It is said that Buddhist monks drink matcha to provide better concentration during meditation. I say, if the Buddhist monks are drinking it then I need to figure out why, asap!
Matcha leaves plenty of room for experimentation outside of a hot brewed cup of the brilliant green powder. Getting creative with the powder is easy when you consider you can use it in food or drink. The great thing about it is that even 2 oz. (a common weight in which it’s sold), can last a significant amount of time before you have to buy again. In 2 oz. of matcha powder, you can get at least 20-24 small cups of hot brewed tea. It’s of high potency and only a little (generally ½ teaspoon) is plenty for a flavorful cup. There are many positive benefits to consuming the tea whether you’re looking for a natural energy boost outside of the usual caffeine jitters or looking to boost immunity and ward off the flu virus.
Move Over, Kale
Matcha powder is rising in popularity within the alternative medicine and has been hailed as one of the foods to watch in 2015. There’s good reason to pay close attention and educate yourself on the powers of matcha powder for your diet too. It isn’t just your average cup of joe, there is an interesting history to the use of the powerful green tea leaf powder starting as far back as the 12th century. With more antioxidants than spinach, goji berries and blueberries, matcha tea is a go to for a major antioxidant dose and immunity boost. Even though it contains some caffeine like other teas, it provides energy over as long as six hours and doesn’t cause the coffee caffeine jitters that many people disfavor. If you’re currently expecting a little one, then it’s best to ask your doctor or physician if matcha is okay to have in your diet for a source of energy and minimal caffeine. Typically, a cup of hot brewed matcha only contains 34 mg per cup and pregnant women should not have more than 200 mg caffeine per day.
It has been recognized in multiple recent publications as a food trend to watch in 2015 along with the rise of turmeric, kalette and maple srichacha flavorings. If 2014 was the year of Kale, then 2015 is surely to surprise you with another good for you green, Matcha!
A Taste of Matcha History
The finely ground green tea leaf powder has been used in Japanese tea ceremonies for many centuries. Traditionally in tea ceremonies, the tea is blended, whisked and then passed to guests. Guests are instructed to first rotate the bowl, sip the tea, wipe the bowl and then pass to the next guest. A Japanese tea ceremony usually lasts approximately four hours and features a three to four course meal in addition to drinking matcha together. Warriors and Buddhist monks have also used matcha powder for many years as ways to either provide energy for battle or a better sense of concentration for meditation.
A Place Outside of Tea
Matcha leaves plenty of room for experimentation in the kitchen outside of just drinking it from a teacup. Chefs, food bloggers and nutrition enthusiasts have been experimenting with the bright green powers of this powder in their kitchens, so now it’s time to try it for yourself. If you’re a traditionalist and want to stick to sipping it from a cup, that’s okay too!
Here are some recipes that I really favor.
Try some for yourself and let me know in our comments section what you think, I’d love to hear!
Almond Milk Latte
One of the simplest and purest ways to use matcha is to create a sweet latte. Brew your traditional matcha tea with ½ teaspoon with ½ cup of hot water (85 degrees is ideal, the tea should never be used with boiling water because it will cause the tea to taste grassy) and then froth some original or vanilla flavored almond milk. Add to your existing mixture and stir. A sweet, antioxidant filled treat!
(You could also get really fancy and add additional flavors like mocha or peppermint for a winter treat!)
Matcha Sugar Cookies
I adore this matcha sugar cookie recipe. The cookies can be a festive addition to a holiday party too without the use of unnatural food coloring dyes. Follow the link above or your own traditional sugar cookie batter recipe and just add 3 tablespoons to your cookie dough before rolling the dough out for cookie cuttings. Who knew that cookies could pack a healthy punch at snack time (in moderation, of course).
Creating your own oatmeal or quinoa warm breakfast bowl is an excellent way to start your day. Once you’ve created your bowl of oatmeal or quinoa, add berries and bananas, a drizzle of honey and a teaspoon (or tablespoon) of matcha powder. Stir the powder in and enjoy. Get ready for a bowl full of energy to take on your work day!
Matcha Green Tea Popsicles
Ready for a fun to eat, special treat? You’ll need just a few materials to prepare.
Popsicle tray of your choice
Wooden popsicle sticks
Can of condensed milk
2-3 Tbsp of matcha powder
–Matcha powder whisk (You can use a standard metal whisk but the matcha whisk is much easier to mix the materials more thoroughly)
Mix your matcha powder with hot water (85 degrees) and mix well with whisk. Separate the mixture into the popsicle tray (should fill each tray about ¼). Add condensed milk to each popsicle tray and then place a wooden popsicle stick in each. Freeze for approximately 4-6 hours. Pull gently from the popsicle tray by stick and get ready for your new favorite dessert treat!
As you begin your own matcha search, make sure to look for pure ingredients and if available, organic powder. A little matcha powder can go a long way, so use sparingly. You can certainly drink matcha tea every day but even a cup per week is beneficial to your health and immunity levels. Using matcha powder as part of your diet around cold and flu season can be beneficial in building up good immunity for flu prevention. Some people suggest that matcha or green tea gargling is also beneficial for preventing illness.
How ever you plan to use it, I hope you’ll find new wellness adventures with this powerful and beautiful tea and maybe even discover new ways to incorporate it in your diet and personal wellness path.