If you have made the switch to green tea for your health, or if you like to explore world cultures through their tea, chances are good you've already experienced matcha.
The word “matcha” comes from two Japanese words: "ma" for powder and "cha" for tea. This bright green powder is made from the shaded leaves of the camellia sinensis plant. Like bagged green tea, it boasts a powerful punch of antioxidants and chlorophyll with a bright flavor that matches its neon hue.
When you are looking for a versatile version that can be used for both drinking and baking, MRM Nutrition Matcha Powder is a good choice.
Matcha tea is by its definition meant to be used as a powder mixed with slightly above room-temperature water. This is great if you have the time to whisk your tea, but if you need something faster, a tea bag might work better.
As with most teas, matcha is available in different grades:
Organic matcha is produced without the use of chemicals or pesticides. Because tea is dried and then powdered, any pesticides can be further concentrated. It's best to select organic matcha.
Stone-ground matcha is most often produced by small, artisanal makers. Instead of industrial grinding machines, stone mills produce matcha that reflects the region in which it was produced.
If you are trying matcha for the first time, its natural bitterness may be off-putting. If you prefer a little sweetness in your life, look for matcha made with cane sugar or other natural sweeteners. These are also a good choice if you plan to make matcha lattes.
Unless it is sweetened, the best matcha powder will have one ingredient: green tea. There should be no additives or preservatives.
Legacy producers of matcha do not use GMOs in producing their tea. The inclusion of GMOs also prevents the tea from being labeled "organic."
Whether you plan on baking or drinking your matcha in a formal tea ceremony, the finer the texture, the better it dissolves in water or other baking ingredients. Look for powders labeled fine, superfine, or ceremonial.
Matcha powder ranges in price depending on the quality of tea and its intended use, with culinary grade at the lower end and ceremonial teas commanding higher prices. Expect to spend $1-$20 an ounce.
A. According to the National Institutes of Health, matcha has a variety of naturally occurring compounds that have potential health benefits:
For diehard coffee fans trying to cut down or eliminate caffeine, matcha is a great transitional beverage. It has two-thirds of the caffeine in coffee, so you can begin to cut back without the side effects of caffeine withdrawal.
A. A few simple tips:
What you need to know: This fine powder is great for use not only as tea, but also in baked goods.
What you’ll love: It is authentic Japanese matcha, naturally high in caffeine. The powder is smooth and easy to mix, so it works well in baking without leaving a gritty mouthfeel. It’s GMO- and gluten-free.
What you should consider: It is expensive, but its versatility makes it worth the price.
What you need to know: This is a good entry point for people just beginning to explore the flavor of matcha.
What you’ll love: It’s made with Japanese matcha and sweetened with cane sugar. The tea is certified organic, and the company is a proponent of fair trade and environmentally friendly production practices.
What you should consider: If you prefer unsweetened tea, this is not for you.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
What you need to know: This premium tea is designed for use in tea ceremonies and should not be used for matcha lattes or baking.
What you’ll love: Ground from premium fresh leaves, the powder is superfine and dissolves easily in the warm water the tea ceremony requires. Its taste is earthy and grassy, and it is not meant to be sweetened.
What you should consider: It's very expensive, but for those who appreciate and practice the art of Japanese tea ceremonies it is an excellent choice.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.