What is matcha? And why we should all be drinking it

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Have you been tempted to switch up your regular iced oat milk latte with a hint of vanilla for the new(ish) kid on the block? AKA matcha.

You have probably seen this frothy vivid green beverage in every café and being sipped by gym goers and office workers alike. So, what is it about this earthy green drink that has made even the most steadfast coffee drinkers switch it up? Well, we are about to tell you.

Matcha is a traditional green tea powder originating from Japan. You may be forgiven for thinking it is a new invention however, these finely powdered dried tea leaves have been part of Japanese culture for centuries. Even the zen Buddhist monks drank it during their lengthy meditation sessions.

Why is matcha good for you?

If the bright green colour doesn’t already scream health, here are some advantages of this ancient tea.

  • It is full of powerful antioxidants which can help fight disease and infection and also slows ageing
  • it possesses the amino acid I-theanine which helps to reduce stress and anxiety
  • Like coffee, matcha has a high percentage of caffeine. However, unlike coffee, it slowly releases caffeine with the help of I-theanine to stop that jittery coffee feeling and instead leaves your brain in a calm energised state


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How is matcha produced?

The most organic and flavoursome type of matcha comes from the Uji region of Japan. It derives from the same tea plant as green and black tea, but it is grown and produced differently.

It is left to grow in a shaded area before harvesting, giving way to the high chlorophyll and amino acid levels that it is famous for (leaving cert biology anyone?).

Different types of matcha

Now we know the fantastic health benefits and where this organic beverage is grown it’s time to start whipping up your own it drinks.

Firstly, every new connoisseur must know that there are two different blends: Ceremonial Grade Matcha and Culinary Grade Matcha.

Ceremonial Grade Matcha is the highest grade of matcha and is usually made with boiling water. This specific blend is also used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies.

If you are the baker of the group or have been influenced to be one of those iced matcha latte gals (guilty) then the Culinary Grade Matcha is what you need.

This blend is of a lower grade and is cheaper than the Ceremonial Grade Matcha. The Culinary Grade Matcha has a stronger taste than the more subtle earthy taste of its Ceremonial counterpart. This stronger taste allows the powder to stand out against other ingredients it is combined with.

Some examples of tasty and good quality products can be found on Mafia Matcha, Cloudchamatcha, Holland and Barrett, and Threespoons.ie.


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A post shared by Mafia Matcha (@mafiamatcha)

What do you need to become a matcha barista at home?

Now you have the correct type to suit your taste, now you just need the equipment. Here are some boujie sets that will give you a smooth consistency but also look super cool in your kitchen.

Matcha Bowl Set – €31.32: This set includes everything you need to begin your matcha-making journey including the traditional matcha whisk and Chasaku.

Ribbed Glass Cups – €8: After all that hard work preparing your delicious matcha, you want it to look just as good. These ribbed glasses will make it feel like you are sipping straight from your fave café.

If all that preparation doesn’t seem like your cup of tea, we have seen a few cafés that are slaying the matcha game.

The Guji Coffee Bar in Limerick and Cork’s Marina Market have a menu with a variety of different matcha flavours. The Poppy Cup In Adare and the Luna Café in Killarney have also got in on the matcha craze.

Words by Olivia O’Dwyer


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