An Old Tea and a New Trend: Matcha

Welcome back, Wildcat! If you have been to a coffee shop recently you may have seen a product called matcha. Although Matcha tea is new to the U.S., it has been used ceremonially in China and Japan for hundreds of years. Traditionally, matcha is used as a tea, but became popular in the U.S. as a sweetened hot latte drink. Recently, matcha has been added to muffins, oatmeal, blondies, and other sweet baked goods.

So, what is matcha? It’s a type of green tea that is picked, dried, and then the whole tea leaf is ground into a bright green powder. Matcha has distinct grades: ceremonial, premium, and commercial. Ceremonial grade matcha is the most expensive and is used in traditional tea ceremonies. Premium grade matcha is less expensive than ceremonial grade and is a good option if you drink matcha regularly. Commercial grade matcha is the least expensive and is better for baking than drinking.

Traditionally, matcha tea powder is mixed with hot water using a special bamboo whisk. Matcha has an earthy, vegetal taste that pairs well with sweet foods and drinks like lattes, smoothies, oats, and muffins.

Does matcha have health benefits? Like many green teas, matcha is said to have many health benefits. Matcha tea contains chemicals called antioxidants that protect our cells against damage. Matcha also has caffeine, up to 60mg worth, a little less than a cup of coffee. Because of the antioxidants in matcha and other green teas, some research suggests that drinking it regularly may help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. However, it is unclear how much tea each day makes a difference in our health. Therefore, more research is needed in to determine matcha’s impact on health, especially among different groups of people. Let us know if you like matcha and how you made it in the comments! See you next week, Wildcat!

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