Matcha

Powdered matcha tea is currently added to almost everything, but by far the best way to enjoy it is to just drink it. It is tea after all.

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You’d be forgiven for thinking it is a bit of a luxury product. I mean, buying a small tin of powdered matcha here in the Netherlands set me back  about 9 euros (!), but in Japan the stuff is absolutely ubiquitous. From the free self-service matcha at the counter of almost every sushi bar, to the ceremonial cup of frothy green liquid made for us by the abbot of a Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto, there’s no getting away from the bittersweet, plant-like taste of matcha. I have to admit that I didn’t quite know if I liked it at first, but then I grew to love it and even started to miss it when I suddenly had to do without.

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Matcha whatcha?

To make matcha, the carefully cultivated leaves of the camellia sinensis tea plant are ground into a powder. Instead of soaking and then discarding the tea leaves the powder is dissolved in water and ingested. This means a cup of matcha contains a more powerful dose of antioxidants than a cup of regular green tea. It also makes for a totally different tea-experience (teaxperience?).

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How?

For a traditional, abbot-approved cup of matcha, the powder has to be passed through a very fine sieve to break up the lumps and whipped into a frothy, green frenzy with a special matcha brush. This results in the thickest, foamiest, most scrumptious matcha.

For the speedy, sushi bar version: simply add a small spoonful to your cup. Keep a teapot with very hot water at the ready, pour and stir. The powder will sink to the bottom a bit, but this means you can keep on refilling your cup and one teaspoon of powder will go a very long way.

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