Move over 85% dark chocolate… there is a new favorite epicurean “it” flavor.
Beloved of the samurai, monks, fashionistas and yoga queens, the in-your-face star of traditional Japanese tea ceremonies matcha tea has become the hottest flavor in Japanese cuisine and beyond.
According to various magazines and web chatter, matcha will cure just about any ill you may have. But then, so will a large number of other trendy superfoods which have not been scientifically studied, but hyped on daytime talk shows.
Overlooking the web-based hype and going straight to PubMed, a database of peer-reviewed science studies, a few studies suggest that there may be health benefits associated with this algae-colored bitter seaweed tasking brew; and others that suggest it may contain contaminants (as does almost everything we consume).
In Japan, the classical way of preparing a cuppa is to take a teaspoon of premium grade Japanese matcha tea powder, sift it into a chawan bowl, pour hot (not boiling) water on top of the powder, then whisk it with a chasen into a suspension with a thickness akin to a thick cocoa. Think relaxing thoughts and consume. Basta.
Loving the green, we went on a photo safari in Tokyo, the epicenter of where it all began. For about $20.00 (depending where you go), you can get a small cup of matcha with a cookie as a traditional tea ceremony. Frankly, not worth it.
But matcha is not just about tea…
Matcha tea Kit Kats, green Oreo cookies, green Starbucks lattes, green Coke, green Hagen Das ice cream, strawberries dipped in matcha flavored green chocolate… probably not so healthy.