What is Matcha?
Matcha is green tea that has been ground into a fine powder and blended into hot water, rather than steeped. You may be surprised to know that all true “teas” come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. Many teas are produced from this plant, their differences due to the processing of the leaves. But leaves for Matcha are subject to specific growing conditions: namely, shade. The plant is protected from the sun, and light is carefully controlled, leading to a unique production of plant chemicals (caffeine, antioxidants, flavonoids, etc) which contribute to its unique flavor.
What does Matcha taste like?
Descriptions vary from sweet, creamy and full-bodied to vegetal, wheat-grass-like and bitter. This partly has to do with preparation, but in the end Matcha really is an acquired taste. Perhaps this bitterness is why Matcha lattes and desserts are so popular, but adding cream and sugar counteract its health benefits.
Why is Matcha SO popular?
Matcha’s popularity in the west is attributed to the relationship between the rise of chronic disease, and Matcha’s notable health benefits. Beyond that, it became a classy drink offered by cafes as a latte alternative to espresso.
Good News for non-Matcha fans!
So, you want something with Matcha’s health benefits but not a fan of the taste? Good news! There are plenty of Matcha alternatives! Purple tea and Yerba Mate are two caffeinated teas chock-full of antioxidants but lack the bitterness of Matcha. Moringa is caffeine-free, yet energizing alternative that also comes in a powder nearly identical to Matcha. Its flavor is reminiscent of Matcha, but with sweet undertones.
Further Reading & References