Matcha is everywhere and in many different forms. Many people have been exposed to matcha in non-traditional ways such as lattes, chocolates, and even ice cream. Although it is great to get matcha in our systems any way we can there is a downside to this method. These alternatives are often packed with sugar, non-organic dairy, artificial flavors, and colors which ultimately defeats the purpose. Just google the ingredients of your go-to matcha beverage from your favorite chain coffee shop, and you will find sugar to be the primary ingredient. That's not all; even the powder form they use has two ingredients: sugar and green tea powder.
Perhaps you have tried matcha in its traditional form and admittedly didn’t care for it. Matcha has various grades that have a strong impact on the taste and texture. Culinary grade matcha is less expensive and should be used for baking, cooking, and blended beverages rather than consuming in its traditional form. It’s also important to note that since the matcha craze has hit the US, we are seeing many low quality “matcha” forms derived from China, which is not where traditional matcha is grown. So don't count yourself out just yet if you thought you couldn't stomach this superfood plain.
Ceremonial grade matcha is grown in various regions in Japan. With ceremonial matcha, the last few weeks before harvest they are shaded with bamboo mats to keep the sunlight out. Certified Organic ceremonial matcha is grown using sustainable farming techniques without harsh chemicals or insecticides. High quality matcha is bright green, finely ground, and easily dissolves in water. Even high grade matcha can easily be burned and turn bitter if the water is too hot, so use caution when brewing your water.
High quality matcha is meant to be consumed simply with water (no hotter than 176 degrees). The traditional tea ceremony can be replicated using a chawan: (a unique Japanese tea bowl), a chasen (a bamboo matcha whisk), a chashaku (bamboo tea scoop), furui (tea strainer to sift the tea), and a chasen kusenaoshi (tool for properly holding your chasen).
When considering adding pure ceremonial matcha to your diet, consider the amount of nutrition you can get from just one cup of this power packed beverage. Matcha has three times the antioxidants of traditional brewed green tea; therefore giving you sustainable energy, while improving your concentration and stamina.