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.
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.
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?).
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.