If You Don’t Know Matcha-bout Matcha by Now, You Should

During this time of the year, pumpkin spice lattes and assorted holiday drinks (thanks Starbucks) sweep coffee shops far and wide as fan favorites. But one coffee shop menu item that I’ve been noticing pick up popularity and variation across Hawai’i that is not limited to any season is matcha.

If you’ve been hearing all about matcha but have no idea what it is, “matcha” literally means “powdered tea.” It is a finely-ground powder of processed green tea leaves, which basically makes it the highest quality powdered green tea you can get. It has its origins in Japan and dates back thousands of years. When you order traditional green tea, parts of the leaves are infused with hot water but then get discarded. With matcha, you are drinking the actual leaves in powdered form.

You can consume matcha and put matcha in just about anything, which is why I believe it’s become such a popular item in coffee shops. In fact, my favorite coffee shop drink happens to be an iced matcha latte, which is also known as a green tea latte depending on where you go. You take the powdered tea, add milk, and serve over ice. In Hawai’i, I’ve also seen matcha soft serve, matcha ice cream, matcha frappes, matcha tarts, matcha macaroons, even matcha KitKats. Just about any dessert you can imagine—there’s a matcha flavor in it. In Waikiki, there is also the Matcha Café Maiko, a cute little shop that serves an assortment of matcha treats. I highly recommend checking it out to see what all the hype is about!

Matcha latte (hot):

Matcha soft serve:

Matcha bread cake:

Matcha macaroons:

Matcha is also loaded with health benefits and it’s something of a miracle supplement. Some health benefits of matcha include:

1. High in antioxidants

2. Enhances calm and improves mood

3. Boosts memory, concentration and mental alertness

4. Increases energy levels and endurance

5. Burns calories

6. Detoxifies the body

7. Strengthens the immune system

8. Improves cholesterol

The full extent of the benefits and potential harms of matcha is still being researched and discovered, but, from what we know so far, the hype is there for a reason. Matcha tastes good and makes you feel good. So the next time you see “matcha” on a menu, remember some of these benefits and try it out. You might find your new favorite treat!