In case you haven't been to a coffee shop lately, matcha is now a popular ingredient in a variety of beverages. The classic matcha green tea latte in particular has become a new staple. Of course, it's far from the only delicious beverage that can be made with this type of green tea!
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What is matcha?
Matcha, or japanese green tea powder, is a fine powder of young green tea leaves that has a vibrant green color. Unlike regular green tea that is steeped, with matcha you consume the entire tea leaf. It can be blended with just a bit of water using a bamboo whisk as in a traditional japanese tea ceremony, or blended into everything from a smoothie to ice cream or even brownies. This article sticks to beverages, categorized below as iced, hot, or smoothies.
One of the reasons it has become so popular is that matcha provides a longer lasting energy boost than a cup of coffee, thanks to the amino acid L-Theanine.
What kind should I use?
It depends. You can read all about the differences between ceremonial and culinary matcha, and you can't go wrong with a ceremonial tea which I recommend for most beverages. That said culinary are often less expensive, and you may not notice a difference in taste between the different grades if blending them into a smoothie or using them in baking. The best matcha powder is ultimately a matter of personal taste, though my favorites are Kyoto Dew, Akira, and Jade Leaf.
Iced Matcha Drinks
Iced matcha recipes are mostly simple to put together, blending the matcha powder into water with a matcha whisk or milk frother, then adding the rest of your ingredients over a cup of ice. And while these will spell out the milk each creator used, you can always substitute any type of milk you want, from a dairy-free milk to whole milk.
Hot Matcha Drinks
First thing in the morning, or on a cozy cold day there is nothing like a warm beverage- enjoying one before the kids get up is my favorite way to start the day. You can either combine a quality matcha with hot water to the dilution that suits your taste, or add some complimenting flavors with one of these recipes.
While I usually recommend ceremonial grade matcha for green tea drinks, smoothies are heavy in fresh fruit. Bananas in particular (which are in all three of these) have so much natural sweetness that you could easily use culinary grade matcha instead.
What's your favorite matcha drink? Let me know in the comments!