Wake Up with Matcha
OK, I'll admit it, I am a coffee lover. There are few things that I enjoy more than a morning walk through the local park with an Americano greeting me on the other end (organic and pasture raised, of course).
Now, coffee isn't all bad - and whether you drink it or not really depends on your health, how well you sleep, and so on. There's a great article here that goes deeper into the topic, so I won't. But, it's an interesting take and worth a listen.
With that being said, I don't drink coffee every day (2 or 3 times each week). I like to make myself a cup of tea most mornings and matcha has become my go to. Infact, most mornings I prefer matcha. I enjoy the sustained energy and focus it gives me along with the rich and hearty flavor profile. It comes head to head with many of the reasons why I love coffee. Yes, it's that good.
The recipe below is simple and quick to execute - enjoy and let the slurping begin!
What is Matcha?
Matcha is a green tea that has been shade grown, sun dried, then ground into a powder. Under the shade, the plants' chlorophyll production is ramped up which yields the deep and vibrant green color that you see (and some amazing health benefits). Before the final step of grinding, all of the stems and twigs are removed so the resulting powder is very fine, reminding me of pixie dust (it is quite magical after all).
What to look for
I buy matcha that is organic and has been grown in Japan. There are plenty of articles discussing the variation in quality of matcha, so I won't go into that here - but I will say that a bright rich radiating green is what you're looking for. Anything less and it may not be as potent, nourishing, or flavorful. I tend to buy Pure Matcha or Do Matcha, but I'm sure there are other great brands out there as well.
Matcha is loaded with antioxidants, boosts immunity, mood, and energy. Since the whole leaf is ground and consumed (rather than steeped as with green tea), you really get all the benefits of the whole plant!
- Matcha (and all green teas) contain catechins, a subfamily of flavonoids, which are highly antioxidant, have anticancer, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory properties, and stimulates the metabolism.
- Chlorophyll, which is highly concentrated in matcha, helps the body to regenerate red blood cells, support detoxification, is a potent antioxidant, and calms the nerves (among other things).
- The caffeine in matcha is burned up more slowly in the body, giving sustained energy. Studies haven't found conclusive results, but it's suspected that the L-theanine content may work in synergy to mitigate caffeine's negative effects and works to slow down the caffeine's release (i.e. keeping blood sugar from spiking, etc.).
- L-theanine, an amino acid, relaxes the mind while keeping it alert (by inducing alpha-frequency brain waves), boosts mood, improves focus, concentration, and overall cognition. As mentioned above, L-theanine is thought to work together with the caffeine content to create an energized yet calm state.
- 1 cup coconut milk (or almond, hemp, etc.)
- 2/3 - 1 cup hot water
- 1 tsp matcha powder
- 1-3 tsp honey
Place the coconut milk in a blender. Heat water to just below boiling point then add it to the blender. On low, blend the liquid. Add the matcha and honey. Continue blending for 60 seconds, or until everything is evenly mixed. Pour and enjoy!
Notes: This is your creation, and we all have our own preferences! I like my matcha drink to be thick and creamy, so I tend to add less water, but there are mornings when a thinner drink is preferable. The same with the honey. I notice that the sweetness really depends on the batch and that will determine how much is added.
If you'd like to use an alternative milk that is thin, like almond, replace the water amount with the milk (so you'll have ~2 cups of almond milk). Heat the milk in a sauce pan before placing it in the blender and continue with remaining instructions. Hemp milk tastes very strong to me, so I always add more water, honey, and matcha to boost those flavors. Sometimes I'll even throw in a date!
About the ceramics:
The ceramic mugs and brass spoon in the photos above are from totem, a local San Francisco jeweler, ceramicist, and graphic designer.
Sources and further reading: