Dear Health … Love, Matcha
By: Kimberly Cihlar
January 8, 2022
There’s nothing quite like morning matcha making, in my humble opinion. Steeped in the tranquility of mixing up a cuppa in the solitude, silence, and dark of the dawning day, there’s both ritual and ceremony. Scooping the emerald-hued, stone ground tea powder by elegantly-shaped chashaku into a beautifully-crafted wide-bottomed matcha bowl or chawan; mesmerized by the brilliant green brew swirling in the bowl, whisking with the bamboo chasen, then, sliding it onto the tenmoku holder that dries the prongs just so.
There’s also the wellness factor, infusing my body with the vibrant chlorophyll of shade-grown green goodness that packs a super healthy punch of goodness. This beautiful brew full of antioxidants, the body’s defense agents, can help fight infections and diseases, counteract free radicals and, some say, aging. Matcha also absorbs easily and therefore doesn’t cause jitters. One serving of matcha matches 10 cups of regularly brewed green tea, its ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) scale rating is thousands of units higher than goji berries, blueberries, broccoli or spinach! How’s that for healthy?! Matcha’s bumped-up chlorophyll content is also a blood-oxygenator, promoting good circulation and anti-inflammatory qualities. It’s my daily morning meditation, with the matcha moving through my system like prana or energy, healing organs and boosting my heart.
My favorite matcha is from Tea Dealers, the Avenue B-based tea house near my NYC East Village apartment, who sell online, too. I adore Shousui Matcha, a ceremonial Japanese matcha that Tea Dealers use for koicha, or thick tea, and whose poetic translation means “Pine Green,”. Its delicate flavor is at once bittersweet and conjures up cocoa with a floral finish.
Lately, I’ve been favoring their Black Matcha, which isn’t technically matcha, but a black Korean tea, ground in the matcha manner. It is full-bodied, rich and when paired with a healthy alternative nut milk, is like hot chocolate for grown-ups!
Matchaful, its special seasonal lattes spiked with supplemental additives like ashwagandha, reishi or turmeric, is my fave spot to mold a matcha newbie into a matcha fanatic! Matchaful’s tea tins ship online. I’m impressed by the smooth, velvety texture of their ceremonial-grade Hikari (meaning “light” or “glow from the sun”). They offer classic lattes that embrace the umami, or savory flavor, so popular these days, with their Kiwami matcha, delicious served straight (no milk for latte needed!), boasting a slightly sweet, floral, creamy flavor.
Woman-owned, sustainable Mizuba Matcha crafts a range of teas. Their Daily Matcha Green Tea is an affordable everyday matcha madness must-have. I love this blend for its creamy mouthfeel, the taste slightly like lightly toasted vanilla (a double win for me), with full milky notes that come through, whether served neat or straight.
When far from go-to specialty tea shops, culinary grade SerendipiTEA matcha is readily found in most groceries, and perfect in those matcha muffins, smoothies, and honey-sweetened lattes. It doesn’t taste as fine or clear, especially straight up, as some of my preferred brands, but is great shaken with cashew milk, ice and a little maple syrup.