Matcha is simply green tea leaves that have been ground into a fine power. It has a fresh, grassy flavor. I lived in Japan in 1996 teaching English. My time in Japan started with a few months of home-stays with amazing host families. They took me to several traditional tea ceremonies. Drinking tea, in general, is a way to spend quality time with friends and family, as well as a way to make a guest feel welcome. A Japanese tea ceremony is a formal opportunity for a guest to enjoy a hosts hospitality in a relaxed environment, out of the fray of a typical busy day. This tradition can be instilled in a regular day, to carve out a few minutes of sacred and delicious time.
Put a little scoop of this bright green powder in a small ceramic bowl, add hot water to the powder and whisk until you get a beautiful froth on top. Once you have made your tea, hold the bowl with both hands when you drink. The bowl itself holds the aroma of the tea. Breathe in the freshness. Notice the bright green color. Feel the warmth of the bowl in your hands. Drinking matcha is meant to encompass all five of your senses.
The caffeine in matcha tends to be a more gentle release of energy. I notice it is the perfect pick me up and sharpens my mental focus when I start to drag in the afternoon. It does not effect my sleep even if I enjoy it in the late afternoon.
In addition to being a delightful sensory experience and provide a boost of energy, matcha has health benefits. It is rich in antioxidants. We hear that all the time on food labels, but what does that really mean? Some of the metabolic systems in our body create free radicals. Simply put, many of our body systems are dependent on oxygen. Different metabolic processes in our body take an oxygen molecule that has two oxygen bonded together and split them into single oxygen molecules. This splitting is a normal process in the body. We have “antioxidants” in our body to clean up this process. But, sometimes we have more free oxygen molecules than antioxidants, which can result in cell damage and inflammation. Matcha offers the body additional antioxidants to help protect cells from damage and reduce inflammation.
The benefits of matcha can be had in a quality powder. A matcha latte at a coffee house won’t do it. It is also important to note that avoiding processed foods will prevent a lot of inflammation in the first place.
I find a stolen moment with a bowl of matcha tea pairs perfectly with a square or two of quality dark chocolate, 70% or more. After that, I can take on anything in the afternoon!
Adding the ritual of matcha to your day is easy. All you need is a bamboo whisk and a small ceramic bowl. MD Market in St. Petersburg, FL has a long isle of asian bowls to choose from. Though I have purchased expensive ceremonial grade matcha before, I am currently enjoying “Mighty Leaf”, an organic matcha powder, that I purchased at Sprouts here in St. Pete for $16.