Green Tea Homemade Latte

Sasha Green Tea

Green Tea Latte as fancy as it sounds, is simply froothed milk combined with green tea powder called “Matcha”.   Matcha (pronounced [mat.tɕa]), also spelled maccha, refers to finely milled or fine powder green tea. The Japanese tea ceremony centers on the preparation, serving, and drinking of matcha. In modern times, matcha has also come to be used to flavor and dye foods such as mochi or soba noodles, green tea ice cream and a variety of wagashi (Japanese confectionery). Matcha is a fine-ground, powdered, high-quality green tea and not the same as tea powder or green tea powder.

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Matcha is made from shade-grown tea leaves also used to make gyokuro. The preparation of matcha starts several weeks before harvest & can last up to 20 days, when the tea bushes are covered to prevent direct sunlight.  This slows down growth, stimulates an increase in chlorophyll levels, turns the leaves a darker shade of green, and causes the production of amino acids, in particular L-Theanine. Only the finest tea buds are hand-picked. After harvesting, if the leaves are rolled out before drying as usual, the result will be gyokuro (jade dew) tea. However, if the leaves are laid out flat to dry, they will crumble somewhat and become known as tenchaTencha can then be de-veined, de-stemmed, and stone-ground to the fine, bright green, talc-like powder known as matcha.  It can take up to one hour to grind 30 grams of matcha.  The flavour of matcha is dominated by its amino acids. The highest grades of matcha have more intense sweetness and deeper flavor than the standard or coarser grades of tea harvested later in the year.

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In general, matcha is expensive compared to other forms of tea, although its price depends on its quality. Grades of matcha are defined by many factors.

Location on the tea bush.

Where leaves destined for tencha are picked on the tea (Camellia sinensis) bush is vital.  The very top should have developing leaves that are soft and supple. This gives a finer texture to higher grades of matcha. More-developed leaves are harder, giving lower grades a sandy texture. The better flavour is a result of the plant’s sending the majority of its nutrients to the growing leaves.

Treatment before processing.

Tencha leaves are traditionally dried outside in the shade and are never exposed to direct sunlight. However, drying has mostly moved indoors. Quality matcha is vibrantly green also as a result of this treatment.

Stone grinding

Without the right equipment and technique, matcha can become “burnt” and suffer degraded quality. Typically in Japan matcha is stone-ground to a fine powder through the use of specially designed granite stone mills.

Oxidation

Oxidation is also a factor in determining grade. Matcha exposed to oxygen can easily become compromised. Oxidized matcha has a distinctive hay-like smell and a dull brownish-green color.

Matcha is also a great energy source because of the special way it deliver caffeine to your body in comparison to coffee. With Matcha the caffeine is absorbed and released slowly by the body over a period of 6-8 hours. This means that Matcha provides a sustainable energy boost and does not deliver the rapid 30 minute spike, slump and “jitters” associated with coffee.

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Matcha can now be found in numerous healthfood products ranging from cereal to energy bars. In 2003, researchers from the University of Colorado found that the concentration of the antioxidant EGCG available from drinking matcha is at least three times greater than the amount of EGCG available from other commercially available green teas.  The aforementioned health benefits of matcha green tea may be attributed to the fact that the whole tea leaf is ingested, as opposed to just the steeped water in the case of ‘bagged’ green teas. This means that it delivers a much higher potency of catechins, chlorophyll, and antioxidants.  By weight, matcha contains several dozen times more antioxidants than blueberries, wolfberries, pomegranates, orange juice, spinach or dark chocolate. There is evidence from clinical studies that suggests that theanine, when consumed by drinking Japanese green teas, may help to reduce or moderate mental stress responses.

Source: Matcha. Retrieved April 19, 2014.

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Now that we know what good matcha looks like…what brand to choose?  I mean there are so many of them out there and I personally don’t have the money to go and try them all out…especially that really good quality matcha is pretty expensive.  There is one website though and one blogger that had some excellent reviews about various matcha brands on their blog.  Click here to learn more.

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The brand I used for this post is called Rishi Tea from www.rishi-tea.com.  The flavor of this matcha was ok, however now that I realize there are better brands out there I might try to use another brand next time and for obvious reasons will update this post as well.

Ingredients:
 
1 cup of Milk (of your choice)
2 teaspoons of Sweet Matcha 
1-2 tablespoons of warm water
 

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How to make Matcha Latte:

1.  Sift about 2 teaspoons of Matcha Latte to a cup.  Depending on flavor and quality of your Matcha you you might need only one teaspoon if it’s more concentrated and has deeper flavor.  Some matchas are not sweet and also have no sugar added, in this case you might want to add syrup, sugar or honey to make your latte sweeter.

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2.  Add two table spoons of hot water to your matcha powder and mix well until all powder is incorporated and you get a paste like texture.  I used a spoon, but in every matcha recipe they suggest using bamboo wisk, picture of which you can find on one of the photos above.

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3.  Use your milk frothing machine to steam and frooth your milk.  While I have one on the expensive side made by Capresso, in reality any hand held milk froother will do.   While my machine steams and froothes the milk, if you are using hand held froother…make sure to heat up your milk first.

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4.  Let your froothed milk stand for few minutes until the foam separates from the rest of the milk.  Pour 2/3 of your milk in the cup with matcha paste and mix, then spoon out the rest of the foam on the top of the cup and sprinkle with some more matcha.  Again, since my matcha was sweetened no sugar was needed, but if you would like your latte sweeter just add more honey or sugar to the mix.

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5.  Enjoy!  My kids love this kind of drink, it’s a nice picker upper during the day and the colors are so vibrant too!

Eating Gree Tea Latte

Sincerely,

Natalie

 

 

 

Comments

  1. I’ve been absent for some time, but now I remember why I used to love this
    site. Thank you, I’ll try and check back more frequently.
    How frequently you update your website?

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