Matcha has a long history that dates back to the Chinese Song Dynasty (960 to 1279 BCE), where powdered green tea leaves first became popular. In 1191, the Buddhist monk Myōan Eisai brought the art of making and preparing powdered green tea leaves to Japan, where it would later become an integral part of the local culture. Even today, the traditional and ritualised tea ceremony or chadō continues to be popular in Japan, where it is performed as a symbol of a host’s hospitality to their visitors.
In recent years, the popularity of matcha has exploded in the west, creating a USD 2-billion industry. This comes as no surprise since matcha tea has been proven to have a number of health benefits, including boosting brain function, providing antioxidant effects, and helping in weight loss. As such, it has also become part of the modern world’s pantheon of “superfoods.”
Aside from the health benefits, matcha’s unique savory “umami” flavour has captured the hearts of tea lovers everywhere. Creative matcha fans have even come up with inventive recipes and delicious products using the tea as the star ingredient. If you’re curious to know about these creations, here’s a list of ways you can enjoy this bright green powder.
Japan is not only home to matcha, the country also has a massive chocolate industry. It’s inevitable that they produce matcha-flavoured chocolates in every variety imaginable. In Australia, chocolateries like Godiva and Lindt have also begun introducing new matcha-flavoured products to the delight of local chocolate lovers.
You can get your fill of matcha cakes from restaurants and bakeries, or you can make one yourself with the many free recipes available online. From fluffy sponge cakes to smooth cream cheesecakes, you’ll find there are endless creative recipes you can try at home.
If you prefer to drink your matcha green tea cold, you can jazz it up with some milk and tapioca balls or boba. Originating from Taiwan, milk tea has become such a popular alternative to ice coffee drinks that you can see milk tea shops opening up everywhere. And with matcha having the highest caffeine content of all teas, it’s a great addition to milk tea if you need some “perk-me-up” in the middle of the day.
While Krispy Kreme have launched matcha-flavored donuts in other countries, in Australia, artisanal donut shops like Donut Papi in Sydney and Bombolini in Canberra are where you can find these sweet treats. These matcha donuts are typically piped topped with a sprinkling of nuts such as almonds or pistachio to complement the earthy flavour of the tea. Some donuts are also piped instead with a creamy matcha filling.
Another must-try when in Japan is the matcha ice cream sold just about everywhere where soft-serve ice cream is available. The slightly bitter aftertaste of matcha is an interesting contrast to the lightly sweet vanilla ice cream base. If you love complex tastes, you’ll want to try this ice cream. Aussies can get a hold of a pint of matcha ice cream at Woolworths or the many cafés popping up in CBDs around the country.
Cookies and Bread
It’s easy to incorporate matcha in baking different recipes like sugar cookies, bread, and pastries. However, you need to balance out the earthy and slightly bitter taste of the tea by adding a sweetening agent like honey, agave, or syrup. Adding too much could also overwhelm the taste of the bread, so you have to be careful with your measurements.
Dressings and Dips
Matcha is definitely a versatile ingredient that works well with savory food as well as deserts. As a dressing for an Asian-themed salad, the powder can be paired with ginger and other Asian spices for a taste that’s unexpectedly rich. Another recipe suggests adding matcha to hummus to add a different dimension of flavour to the popular dip.
Clearly, matcha has gone beyond the traditional tea ceremony and into a more diverse, creative space limited only by one’s imagination. Try out this magical green powder, and reap the benefits for a healthier diet and a more exciting gastronomic experience.
Thanks for stopping by today, I hope you’ve enjoyed this post.
You may like some of my other posts in the food category.