Updated: Oct 2, 2019
Matcha has made a big name for itself in the wellness world and beyond and for good reason. It's high in antioxidants which could help stop cell damage and decrease the risk of chronic disease. Now if that's not enough, this delicious cup o' goodness is is also known to improve cognitive functioning and heart health. Besides all of the health benefits linked with matcha it's also a great alternative for those who want a caffeine-boost without the jitters. While a latte can hit the spot in the moment, for many, it's not worth the jitters and post-coffee dip. If this sounds like you, matcha could be exactly what you need. It still gives you that warm-cozy latte feel thanks to the way it's made—A typical green tea is made by steeping the leaves in hot water and discarding them after, whereas for matcha, the tea leaves are ground up which makes a fine powder. This difference explains the frothy, creaminess of matcha that is so beloved.
Now I do have a cup a day but it wasn't always like that. My love for matcha began last summer when I traveled to Japan. While I had already had a few cups here and there, I had no real sense of the profound story of where it all began. I was fortunate to participate in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony called "Chado" or "Sado" which means "The Way of Tea." During this beautiful ceremony I watched as the woman leading the ceremony lead us through the four basic principles of the Japanese Tea Ceremony: Harmony (wa), Respect (kei), Purity (sei), and Tranquility (jaku). I remember all my senses being awakened as I intently watched her gentle hands pour the matcha into the intricately designed cups. She led us through a ritual of turning the cup so the painted part of the cup faced her and then encouraged us to slowly bring the cup to our lips. It was a taste and experience I'll never forget.
At the end of the trip I found a small shop that carried only matcha from the Uji region in Kyoto (where I had heard some of the best matcha was grown). I purchased a small container of the powder along with a thin wooden spoon accompanied by a wooden whisk. While I absolutely love going around New York City trying different matcha shops (a review is coming!) there's nothing better than making my own matcha at home using the powder from Japan.
I cannot emulate the ritual I experienced exactly but what I did take away from the tea ceremony was that more than anything, it's about pausing. Taking a few moments to indulge in the act of scooping a teaspoon of treasured green powder out of the container and dropping it into hot water. From there, watching the matcha froth as you whisk it around the bowl and eventually come to stillness—a light green hue, with some specs of dark green. It always taste better with a little extra love and intention I've found. Matcha has become a ritual for me. It's something I look forward to in the mornings and always offers me a bit of stillness no matter the chaos around me. With all of that being said, here's one of my favorite matcha recipes I make at home:
3 teaspoon of powdered matcha (add an extra teaspoon if you'd like!)
1/2 cup of hot water or milk of your choice
A sprinkle of cinnamon
1/2 tbsp spoonful of Manuka honey
I hope you found your matcha-made-heaven and please share some of your matcha stories and favorite recipes!