Friday, May 28, 2010

Mind on Matcha

Matcha Powder

Today I want to speak with regard to matcha, a recent obsession of mine. Matcha is a finely milled powder green tea powder which comes from the lovely island of Japan. Matcha is drunk of course, but you can also use matcha powder in certain recipes. This is what gives those matcha cakes and cookies the lovely green hue. I naively thought, as a youngster, that those green foodstuffs behind the bakery counter at the local Asian store were just stale pastries and not wanting to argue with cultural customs I quietly accepted that. Good thing I have moved on from those days! Although green tea is grown all over the world, matcha is endemic to Japan and you will find it at the centerpiece of the particularly precise and beautiful tea ceremony. Matcha is also a lovely palate cleanser that you may enjoy at the end of a meal.

Matcha's taste is very unique. Certainly full of twists and turns, the taste is not at all stagnant. There is a hint of bitterness, a touch of serenity, a wealth of flavors all packed into this tea. Matcha is thicker and lovelier than your average green tea. A long-lasting sweetness stays after your first bitter taste from the tea making it alluring and addicting. I crave it as I write...Aside from delicious taste, you can of course count on the health benefits that come along with green tea. A plethora of nutrients, antioxidants and fiber are all part of your daily cup of match green tea. It is healthful also in that it is sugar free, but you get a taste of sweetness from the tea itself. But don't expect it to come cheap. Being an export product of Japan increases price as well as the fact that matcha processing is limited and much of it is grown and picked by hand.

Bowl of Matcha Green Tea

Right now I am wild about matcha lattes. Milk and Matcha with a touch of sugar paired to create a sweet morning, afternoon, or evening treat be it iced or hot. It is quite simple to make at home if you buy your own matcha. Look up a recipe online or create your own! Very fun to serve to guests. Matcha lattes are also popping up more and more on coffeeshop menus. New to matcha? Give it a try and tell me what you think? Matcha expert? Share your thoughts!

Enjoy this holiday weekend and have an extra cup of tea for me!


Friday, May 14, 2010

Kirin Milk Tea

I am surprised I haven't posted on Kirin Milk Tea Yet. This refreshing Japanese product is probably my favorite pre-prepared and bottled tea beverage. I usually either have a large bottle chilled in the refrigerator or buy a small bottle to take out with me.

The Japanese product is simply a strong black tea partnered with milk and sugar. When enjoyed cold, it is a lively and sweet treat, smooth and milky. I've been enjoying this product for years now. What I love about Kirin milk tea is the variety. You wouldn't think that you could do so much to milk tea! There is the regular milk tea, my usual purchase, but there is also reduced sugar milk tea (still completely tasty and refreshing), healthy milk tea, royal milk tea (stronger black tea), and you can also buy Kirin's milk coffee if you need an extra jolt of caffeine.

The lovely beverage is available at most Asian Groceries or Asian Convenient Stores in the USA and of course easily available in most of Asia. Go get yourself a milk tea and take a break from the summer heat!

-The Tea Gastronomer