Trend Spotlight: MATCHA
TREND SPOTLIGHT: We can talk wellness trends all day long. But do we ever take a second to stop and really explore WHY everyone is hyped about said trend? Whether it’s a crazy new workout or an ingredient that seems to be in every recipe on your instagram feed - we’ll help you understand everything you need to know about it.
Coffee makes me jittery AF. I LOVE the taste of it - but I’ve never been able to get over the awful shakiness that comes with drinking more than a few sips. So tea has been my drink of choice for years, and even way back in college, I was dabbling in matcha. Patting myself on the back for being ahead of the curve, for once.
Now matcha is everywhere. And I'm hooked. Not hooked on the $7+ price tag for a simple latte, though. So I began experimenting at home. Matcha lattes turned into matcha smoothies, matcha in baked goods, matcha ice cream. But as the recipe testing evolved - so did my research. What EXACTLY was this stuff that everyone was saying was so good for me?
What exactly IS matcha?
Matcha isn't your typical bagged tea. It’s a powder (matcha literally means “powdered tea”) that comes from drying and grinding specially grown tea and harvested tea leaves. The tea leaves go through extra steps, like covering the plants with shade cloths and aging hand picked leaves in cold storage, to enhance the flavor and texture.
Why is it “better” than other green teas?
Contrary to regular tea, where you strain the tea leaves out, when you drink matcha, you are ingesting the full tea leaf. This means you get more vitamins, minerals, and namely, 10x the amount of antioxidants as regular green tea. Antioxidants have been shown to protect against diseases like cancer and heart disease, have amazing anti aging properties, and help regulate blood sugar - we can all use as many antioxidants as we can get.
What’s the caffeine content like?
Matcha still has caffeine - about ⅓-½ the mg of caffeine in a cup of typical coffee. The main difference in the two, however, is the way your body processes the caffeine. Because the caffeine in matcha binds with the natural phytonutrients in the tea, it creates a slow release energy for 4-6 hours, rather than the typical spike and crash of coffee. An energy boost without the jitters? We’re in!
Why are half of my options on Amazon affordable and half astronomical?
Because the process of growing matcha is complex - and frankly, some of what’s out there isn’t really matcha at all. Sencha is another form of powdered green tea, except it’s grown in a different process. No lie - there are lots of “matcha” products out there that are really just sencha. Is Sencha bad for you? Not at all, but matcha is superior in taste, health benefits, and a calmer, more sustained energy. True, high quality matcha (called ceremonial grade) is expensive - expect to pay $25+ for a 30g canister - but you don’t need to use a lot of it each time. You don’t HAVE to spring for that though, if you don’t mind sacrificing a little bit. Culinary grade matcha (slightly more bitter) is a good choice if you are using matcha for baking, lattes, or other treats where the slight difference in taste isn’t as noticeable.
Should I be worried about radiation in my tea?
Short answer - yes, but don’t lose sleep over it. Long answer -after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station was crippled by a tsunami back in 2011, radiation levels in the area are a very legitimate concern. However, most matcha brands go through strict testing to ensure that their product is safe. It’s good practice to check the source of your matcha (the further it’s grown from the Fukushima region, the better) and to see if they post their testing results and quality standards. Unsure about this info? Ask the company!
SO now that you know a little bit more about the matcha trend - let’s start using it! Two of our easiest (and tastiest) recipes below:
Blender Matcha Latte
No fancy equipment required!
No need to invest in matcha whisks and bowls - your regular old blender will do the job. Our fav matcha latte gets a protein (and creaminess) boost from a scoop of VP, but feel free to leave that out!
- 1 tsp matcha
- 10-12 oz. unsweetened almond or coconut milk
- 1 scoop Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides (optional)
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- A dash of vanilla extract
- A dash of cinnamon
Add all ingredients to blender, blend until frothy. Pour over ice for an iced latte! To make a hot latte, heat the almond milk in a saucepan, then add to blender with all ingredients and blend until frothy.
Matcha Mint Chip Ice Cream
Adapted from Minimalist Baker’s Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Generally, when the ice cream craving hits, you can find us blending up some frozen nanners for some quick nice cream. But planning ahead a bit (and investing in an ice cream maker) was one of the best things we’ve ever done. This Matcha Mint Chip Ice Cream is what dessert dreams are made of.
- 2 can full fat coconut cream (or milk, but using the cream gives better results)
- 2 packets TeaPigs Matcha Mint Sachets (get them HERE)
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup organic coconut sugar
- 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of sea salt
- ¼ cup cacao nibs
24 hours before prepping, place ice cream mixing bowl in freezer. Add everything except cacao nibs to blender. Blend until smooth. Add to your chilled bowl and churn in your ice cream maker* (following the directions on your machine). During the last 5-10 minutes of of the cycle, add cacao nibs in. Transfer to freezer safe container, cover, and freeze until hardened.
*Alternatively, if you don’t have an ice cream maker, line a a freezer safe container with parchment paper, pour mixture in, and freeze - stirring once every hour or so to whisk in air. Results wont be super creamy but will still be delicious!
Questions about matcha?? Amazing matcha recipes?? Share them with us - we want to hear!