Matcha, a type of green tea with an earthy flavor, is not only good for you but delicious too! It is a popular ingredient used in Starbuck drinks and Japanese desserts, giving them a vibrant green color. Here are some easy sweet & savoury matcha recipes that save you from going to the coffee shop!
What is Matcha?
Matcha is a type of Japanese green tea powder.
Japanese teas have been gaining popularity in the United States over the last few years although Matcha has been part of the Japanese diet for much longer. (You might have seen it at your local Starbucks coffee shops in the form of an iced latte? I have a good matcha latte Starbucks copycat easy recipe here!)
There are a few differences in how you consume traditional matcha tea vs green tea though, which I'll elaborate on below.
VS Green Tea
Matcha is basically young green tea leaves, from Camellia Sinensis tea plants.
They are grown under shade for 20-30 days to increase the chlorophyll content, before the matcha leaves are ground into a fine powder. (This also boosts the amino acids content, such as the L-theanine level, which is believed to have beneficial effects on human health.)
With regular green tea, you steep the whole green tea leaves (or tea bags) in hot water, drink the resulting tea then toss the tea leaves away. When you drink matcha, you ingest the entire tea leaf- the powder doesn't actually dissolve in water but is actually suspended in it.
To be honest, I drink traditional Japanese green tea at home, not matcha, as green tea is easier to make!
You have to sift the matcha powder to get rid of clumping, then whisk the matcha and hot water together in a circular motion to form a foamy tea that you drink. Instead, I prefer to drink green tea & add matcha powder to my bakes for convenience.
Everyone who's read a magazine or newspaper in the last decade must have heard about the health benefits of green tea, thanks to its anti-oxidant (specifically a type of catechin called EGCG or epigallocatechin gallate) content.
Drinking green tea (sans the added sugar and milk!) can improve your health in a whole range of ways, ranging from:
- better cardiovascular health/ protection against heart disease
- lower inflammation levels
- reduced risk of developing chronic diseases
- lower risk of dying from early deaths, for people with diabetes
- Promotes brain function
- May help with high blood pressure thanks to its catechins
- Cancer prevention: The epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) in Matcha may have antitumour effects. For example, drinking a lot of green tea has been linked to bladder cancer prevention.
- Can help with weight loss and managing body weight
By the way, the above is not from a dodgy source, but taken directly from the Harvard Medical School Health Publishing's website!
Note: green tea is a magnet for lead, so there have been concerns about the amount of lead in green tea and matcha. However, ConsumerLab has tasted the premium matcha brands in the US and found that the lead content in them is not an issue. Whenever possible, I try to buy organic matcha powder.
👩🏻 Expert Tips
- How to differentiate good and bad matcha: Fresh, good quality Japanese matcha has a bright green color. (Matcha green tea powder oxidises quickly, and turns a duller color, as shown above.)
- Do I really need a Japanese matcha whisk? You can use a regular whisk instead of splurging on the bamboo whisk when you make matcha drinks. We're not conducting a traditional Japanese tea ceremony after all! It will be a little harder to "dissolve" the powder, but it'll work. Or you can use the Mason Jar Matcha hack that I explain in my Oat milk matcha latte post!
- What water temperature do I use? Adding cold water to the matcha powder makes it harder to dissolve but reduces the bitterness. (Don't use boiling water!)
Matcha has about half the amount of caffeine that a cup of coffee coffee has, so is a good way to get an energy boost without the coffee jitters.
Matcha is not fermented and comes in the form of a powder. Black tea is fully-fermented, and is commonly used as loose leaf teas or tea bags, although there is also a less commonly available tea dust version.
Other Japanese-inspired Recipes
You can add some club soda to the matcha syrup to make a super quick & easy matcha soda.
Matcha Latte 抹茶ラテ
Vegan Matcha Latte
Note: you can also use other non-dairy milks such as oat milk, soy milk, coconut milk, cashew milk, almond milk etc (Remember to use maple syrup instead of bone char sugar or honey!)
You'll actually get a healthier mug of green tea latte this way, as research has shown that adding cow's milk to tea reduces its health benefits. (Specifically, it reduces its vascular protection.)
Matcha Masala Chai Latte
Dunkin Donuts Latte
Starbucks Pineapple Latte with Green Tea
Note: for more no bake desserts, click here!
For more cookie recipes, 2 of which are matcha flavoured, check out these Galentines Day Asian cookies.
🍰 Other Bakes
Matcha Mochi Bites
If you're on a plant-based diet, you can make vegan mochi muffins!
If you're not a fan of the gooeyness of glutinous rice flour and mochi, try these regular cupcakes!
🍦 Sweet Treats
This matcha ice cream would make a great dessert after a sushi party. (For more side dishes to serve with sushi, click here.)
P.S. If you want to throw a sushi party but can't get the rice, click here for some great sushi rice substitutes that my Japanese friends and I used when living in a wee fishing village in Scotland.
🍱 Savory Food
Note: You can also create 2 doughs, 1 with matcha tea powder and 1 without, to form a lovely spiral mantou, as shown below, that is perfect for entertaining.
In case you're wondering, it's not just sweet foods that go well with matcha- here are some salty match recipes for you to experiment with.
What are some of your favorite matcha recipes? I'd love to hear about any not included on this list!