Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

The Mystery of Matcha Powder

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

The Mystery of Matcha Powder

Article excerpt

Byline: Gill & Barbara Johnston

Matcha powder, originally and traditionally used in the Japanese tea ceremony, is finding its way into American beverages and gourmet dishes.

Included in lattes, shakes and smoothies, matcha provides a joyous amount of tea benefits. Considered the healthiest of teas, matcha is the only form in which the ground full tea leaf is consumed. Matcha can be used in cakes and pastries, chocolates, green tea ice cream and other sweets.

Traditionally, a tea master will measure the matcha with a chashaku (bamboo spoon) and place it into a chawan (serving bowl). Hot water is added, and the mixture is whisked with a chasen (bamboo whisk) until you see fine bubbles.

Matcha can be prepared at home using one heaping teaspoon placed in a ceramic bowl, adding enough hot, not boiling, water for one cup, and whisking until frothy. Pour the liquid into a mug and drink the "froth of liquid jade" quickly before the sediment has a chance to settle to the bottom.

Matcha is rich in vitamins - A, B complex, C, E and K - and is a natural source of dietary fiber. As in all Camellia sinensis teas, it also contains a high amount of antioxidants.

Matcha also contains L-theanine, an amino acid found only in tea. It is known to counteract the "buzz" from caffeine by calming the central nervous system. L-theanine's natural anti-stress action is anti-depressant and non-sedating. Regular consumption of matcha promotes creativity, a calm state of alertness and increased energy.

Matcha's history dates back to the Chinese Song Dynasty (960-1279). Embraced by the Zen Buddhists, this powdered tea was brought to Japan by a Buddhist monk in 1191. Through time China lost the art of matcha, Japan continued to hone its unique growing, harvesting and processing skills creating this superior and pricey green tea powder. …

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