Matcha is a finely ground green tea powder, and the tea is made by whisking it with hot water. Matcha has been an integral part of traditional Japanese tea ceremonies, or "chanoyu," since around the 12th century. While matcha leaves are grown in a variety of places, it is said the best matcha comes from Japan, specifically from Uji, Nishio, Shizuoka, and Kyushu. The process from growing the matcha leaves to creating the powder is very laborious, making it pricier than other teas. There are two forms of matcha: usucha and koicha. Usucha, or "thin tea," is what cafes and restaurants commonly serve. On the other hand, koicha, or "thick tea," is used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies because it is made from the highest quality matcha powder and whisked with a chasen, or bamboo whisk. While you can find ceremonial grade matcha powder at tea stores, I used a lower grade matcha powder that can be found at almost any market.
You may be seeing it everywhere now for a few reasons. For one, it's a very versatile ingredient. It can be used in warm and cold drinks, like lattes and cocktails, or in baking cakes, cookies, etc. Its distinct taste is also appealing to many, with its mixture of sweet, bitter, and earthy flavors. Additionally, matcha leaves are high in antioxidants, making it a healthy ingredient to incorporate!
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