A Healthy Match with Matcha Tea

In recent years, one of the fastest growing segments in the food industry has been healthy beverages. There are so many new products that include plant-based milks, vitamin and mineral infused water, kombucha, fruit and vegetable juices, as well as herbal and green tea. It’s not just enough to stay hydrated when there are so many ways to enhance health and nutrition with your beverage of choice.

I grew up drinking a lot of iced tea, but as an adult I’ve decided to try some different flavors and varieties. My latest discovery is matcha – a finely ground green tea that is specially grown in Japan to enhance antioxidant properties.

The plants are grown in the shade and covered during their final days before harvest. This process increases chlorophyll production which boosts the amino acid content in the leaves and gives them a bright green hue. You probably already know that green tea is touted for its health benefits – well, matcha is the superstar of the green tea family.

The whole leaf is used in the production, not just the tips, which increases the caffeine and antioxidant levels. Once harvested, stems are removed, and leaves are ground into a fine powder. Studies have found that matcha helps promote liver and heart health, can aid in weight loss, increase brain function and possibly prevent cancer.

You will find various forms of matcha throughout the store:

  • Matcha ceremonial powder in its pure form can be brewed by adding 1/2 teaspoon to a tea cup. Add a tablespoon of hot water and stir into a paste. Top the cup with additional hot water. 1/2 teaspoon of matcha powder contains 30 to 40 milligrams of caffeine which is equal to 1/2 cup of coffee.
  • Matcha tea bags can be brewed the same way as traditional tea. These tea bags are often blended with other green or herbal tea leaves and don’t contain the full benefits of matcha powder.
  • Bottled matcha latte, sparkling tea or green juice beverage to enjoy cold and on the go.
  • Matcha culinary powder is the same as the ceremonial powder only it is ground into a finer powder and is similar in texture to powdered sugar. It is used in recipes in the Japanese culture to make lattes, cakes, muffins and ice cream.
  • Sweetened matcha powder is available with monk fruit sweetener. It can be used for lattes and other recipes but in different quantities because the powdered monk fruit sweetener adds to the volume of the product.

Green Tea Ice Cream
3 tablespoons matcha culinary powder
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
6 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Begin by mixing 1/4 cup sugar with the matcha powder in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix the remainder of the granulated sugar with the egg yolks. Then add the matcha powder and sugar and stir well to form a thick green paste. 

Gently heat the milk and cream in a medium saucepan without letting it boil to a low simmer. Remove from the heat and mix a small amount of the warm milk with the matcha mixture until it becomes a smooth paste.

Gradually add the milk to the rest of the paste while keeping the mixture smooth and then return to the heat. Before the mixture boils, remove again from the heat and then strain the whole mix through a fine sieve to remove any impurities. Leave the mixture to cool completely by insetting into a large bowl of ice. Cool to at least 55 degrees. Then follow ice cream maker instructions to churn the ice cream. Freeze for at least 3 hours to solidify. 

Published 5/21/21

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