Now, I know matcha powder has been around in culinary circles for a long time, being used in everything from baked goods to ice cream to beverages. And it has been around long before that in Japan as a highly antioxidant-rich drink of choice. Matcha goes back many centuries in China and Japan, where it was first made as dehydrated and crushed bricks of tea leaves for storage and travel. Zen Bhuddists drank this tea in a ceremony prior to afternoon meditations, and found it enabled them greater clarity and sustained energy unlike anything before.
Powdered tea was made in very small batches, such that the expense meant only royalty could enjoy it. However, a new harvesting method soon enabled more efficient processing, and as the price became more affordable matcha became available to the public. By the 16th century, all levels of people took part it drinking tea and tea ceremonies to some extent. To learn more about how to make the perfect cup of matcha green tea, and for a brand review and comparison, check out this site.
Many claim matcha is a great replacement for coffee because it is so high in antioxidants, yet still packs quite a punch, as one teaspoon of matcha contains 70 mg of caffeine (approximately the equivalent of a half a cup of coffee, which typically contains about 160 mg). If you make or order a “koika” or “thick tea” this is made with twice the amount of matcha powder, and thus twice the caffeine content. A high quality matcha powder will be bright green, and smell earthy and complex. This is a fun drink to serve up for St. Patrick’s Day, or the day after when caffeine is maybe needed…
This recipe is a very simple one, which you could easily make at home, bleary eyed first thing in the morning. Which is great, because that is when I made it! I chose to use vanilla flavored milk, you could also use a vanilla bean or vanilla flavoring, or try something else like mint leaves or peppermint extract. Or you can leave your latte plain and savor the complex flavors of the matcha. I also used one medjool date as my sweetener, try agave nectar or pure maple syrup for something different.
- 1 teaspoon quality matcha powder
- 1 medjool date, pitted
- 1/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup almond or soy milk
- Optional: use flavored milk, or add the seeds from one vanilla bean or 1 tsp of vanilla flavoring
Step 1: Put the water in a small sauce pan with the cut up, pitted date and bring to a boil. This just softens the date in order to make it blend more easily. Pour the hot water into the blender and blend on high for 30-45 seconds.
Step 2: Add the milk to the sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Add the teaspoon of matcha to the blender.
Step 3: Add the hot milk, and blend together for 30-60 seconds to make it nice and frothy. You can of course whisk it instead, purists use a bamboo whisk, but I am far too lazy for that. 😉
Step 4: Pour into a mug, and enjoy! The blender makes a light, bubbly layer on top, and enables the incorporation of the date. It would be much harder to crush it up yourself, so if you are using a whisk you should probably use a different, liquid sweetener. This is best enjoyed immediately, still steaming from the stove.