You probably already know that green tea is a superfood, brimming with antioxidants, which can soothe inflammation and ward off diseases. But there’s one particular type of green tea that might just be the mightiest of them all. Meet matcha, the superfood trend of the moment.
Matcha tea leaves are grown in the shade to develop a deeper color, until they’re wildly, vibrantly green. Then they’re ground into a powder, so you’re consuming the whole leaf, and drinking in all of the benefits. Research confirms that matcha contains at least three times more antioxidants than other varieties of green tea. And those big benefits come with a big buzz—matcha also has a higher caffeine content than other types of tea.
So if you’re ready to wake up and slay your morning workouts with the power of a samurai, here are a few tips for enjoying mighty matcha. Plus, a basic recipe for a mean green latte.
Shopping for Matcha Green Tea
Shopping for matcha is no joke. The green stuff can be expensive. If you step into a tea shop or spot it in the grocery store, you’ll notice two basic grades: ceremonial and culinary. Ceremonial matcha tends to be younger sweeter leaves with a more delicate flavor. It’s also at the spendy end of the spectrum, and can be priced for an emperor. Culinary matcha is more affordable, but it can be bitter and is best used for cooking and baking. But there’s a big range in stores and online, and you can certainly find something that fits in your budget. Sample a few before settling on a favorite, when possible, and a small tin goes a long way.
Tools for Making Matcha Green Tea
Because matcha is a powder, you need to whisk it into hot water. You can buy a ceremonial bowl, whisk, sifter, and spoon, in natural ceramics and bamboo, if you like. If you want to make matcha lattes, it’s also nice to have a steamer or a frother to warm the milk. But if you’re new to team green tea, you don’t have to go out and buy anything special. A small whisk or a fork works to break up any clumps, and milk can be warmed over the stove.
How to Make a Matcha Green Tea Latte
Matcha can add a pop of color to smoothies, muffins, and frozen yogurt. And these days, you can drink it hot or cold, with or without milk, even with boba pearls. But matcha lattes are trending hard, and it’s easy to understand the appeal. With a triple punch of protein, antioxidants, and caffeine, you’ll power through your morning. If you want to whisk one up at home, here are a few tips for mastering the art of the matcha latte.
Heat your water until hot, but not boiling. If you’re a regular tea drinker, it feels counterintuitive, because most tea steeps best in freshly boiled water. But for matcha powder, too much heat can destroy the delicate flavor. Heat your water to about 175°F (79°C). You might want to check with a thermometer the first few times you make it, until you get a feel.
Make a smooth and silky paste. Put 1 teaspoon of matcha green tea powder in your favorite mug. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of hot water and whisk to make a smooth and silky paste. You’re breaking up any lumps, and letting the flavor bloom.
Fill ’er up with your favorite milk. Using a frother or steamer, or in a small pot over the stove, warm low-fat milk or your favorite non-dairy option until hot (but not too hot!). Pour it into the mug with the paste. Feel free to practice your foam art.
Sweeten if necessary. You know that you’re not supposed to have more than 6 teaspoons of sugar a day, right? But depending on the quality of your matcha, it might need a touch of sweetness. Add a drizzle of honey or a teaspoon of sugar, if your tooth requires.
Take a moment for mindfulness. Matcha is steeped in tradition, tea ceremonies, and meditation. Even if you’re not a monk, you can enjoy a moment of contemplation. Take a deep breath. Watch the color swirl. Smell the sweet leaves. And take your first sip. One of the most magical things about tea is that it’s calming and energizing, at the same time.
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.