add hot but not boiling water – 70°C is about right – then whisk to a froth using a special bamboo whisk (chasen). If you have not got the real gear use an electric milk frother just as good and great for those of us in a hurry.
So why is matcha good for you? Matcha contains small amounts of various vitamins and minerals, but is most prized for being rich in polyphenol compounds called catechins, a type of antioxidant. Matcha is made from ground up whole tea leaves dissolved in water. it’s a more potent source of catechins than standard green tea, which is consumed as an infusion and the leaves discarded. Also matcha contains must less caffeine 24–39mg per cup than a coffee shot but at the same time delivers a feeling of “calm alertness” with none of side effects that can come with coffee.
What about quality? With Matcha, as for any tea, you pay for what you get. The more you pay the better the quality. For good quality matcha you will pay about 25 euros for 25 gms. You need to see a vibrant green colour. You can also get it cheaper but then it is for cooking, not drinking and the colour is duller and less vibrant than the drinking quality.
Go on try it with me. I have a very special organic one for you, just flown in from Japan.