Matcha Gotcha?

Every day there is more and more research from scientific experts in blogs and digital and traditional newspaper articles and magazines proclaiming the power of green tea. This steady testimony and the 800 years green tea has played a major role in Japanese culture are all you need to fully embrace this vibrant beverage that exudes health benefits.

Guzzled for thousands of years by eastern civilizations, green tea is a superfood worthy of this constant attention. It is loaded with polyphenols, like flavonoids and catechins, which work as powerful antioxidants. It is chock full of L-theanine which increases the activity of GABA that has anti-anxiety effects. It increases our ability to fight fat and gives us energy, and fills us with antioxidants that fight cancer. It fights bacteria, lowers our risk of Type II diabetes, has anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties and helps to create a feeling of overall well-being.

Clearly, it is a mighty beverage we need more of in our lives. In today's growing landscape of healthy libations, green tea is neither exotic nor difficult to find. In fact, green tea has a few new relatives on the scene including matcha, the Queen of Japanese Green Tea, and the new protaganist in the wellness crusade.

Powdered green tea leaves, known as matcha, are the most pure and powerful form of green tea you can find. For centuries, the Japanese have been farming matcha and perfecting the process, which does have several layers to it, but can be very ritualistic and rewarding.

I adore matcha so much, even mediocre matcha lattes make me smile. And because matcha comes in a powdered form, the field is wide open for ways to creatively incorporate this bright and magic green dust into your diet. Even pastry chefs are using matcha to create desserts that are exquisite and appetizing.

The only down side is the price, but don't let that scare you because a little goes a long way. At somewhere between $20-40 per pound, all you will need for a single serving is approximately half a teaspoon to one teaspoon.

Keep in mind that matcha does dull in color, will oxidize as it ages and also becomes less potent, so I prefer to buy this extravagant nutritional powerhouse in small amounts. A $5 investment in a 1/2 cup of matcha seems so much more fair and reasonable than $20-$40 for a pound, right? I recently bought $5 worth and will let you know how long it lasts. I am predicting it will end up being somewhere between 30-50 cents per serving--and that's a price I can definitely swing when you realize the health benefits you are gleaning for such a small investment.

Last winter, I shared a recipe for an almond milk matcha latte and I hope you tried this creamy concoction that settles you on cold dark winter days and makes you warm and happy. Now that spring is here and summer not far behind, this matcha mint iced tea is going to be the one you make over and over again.

Unlike a warm latte which requires whisking and special tools, this warm weather tea only needs a shake, a blend, two squeezes and a chill.

If you haven't yet fallen in love with matcha, what are you waiting for? It's just a shake away.

Buen provecho!
Matcha Mint Iced Tea
The Cowgirl Gourmet thanks Love and Lemons for the inspiration which has been slightly adapted

Print recipe

Green, refreshing with plenty of summer mint that grows prolifically in your garden and a touch of local honey, this is going to be your official summer 2016 drink of choice. Trust me on this one. A splash of vodka would be great or a bit of tequila could turn a get together into a party in no time.

Matcha does contain caffeine, so if you are sensitive, you may want to increase the water to 3 cups and add a touch more mint, lime and honey to taste.

Serves 2-3

2 teaspoons matcha powder
2 cups filtered water, divided (1/2 cup and 1 1/2 cup)
Handful of mint (I used about 10-20 leaves), plus more for garnish
Juice of 1/2 lime, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon local honey

In a serving container with a lid, place the matcha powder and half a cup of water. Put a lid on the container and shake, shake, shake. You want the matcha to dissolve completely, so shake some more and then set aside.

In a blender, puree the remaining cup and a half of water and the mint until the water turns a lovely color of green.

Add the lime juice and honey and blend again to combine.
Now pour the minty-lime-honey water into the serving container and shake thoroughly to blend well. Shake, shake, shake...

Refrigerate until chilled or serve over ice and enjoy immediately. Garnish with a slice of lime and a sprig of mint.

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