This bright green tea powder, traditionally used in Japanese tea ceremonies, is finding its way into British cafés and kitchens
What is it?
It’s a powder made from finely ground green tea leaves. With a regular cup of tea, you soak the leaves, then throw them away and drink the infusion that’s left. With matcha, you consume the whole plant, including the ground-up leaf and stalk. It’s packed with antioxidants, especially the flavonoid epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which in lab tests has been linked to protecting against certain cancers.
How is it used?
Just add ½tsp to hot (never boiling) water, then whisk or froth it to prevent clump or try our recipe for iced matcha milk.
As it’s basically a super-concentrated green tea, you may find the flavour intense, so you could start by adding it to your morning juice for a few days to see if you like it. Our tester said she felt ‘more focused’ after trying it as her elevenses brew. If you want to experiment, stir matcha into soups or yogurts, add it to bakes or even sprinkle it over salads. Remember, though, that matcha contains caffeine.
Little research has been done with matcha itself, but studies have linked green tea with weight loss and improved heart health. These health benefits are likely to be amplified with matcha as the whole leaf is consumed (one study found matcha contained 137 times more EGCG than green tea).
What to buy
Matcha comes in several grades, ranging from ‘ceremonial’ (premium) to cooking grade (lower quality – and not recommended for making drinks). These are our favourites from the higher end – the price tag means it’s a brew strictly for devotees, though, so try a cheaper one first to see if you like it!
Teapigs Organic Matcha £25 from Amazon
Related article: What are the benefits of umami?