A Comprehensive Guide To The Matcha Craze

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As with all health crazes, one day you have no clue it exists and the next you’re finding it on every street corner. Matcha has had just the same effect, but what do we really know about it?

Let’s start with the basics. Matcha is a product of specially grown and processed green tea which is composed as a finely ground powder. The process of creating matcha is unique for two main reasons. Firstly because the green tea plants are shade-grown for approximately three weeks before harvest. This time protected from the sun essentially changes the chemistry of the leaf itself, creating an more developed taste, additional amino acids, and higher antioxidants. Secondly, the stems and veins are removed before being made into matcha powder. The remaining leaf is processed through granite mills comprised of two opposing and finely scored stones. The movement of these stones is very timely and meticulous, this part of the process can take up to an hour for just a half-ounce of matcha. These two small changes have created an entirely evolved green tea with elevated health benefits.

This anti-oxidant filled powder, which is predominantly consumed as a tea, not only helps boost metabolism and burn calories but is also a natural detoxifier. It is rich in fiber and chlorophyll, and provides your body with vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc and magnesium. It has also proven to lower cholesterol and blood sugar as well as have calming effects.

While you’d be hard-pressed to find a place that isn’t already crawling with matcha bars, it is always advisable to have such a good source of nutrients at home. We found a few matcha brands you should invest in this summer.

Samovar: Super Uji Matcha 20 g $165

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According to Samovar’s description, the Super Uji Matcha is “super umami and rich grassy sweet creaminess. If you like matcha and want to graduate to one of the top matchas in America, the Super Uji is for you. We don’t even sell this in our lounges, as it’s reserved for the select few who love matcha and need the confidence that they’ve found the absolute best. Packed at the farm in small 20 gram bags (.7 ounce).”

PROCESSING NOTES from SamovarCeremonial grade, more selective leaf quality and limited in production

INGREDIENTS from SamovarStone-milled, shade grown, Japanese green tea powder

American Tea Room: Hekisui Artisan Ceremonial Matcha Tea 30 g $ 165.00

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As described by American Tea Room, “Our Artisan Matcha is usually reserved for the Japanese Emperor himself. We are the only company to offer it in the U.S. Like Grand Cru champagne, our Artisan Matcha is crafted to yield an astoundingly smooth, balanced flavor. It is produced on a small family farm that has honed its matcha growing and processing techniques over the last 400 years, and it is made entirely from shade-grown gyokuro leaves. The experience of our Artisan Matcha begins with the matcha itself. Its texture is super-fine and almost fluffy, and its color is a clear, bright, intense emerald tone. The powder’s aroma is rich with notes of chlorophyll (much like cut sweet grasses) and tinged with a light mineral scent. When whisked, Artisan Matcha forms huge amounts of thick, lasting, golden-green froth that lasts even after the underlying brilliant jade liquor has been drunk. Its aroma is one of pure cut spring grass vitality, like an awakening from dormancy. A brothy mouthfeel is accented by an almost electric sensation as the tongue picks up bursts of taste from all the flavor families. Overall, the profile is extraordinarily smooth. Notes of lobster bisque, sweet peas and sweet cream are soft and silky on the palate. Afterward, a smooth mouth coating lasts for over 15 minutes, providing lasting flashes of Artisan Matcha’s deliciously complex flavor. Artisan Matcha’s effect on the body and mind must be felt to be understood.”
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