If you’re up to date with trendy drinks and food, you’ve probably heard of Matcha, as it’s gotten so popular recently that even chain coffee shops have started serving matcha lattes and it’s this week’s tea of the week! This tea is a special kind of green tea. Instead of steeping the individual leaves, you actually consume the entire leaf (minus the steam of course) because they have been ground into a fine powder. The leaves are covered with bamboo mats during the last few weeks of their growth, then picked at a young age and ground up into the matcha powder that you see today. Traditionally it is prepared with about a teaspoon of matcha and a small amount of water, it is then mixed with a bamboo whisk and served. This however is not the only way it can be prepared. It can be used in lattes (my personal favorite), smoothies and even when cooking! Matcha has an almost grass-like flavor to it so it is usually sweetened and is commonly considered an acquired taste because of the umami flavor.
Because matcha isn’t your standard tea, it is much more expensive than regular leaf teas. While the price may be off putting, usually the more expensive matcha’s are the higher quality ones. When looking for matcha, look for one sourced from Japan (we’ll get into that), is a bright green and has a smooth powder (if it’s gritty the leaves are usually older and not as high quality). You’ll want a tea sourced from Japan because of the lead content. Now don’t let that scare you away, a little known fact is that all green teas have lead in them but when you steep it, 90% of the lead content remains in the leaves. With matcha though, you’re consuming the entire leaf which means you’re exposed to more lead. You really shouldn’t consume more than one cup a day and surely don’t give it to your children, but other than that, you should be fine. If you would like to try some matcha, we here at Incahoots would love to make you a Matcha latte or you can buy it in bulk for $100 per pound!