As a college student, coffee (and it’s price tag) has taken over my life. Long nights of studying or working on projects are the recipe for a coffee run the next day. Unfortunately though, coffee has some negative side effects including giving you jitters and shakes, crashing after the caffeine wears off, and coffee breathe (a major con, in my opinion). Thankfully, I’ve recently become addicted to matcha, an ancient form a green tea that has risen to fame across the country for it’s enhanced versions of coffee’s benefits and a few more on top of that.
What is it?
Matcha is green tea, or rather comes from the same plant as green tea, Camellia Sinensis. The difference between the two, however, is that regular green tea, that typically comes in a bag is sun-dried, but matcha comes in powder form and is actually covered from the sun 20 days before harvest to increase the chlorophyll (hence the dark green hue) and amino acid production in the plant. Then, it’s stone ground to create the powder.
How to Prepare
The first thing to remember about matcha is that it is a suspension, not a brew, meaning that if it sits for too long, the powder and the water will separate. So to prepare the traditional way, matcha powder should be sifted into a bowl and wicked in with hot water until it is frothy. Usually, there is a special spoon used to measure out the matcha and you will need is a bamboo whisk specifically made for matcha in order to thoroughly mix in the powder. However, if hot tea isn’t your thing, you can add matcha to anything. Blend it, shake it, add it to a juice, anything works.
Now what exactly does matcha do? The main thing it is recognized for is its ability to energize the body without causing jitters or side effects. The reason is that it has a combination of caffeine and L-Theanine, an amino acid that helps stimulate relaxation and boosts the production of alpha waves in the brain, enhancing focus and mental clarity. The benefits don’t stop there, the list includes strengthening your immune system, helping to burn calories, improves heart health, boosts weight loss, can promote oral health, enhance your skin and even help with cholesterol. These advances are due to the use of the full tea leaf, making the antioxidants in one cup of matcha equal to 10 cups of regular green tea. The benefits of matcha are so incredible it almost seems too good to be true.
As I mentioned earlier, matcha can be put in anything, even ice cream (which I highly recommend), but what are some of the best drink ideas? Here are the two recipes that got me hooked onto matcha.
Matcha Lemonade *my favorite at Starbucks
Ingredients: Matcha powder, Lemonade, Ice
- Add all the ingredients to a cup with a lid
- Shake until mixed thoroughly
- Sip and Enjoy
120 Calories (grande)
Ingredients: Matcha, Hot Water, Warm milk of choice (I prefer almond/coconut), Optional- sweetener (maple syrup, honey, stevia, etc)
- Sift Matcha into a cup
- Add hot water and whisk until frothy
- Add milk of choice and whisk until frothy
- Taste and add sweetener to liking
$4.25 (with no substitutes) (grande)
240 Calories (grande)
Don’t be afraid to experiment. You can add matcha to anything, and if you’re hooked like me, check out Pinterest for more ideas of ways to add matcha to your other drinks and foods including smoothies, cakes, macaroons, and protein bars.