I have a long history of coming around late to culinary trends and there have been plenty of foodie fads that I’ve completely ignored. I believe there is an old black folks proverb that says, “Everything ain’t for everybody.” That basically means the opposite of FOMO and I’m fine with thinking about life that way. Some bandwagons will have to pass me by.
But I have to say; I have recently hopped on the bandwagon for matcha, the super antioxidant green tea powder ground from specially grown tealeaves. Over the past two or three years you’ve probably seen matcha everywhere or maybe you’ve started drinking it yourself. Unlike other teas, matcha powder is dissolved in hot water, as opposed to being steeped. The powder form lends itself to easy incorporation in recipes of all sorts. I’ve seen recipes for just about every kind of matcha-flavored dessert imaginable. There’s the intersectional trend of matcha donuts, matcha ice cream, matcha chia pudding, matcha brownies…so on and so forth. And as a way to get matcha into your regular diet, straight matcha tea and matcha lattes reign supreme.
Matcha originated in China during the 8th century. Japanese monks later popularized it in Japan and it remains popular there today. I was personally motivated to try matcha as an alternative to coffee. I really love a good cup (or two) of coffee, but I have recently been drinking far too much. Since our move, I developed the habit of drinking two or three cups of coffee every morning. I think this is pretty average, but I’m almost certain that I have mild endometriosis, which can be exasperated by caffeine. I feel like my periods were getting more and more painful consuming that much coffee everyday. So I’ve adopted matcha lattes as a healthier option to get me going in the morning. So far, I’ve found that the morning boost factor of matcha lattes match coffee one to one, without the caffeine jitters, heart racing or crash that I associate with coffee. The matcha kick feels more like clarity than a buzz or as I’ve read it described ‘alert calm.’
In addition to the pick-me-up, matcha has ten times more antioxidants than regular green tea. It is also said to increase the rate at which your body burns calories. I’ve cut a lot of dairy out of my diet. So I like to make my matcha lattes with coconut milk. Coconut it actually very complementary to the very grassy, pure chlorophyll flavor of matcha. I like to describe the taste of matcha as green tea to the tenth powder. I’ve tried to make a matcha latte with almond milk when I ran out of coconut milk and it wasn’t nearly as good. The matcha coconut latte is the way to go.
Maybe one day I will venture into the matcha dessert realm, but the price for this luscious green tea powder can be prohibitive. After searching many places between Ras Al Khaimah and Dubai, I stumbled upon a reasonably priced can at Wild & the Moon, inside of Robinson’s (I also got this Cereal magazine there). A little bit goes a long way. So don’t let the small size of a tin scare you. I’ve also read that you should look for matcha from Japan as opposed to China, because many samples from China have tested high in lead. I certainly cannot vouch for the validity of these claims, but it seems worth noting.
If you really want to get serious about making matcha at home there are certain accouterments you must acquire. There are dedicated ceramic tea bowls called, chawan, and tea caddies (natsume). I think at the very least, I’ll have to nab one of those beautiful bamboo whisks (chasen), designed especially to mix and froth the powdery matcha.
I still love coffee, but for the sake of my health, coffee is now a weekend treat. I don’t know if I could ever completely forsake a good cup of Yirgacheffe or Harrare.