Journey of Wellness: Matcha (Recipe Included)
By now everyone has heard of Matcha, a form of green tea named by the Japanese literally meaning, “powdered tea”. It consists of the leaves of green tea plants that are shaded for three weeks prior to harvest. Once harvested, they are devined, stemmed, and steamed before being ground into a fine powder.
A while back, I visited a friend who used to own a shop that sold matcha in Philadelphia to see if she could give me more details about Matcha, which she did while making us both bowls of the drink. As she prepared our tea she explained how green tea arrived in Japan. In approximately 1191 A.D. a Zen monk named Eisai was said to be the first person to bring green tea seeds to Japan from China which he planted on the temple grounds in Kyoto.
Pouring hot water into a ceramic bowl she explained that she likes to warm up her bowl before starting the preparation. After she swirls the hot water around the bowl for a few seconds she pours it out and then reaches for a bamboo scoop that measures “the perfect amount” of powder. After putting the powder in her bowl, she adds approximately 4 ounces of hot water. Using a bamboo whisk she blends the powder and water until it is smooth and foaming slightly.
Holding the bowl, I breathed in the scent and it instantly reminded me of the smell of spirulina or chlorella. My friend explained that the “green” smell made sense because of the increased chlorophyll content in Matcha due to it being shade-grown.
In addition to chlorophyll, which aids in detoxification, other benefits of Matcha include:
Lowers LDL “Bad” Cholesterol
Contains caffeine but does not cause jitters
Cancer Prevention due to high amounts of EGCG
And it tastes delicious! Now that matcha has become such a staple in everyone's pantry there are a bunch of recipes using matcha to make everything from cookies, cakes, and even ice cream.
I'm going to try the recipe below and will post my results! If you have a recipe you are going to, or have already, tried share your results in the comments below!
Chocolate Matcha Buttercups (keepinitkind)
1/2 cup coconut butter, softened but not melted
5 tablespoons almond flour
3 tablespoons powdered xylitol (or powdered sugar)
1 teaspoon matcha powder (I used Kiss Me Organics)
1 cup chopped dark chocolate
1 teaspoon coconut oil
for the topping
1/8 teaspoon matcha powder
1/16 teaspoon sea salt
In a small bowl, mix together the coconut butter, almond flour, powdered xylitol (or powdered sugar), and matcha powder. Place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
While the matcha mixture is chilling, melt the chocolate. Place the chocolate in a glass bowl and place over a small pot of boiling water. Add the coconut oil and stir until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat.
Line a muffin tin with 8 muffin liners. Spoon 2 teaspoons of melted chocolate into a liner and use the back of the spoon to push the chocolate about 1/4 of the way up the side of the liner. Repeat with the rest of the liners.
Scoop 1 tablespoon of the matcha mixture into your hands and roll it into a ball. Place the ball into one of the liners and use your fingers to gently flatten it. Repeat until all cups have been filled.Top each cup with 1 tablespoon of melted chocolate and use your spoon to spread evenly over the matcha mixture, making sure that the chocolate meets the edge. If there is extra chocolate, divide it amongst the cups and smooth out.
In a small bowl, mix together the matcha powder and sea salt for the topping. Sprinkle the matcha salt mixture over the tops of the cups. Add a few cacao nibs to each, if desired. Place the muffin tin in the refrigerator and chill the cups until they are solid. Keep chilled until ready to serve. For a softer, chewier, piece, let it sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes before eating. Enjoy!