Making green tea takes a bit of patience and finesse in itself even when using a tea bag. Most of us, myself included in the beginning, make green tea with water that’s far too hot which actually ruins the delicate flavor of green tea and doesn’t allow the nutrients to slowly release and open up as it should. The first 2 years I started drinking tea, before it became a daily ritual for me, I was making green tea completely wrong! I’m also cringing as I’m writing this, but I used to microwave water with a green tea bag in it (YIKES!), which is probably the worst way you can make tea. Tea leaves need a little love during the process of brewing. Because of their delicate flavor and antioxidants, they require time and the right temperature to create the perfect mug of tea.
For me, the best way to enjoy a matcha tea latte is in the morning or in the afternoon after lunch where my mind and body are craving a little more “space” and time to relax, regroup, and focus on work and productivity. The entire process of making matcha tea is very therapeutic and I respect and wholeheartedly understand the ritual and ceremonies surrounding the simple task of making tea. If meditation has taught me anything, it’s that being completely in the present moment can make the most “mundane” tasks such as cleaning dishes or making a mug of tea completely satisfying and a moment filled with passion and focus. Nowadays running Nutrition Stripped, my coaching practice, and writing the cookbook, it’s been very easy for my mind and emotions to gravitate towards overwhelm. Simple moments like this serve as a giant deep breath and air hug that reminds me that everything is working out as it should. My hope is that the next time you’re in the kitchen making a mug of matcha tea, or any type of tea for that matter, you can find a little mental and emotional “space” in your day as well.
Let’s start with the basics, what is matcha tea? Matcha tea is a young delicate tea leaf variety typically grown and processed in Japan. Matcha tea is typically used in Japanese tea ceremonies, which is on my to-do “bucket” list while traveling. I hope that when I visit Thailand this year, I can find a place to enjoy and observe a tea ceremony (not just with matcha!), so if you know of any comment below. (Update: see my Thailand trip here!) One of the greatest things about matcha tea is that it’s not just for lattes! You can actually add matcha tea powder to smoothies, cakes, cookies, muffins, pancakes, soup, and so much more.
Matcha tea is very high in antioxidants, amino acids, and chlorophyll, which is responsible for it’s beautiful bright green color. Of the amino acids contained in matcha tea, L-theanine is the most prevalent and is known to have a relaxing effect on the mind and body, hence why traditionally monks would sip matcha tea to help ease their mind for meditation. Plus the subtle caffeine content helps with focus, which could be because theanine increases serotonin, dopamine, GABA, and glycine levels in the brain. Unlike normal teas, you’re actually drinking the entire matcha tea leaf, not just the tea water. This is one of many reasons why matcha tea is much more nutrient dense than standard green tea. Because of the many steps, care, and time it takes to create matcha tea, it tends to be more expensive than standard teas but is beyond worth it!
Remember this when you’re storing matcha tea: it’s extremely sensitive to both light and heat. As I mentioned earlier, it’s a very delicate young tea as most are hand picked in Japan, ground into a powder, then flash frozen to preserve the freshness as soon as they are picked to preserve freshness. After they’re flash frozen, it’s then that they’re packaged into a container. Most matcha tea brands store it in foil or in a dark container. It’s natural that the matcha will oxidize, since that’s naturally what happens when the package is opened and it’s exposed to light. The goal is to keep it as dark and airtight as possible to decrease the time it oxidizes. Another way to keep it fresh it to store it in the fridge or freezer. I find this optimal for those of you who don’t drink it daily.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
For me, foam is a must have for enjoying any type of latte, and it’s best created using a hand-held milk frother. For the pictures here, to create the foam I’ve only used a bamboo whisk as most of you would have this rather than a milk frother, and both create a beautiful result! Here is a list of my favorite tools to use when making a matcha tea latte. An added bonus is that they’re affordable, and if you get a high quality matcha tea it lasts a really long time!
You must log in to post a comment.