Thursday, July 14, 2005

Matcha Madness!

Just what is this Matcha anyway? Well, Matcha is the name of a rather adorable crochet cat - and while he has his own following, I'm referring to a specific type of Green Tea. The literal translations I've found for "Matcha" include "liquid Jade" and "rubbed tea." It is a brilliant green tea powder that is typically used in the Japanese Tea Ceremony, Chanoyu. Interestingly enough, it is also used to dye foods such as soba noodles and mochi green, and is used in the making of Green Tea Ice Cream. Matcha is made from gyokuro, a green tea that is shaded during the weeks prior to harvest to ensure their deep green color. Post harvest, the leaves are steamed to prevent fermentation, and are processed to remove their veins - at this point they are laid flat to dry - and are now known as "tencha." The tencha is then ground into a fine powder and is then known as Matcha. There are two types of matcha - koicha and usucha, with koicha having a milder and sweeter flavor than usucha.

Anyhow, Matcha green tea is all the rage these days. Starbucks now offers a Matcha Creme Frappuccino as well as a Matcha shaken iced tea. I've not yet had the opportunity to try either....what I have tried is one of the new Matcha additions to the Jamba Juice lineup...while they offer several Matcha blended smoothies, I opted for a Matcha Shot - paired with soymilk. Interestingly enough, it tastes like Lucky Charms. I kid you not - and it had me perky all morning long :)


amy in az said...

Well Mr. Wizard... how informative
How about you and me make a Matcha run tomorrow during work!?-- I will bring Matcha the a cat!

Dr.Gray said...

If your interested in real matcha you should look for a good importer online. And real matcha does not taste like lucky charms.

Anonymous said...

living in Japan I turned my nose up at Starbucks matcha latte and frap but after tasting it, as everything they make, I am hooked like a crack addict.
I have looked for a way to make it at home the same way, using my own mortar/pestle ground matcha and steamed milk, but I have not discovered the same flavor in my own creations. I have seen them pump clear syrup (I am assuming vanilla) into my frap so maybe that is the distinct difference.
Overall - matcha is highly healthy and addictive. Nothing like a shot of green grassy flavor in the morning to start the day!
Starbucks hardly qualifies for that type of accolade, but like I mentioned before, the crack in their beverages keeps people coming back for more.