Matcha 101

You may have heard of Matcha and you may have even tried it mixed up with a lot of sugar.  Or you added a shot to your smoothie.  That is the experience most Americans have had with Matcha, others have attended a Japanese Tea Ceremony and tasted a proper serving of Matcha.

If you haven't experienced Matcha before there are a few things you should know.

1. Matcha is green tea that has been ground into a fine powder.  Ceremonial Matcha is shaded a few weeks before harvest and has a slightly sweeter taste than Culinary Matcha.

2. It matters where your Matcha comes from.  Chinese Matcha has been known to contain lead whereas Japanese Matcha contains no lead.

3. 80% of the Matcha in Japan is used in cooking, 20% for Japanese Tea Ceremonies that can take weeks to prepare for and hours to complete.  Tea ceremonies are very formal and everything from the ceramics used to the movements that are performed are all very detailed.  Matcha isn't usually consumed as a straight beverage.

4. Don't put processed sugar in your Matcha.  It lessens the quality of the tea which has an added dose of vitamin C that tea doesn't have because it's not water soluble and does not steep out of tea leaves.  Being that Matcha is the tea leaf, you get the full quality of the leaf.  If you must sweeten it, find alternatives like honey and stevia.

5. Cook with it.  Use in a smoothie, as a meat rub, a soup base, or sprinkle it over your food like an herb.  So many ways to cook with it, it's delicious in chocolate.