Food and Travel (Singapore) - - Eating Well -

A com­mon type of tea that most peo­ple would be fa­mil­iar with, matcha is pow­dered green tea that is pre­dom­i­nantly and tra­di­tion­ally made in Shizuoka, Ja­pan, but also pro­duced in se­lect ar­eas of China and South Korea. The tea bushes are shaded dur­ing their grow­ing pe­riod to pro­duce a strong and lus­cious leaf. But that’s not the only se­cret of matcha — the tea is ex­tremely po­tent due to the way it is pre­pared. The pow­der is mixed into the wa­ter rather than steeped, and never re­moved. This means that you’re get­ting 100% of the green tea leaf in your brew, su­per­charg­ing your dose of an­tiox­i­dants, thea­nine, and polyphe­nols. Early in­di­ca­tions in sci­en­tific stud­ies in­di­cate that these com­bined may not only help to re­duce your risk of can­cer, they may also help to pro­mote younger, health­ier skin, help to pre­vent heart dis­ease, and re­duce your risk of stroke.

Matcha is an im­por­tant part of tra­di­tion in Ja­pan but is now be­ing added to many foods glob­ally. It comes in two forms: cer­e­mo­nial and culi­nary. Culi­nary matcha is a lower grade and is used best to cre­ate matcha-flavoured foods (for ex­am­ple, matchaflavoured cakes, ice-creams, muffins, bis­cuits, milk­shakes, lat­tes and choco­lates). It can also be used to cre­ate usucha, or ‘thin tea’, with a lower matcha-to-wa­ter ra­tio, al­low­ing you to make matcha that may be some­what bit­ter into a de­li­cious drink. Cer­e­mo­nial matcha, on the other hand, is so beau­ti­ful, silky, and well-re­garded, that it is used heav­ily in Ja­panese tea cer­e­monies — hence its name. Cer­e­mo­nial matcha is best made into koicha, or ‘thick tea’, which al­lows a very strong but de­li­cious brew. How­ever, koicha is not an ev­ery­day tea — it is strong and chal­leng­ing on the palate, and very few would drink it as a part of their daily reg­i­men, even in spite of its beau­ti­ful taste. Cer­e­mo­nial matcha can also be made into usucha, there­fore mak­ing it more palat­able for ev­ery­day drink­ing.

Con­sume matcha wher­ever you can — in foods or as a straight bev­er­age. Not only is it de­li­cious — your body will thank you for it. If prepar­ing it in the tra­di­tional way us­ing a chawan and a whisk, take some time to share the med­i­ta­tive ex­pe­ri­ence of watch­ing the liq­uid be­come silkier with ev­ery stroke.

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