I have only one, but one very special magic trick.
No cutting people in half or cards up my sleeves, this magic trick is one that i’m sure no one else performs.
You guessed it. Making packets of matcha powder disappear.
Let me explain if I may. Twice now I have bought a larger packet of matcha powder that has mysteriously gone walkabouts. Those things aren’t cheap I’ll have you know, so the last thing I want is to be losing them.
A while back now I had made my favourite matcha latte, and put the packet of matcha away…now maybe i’m lying and left it on the side or possibly put it in one of our many cupboards,but where it is now lodging is a mystery to me.
I asked my mum and dad and both of them are no wiser than I am. I did blame my dad that he threw it away thinking the packet was empty, he’s just an easy target.
But still no clue.
In an annoyed ploy I set out to buy another packet of matcha, hoping that inevitably as soon as the new matcha arrived, hurrah the old one would be living right beneath my nose.
So the new one arrived I opened it, but still no sign of Mr older matcha.
Then again after making my matcha one day, the next time I came to look for Mr new matcha, what had happened? He’d disappeared too.
In a big tantrum I blamed my mum, dad, the cat, but no one had a clue where the second had disappeared to.
Piling everything out the cupboards we looked everywhere that it could possibly be. The tea cupboard, the cereals, my cupboard (I don’t even know whats in there except chocolate), the nuts, dried fruits. EVERYWHERE.
My mum swore blind she hadn’t seen it, until I spied a silver sachet in the tea overflow cupboard. Of course we didn’t think to look in there. And of course she’d forgotten that she’d put it in there with all the other teas.
So we solved that one.
But still no sign of Mr old matcha.
Well, after all of that I recently have been on a matcha latte kick.
I am a serious tea drinker. As I’ve already mentioned we have a tea cupboard and a tea overflow cupboard, in the literal sense that every time you open the door all the boxes flow out and fall on your head.
Everyday I have my green tea for a needed caffeine hit after I’ve eaten my breakfast (anyone else get headaches if they don’t have a cuppa?), if i’m lounging around then I’ll probably have a second and get a bit buzzy. Always a mint infused tea after lunch, another with my afternoon snack and one or two if i’m still feeling peckish after dinner. Phew that’s a lot of tea.
Its so cold here in the UK, if I haven’t got warmth from sunshine the very least I can have is a hot tea and a fluffy jumper.
I always seem to hit the 11-11:30 lull. Not hungry enough for a proper snack, but not full enough from breakfast to keep going another hour until lunchtime. The perfect time for a matcha latte then.
No excuses needed.
Frothy creamy dairy free milk whizzed up to make a pastel hue of green, that will brighten any misty grey day.
Matcha is nothing new however. Maybe it is to us in the west, its enjoying the ride on the wellness train just like quinoa and açai. But it does have a lot of history in japan, particularly with Buddhist monks.
Let’s go way back.
I mean way way way back to 1191.
The zen Buddhist, Eisai introduced the ground tea leaves, aka matcha, to Japan. Him and his fellow Buddhist monks used to drink matcha in the afternoon to prepare them for their meditation. Matcha is said to bring clarity to the mind, maintain a level of sustained energy and helped them to remain more centred and focused.
So it worked for the Buddhist monks, what’s the benefit for those of us not spending all day meditating?
It does boast quite a few health benefits, when prepared correctly. The first, high in antioxidants. Found in most brightly coloured fruit and veg, dark chocolate and green tea, vital to fight off diseases, cancers and UV radiation, basically all environmental strains that our bodies shouldn’t be exposed to. Whilst green tea is high in antioxidants, matcha has 137 times the amount so something worth adding to your diet.
Second, it helps to put you in a state of calm. Maybe its the process of making the matcha, frothing up the tea with hot (not boiling) water then frothing the milk and pouring one into the other. But studies have found that L-theanine the amino acid which helps you RELAXXXX and also slows the release of caffeine in the body, is found in matcha powder, in fact in most tea however it is most concentrated in matcha. Time for some zen then.
We all know green tea contains caffeine, if you’ve ever drank it at night and struggled to drift asleep you’ll know well enough. Matcha contains only a third of the amount of caffeine as your regular coffee and only a little more than a cup of green tea around 24mg-39mg. Giving you alertness without the crash and burn only an hour or so later.
Dosing you up with around 3.25mg of calcium, 1.85mg of vitamin C, 274mg of protein and 20.5mg of potassium, it outweighs all the other well known ‘superfoods’ such as acai and goji berries. (But we all know the term ‘superfood’ is a load of BS, don’t we?)
Finally, I’m not going to go into all that detoxing the body rubbish, we have a liver and kidneys for that. But it’s said to help with a clearer complexion. Obviously eating a healthy diet of lots of fruit and vegetables wholegrain carbs and healthy fats will help with that, but women in japan have been using matcha as a face mask for YEARS. (As well as putting matcha in anything and everything, READ: matcha Kitkats, matcha Oreos…). Now doesn’t it seem that most Japanese women have beautiful porcelain skin, it might just be in their genes, but i’ll drink matcha to that!
Now on to the recipe.
So I like to use this matcha powder. It’s premium grade, you can buy cheap matcha powders usually bulked up with loads of sugar, colouring and milk powder (hello starbucks), but not overly expensive as we all have to look after those pennies. Choose one that’s right for you, there are loads and loads out there.
Make sure to seal the matcha packet every time you use it, keep it out of sunlight and in a cool and dark place. Light causes the tea to oxidise, meaning a lot of the benefits are leached out of the tea.
Also a note on the type of milk to use. You can use dairy milk, or soya milk, oat milk is my favourite for flavour and frothing abilities (particularly the brand Oatly, the even do foamable!!!), however rice milk, coconut, almond, cashew all is good here. The Rude Health milks taste amazing with the matcha as they are slightly sweet. BUT you just don’t get a good enough froth. And what’s a latte without some froth eh?
If you have a milk steamer, all the better, but I use one of the handheld milk frothers they’re really cheap and do the job nicely. Traditionally matcha is made in a bowl and whisked up with a bamboo whisk, I would like to own one of these but I have no space, something from my kitchen cabinets would have to be removed to make space for it. Sad. Times. So maybe not as traditional, but if you have one go ahead and have a proper tea ceremony.
- 1/2 – 1 tsp matcha powder
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup of boiled – but left to cool slightly – water
- In your cup whisk your matcha in the hot water until frothy.
- Meanwhile, either in the microwave or in a pan on the hob, heat your milk until steaming but not boiling.
- Whisk the milk until it is really frothy, then pour into the matcha.
As simple as that.
If you like, add a little grating of nutmeg, or for a touch of sweetness if your taste buds are begging for it add some raw honey, maple syrup or rice malt syrup. However if you’re using a plant based milk I don’t find it necessary.
So zen up your life, have a moment of calm and centring. No need to think of everything on your to do list, just sit and sip your warm cuddley matcha.
Enjoy and breeathhheeeeee
Anyone else, notice the amount of times I said the word matcha. OH there goes another one. Its such a good word, and FUN FACT: the word matcha comes from the two words in Japanese, cha meaning tea, and ma meaning powdered. So literally powdered tea.
Get telling all your friends I’m sure they’ll be well impressed.
(Ha good luck with that!)