Matcha green tea has been around in Japan for years, however it is a relatively new player in the Australian foodie scene. I remember trying matcha green tea on a trip to Japan about five years ago, but wasn’t able to easily find it anywhere once I returned to Oz. Regardless, it seems to be a wellness trend that (somewhat deservedly) doesn’t seem to be going away. So what is it? Why is it so great? And how do we use it?
What is it?
Matcha is crushed green tea leaves. It has a relatively high caffeine content compared to normal green tea, and approximately half the amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee, and is rich in antioxidants and catechins, in particularly EGCG, which is a catechin that has been linked to reducing risk of development of a number of types of cancer, and in improving cholesterol levels.
Flavour wise, it is quite bitter.
How is it used?
When I tried it in Tokyo, it was consumed as simple tea with hot water as part of a traditional tea ceremony… as you would expect! Though since it has come to Australia, there is even a cafe in Melbourne based around it! I think my favourite way is as an almond matcha latte (like a normal latte, but with matcha powder instead of coffee, and made with almond milk).
I’ve been playing around with it a number of ways. There’s a Banana, Strawberry, Chia and Matcha smoothie as one of the recipes in The FODMAP Challenge, and one of my recipes in the recipe book I co-authored, Anti-Inflammatory Eating; Green Granola.
Pictured here, is banana peanut butter porridge (also part of The FODMAP Challenge), but with 1/2 tsp matcha added in (nothing like breakfast in bed, whilst blog writing!).
Why include it?
So does it deserve the superfood status it has been labelled with? Whilst I am definitely not suggesting Matcha to be a wonder-superfood, there is emerging researching linking it’s consumption with a number of health benefits. Including it certainly does not seem to cause harm.
My suggestion? Include and enjoy, however including it does not replace an otherwise healthy diet, where a variety of foods are included on a daily basis.
I would love to hear about your favourite ways of incorporating Matcha into your diet!