As our name pretty much gives away, at How Matcha we are all about matcha. If you can make it into our cafe we’ll be happy to serve you one of our culinary grade matcha tea drinks in person, but if that’s not possible, you can also buy matcha online from us (and we’ll even share just how to make some of our signature matcha drinks when you do.)

matcha tea with cakes

What is Matcha?

Matcha is a Japanese green tea powder created from finely powdered dried tea leaves if you’re not familiar with it. It has an earthy flavor and a brilliant green hue thanks to the high chlorophyll content in the leaves. It’s been a staple of traditional Japanese tea ceremonies for generations, but it’s only lately gained traction in the United Kingdom due to its health benefits.

Green tea is already known for being high in antioxidants, but matcha tea has even more. The reason for this is that in other types of green tea, the leaves are steeped in hot water and then discarded. Matcha is made by whisking the powder into hot water or milk. As a result, when you drink the tea, you consume the whole leaf! Its antioxidants may help to lower blood pressure, cut your risk of cardiovascular disease, and even speed up your metabolism.

So, how about that caffeine? Although matcha contains more caffeine than normal green tea, it does not provide the same buzz as coffee. It makes you feel energised and focused while not experiencing the slightly jittery feeling coffee can produce in many people.

How is Matcha Made?

The one thing you should ensure when you choose to buy matcha online, from How Matcha or anywhere else, and are comparing your options is that the quality of the matcha you purchase is as high as possible. This is important not only from a taste point of view, but also to ensure that you will be consuming as many of those beneficial antioxidants as possible in every cup.

This high quality begins with the way the matcha powder is created. Matcha is made from the same plant as all real teas: camellia sinensis, whose leaves can be processed into green tea (unfermented tea that is simply boiled and dried), oolong tea (the leaves are partially fermented), and black tea (the leaves are fully fermented).

Although matcha is a green tea, its cultivation, harvest, and production methods differ significantly from those of any other tea, green teas included.

Many teas are harvested multiple times during the year; a second harvest is commonly referred to as a “second flush” in the literature. Some matcha growers produce second, third, and even fourth flushes.

Green matcha cheesecake and leaves over marble table background

The finest matcha, on the other hand, is harvested just once a year, in May, and always by hand. The tea fields, which are encircled by scaffolding of some sort, are covered from the top 6 weeks before harvest, that is, somewhere in late March or early April. Traditionally, straw was used for this, but currently, black vinyl sheets are most commonly used.

The goal behind this seemingly strange practice is to gradually reduce the quantity of sunlight available to the tea plants, and hence photosynthesis, by concealing more and more of the sunlight allowed to shine on them. By the time harvest arrives, the highest grade matcha has been grown in near-darkness.

As a result of the reduced light, the tea leaves begin to produce more chlorophyll and amino acids; the most recent growth is extremely fragile, with ever-softer and thinner buds.

This higher amino acid concentration concentrates particular molecules, the majority of which are glutamates, giving the match its powerful umami flavor profile. Because of the high amino acid content, good matcha is sweet and mouth-watering, with no traces of bitterness.

While matcha tea has a unique taste, if it is very bitter the matcha powder used to make the tea is not of the best quality. At How Matcha we want to ensure that those who buy matcha online from us come to love it as much as we do, and that won’t be the case if it is jarringly bitter.

How is Matcha Served?

Just because you are considering buying matcha online does not always mean you’ll know just what to do with the powder when it arrives. As the health benefits of matcha have become better known those concerned with their health realise they should probably try it, but they aren’t always quite sure how to do that.There are a number of different ways to consume the matcha tea you buy online, and at How Matcha we love to experiment with different add ins, but the basic way to prepare a tasty cup of matcha tea should always begin the same way:

Sift the matcha green tea powder into a small bowl or cup first. Matcha clumps quickly, so sifting it before adding water is always a good idea. Otherwise, getting the tea to distribute uniformly in the liquid will be difficult, and your matcha tea drink will be lumpy.

After that, whisk in a small amount of boiling water. This isn’t the kind of circular whisking you’d use to make baked goods or scrambled eggs. Instead, aggressively whisk from side to side, either straight back and forth or in a zigzag pattern, to equally disseminate the powder in the water and form a foamy layer on top. Your tea will not foam if you whisk it in a circular motion. And the foam is an important part of a good matcha tea experience.

Finally, add more hot water or steamed milk to finish. Matcha green tea is traditionally made with simply green tea powder and hot water, but you can easily make a latte by adding heated milk at the end. Matcha green tea with almond milk, coconut milk, or oat milk is also a favorite of our How Matcha customers. Then, whisk till foamy again, sprinkle with sweetener to taste, and enjoy!

If you want to make iced matcha – another big favorite of How Matcha customers, and a drink that is uniquely refreshing in hot weather – you can take your brewed matcha tea and pour it over ice. You can even use it in place of standard black tea if you are one of the many people who have discovered the joys of a good bubble tea!

Preparing a bowl of matcha tea

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