When soft, powdery matcha powder hits any beverage, it adds an earthy green tea flavor complemented by smooth milk and sugar. Matcha enthusiasts who appreciate unadulterated matcha in all its glory can even drink ceremonial grade matcha, a slightly more expensive matcha meant to be drunk as-is.
Originating from Japan, matcha is high on the list for summertime beverages especially as people have begun to drink it cold. With cafes flocking to stock unique cold matcha drinks like iced matcha lattes and even matcha ice cream, matcha has cemented itself as the newest superfood with endless versatility just in time for the summer.
Why it’s a Superfood
A superfood is defined by Merriam-Webster as a food that is rich in compounds – in this case, antioxidants – that is considered beneficial to a person’s health. Matcha is just that.
According to a medical journal published by the department of Human Nutrition and Metabolomics at Pomeranian Medical University in Poland, the potent antioxidants found in matcha “originates from the considerable content of catechins, a type of phenolic compound with beneficial effects on human health.”
That’s fancy talk for naturally occurring antioxidants that are found bountifully in things like berries and cocoa. The study says that the antioxidants are responsible for health benefits such as helping to prevent heart diseases and supporting cognitive function, with regular consumption of matcha even having a positive effect on mental health.
Why it’s so Popular
Ice N’ Bites, a cafe on University Boulevard specializing in Asian fusion like boba milk tea and taiyaki has a few menu items bursting with matcha. Items such as matcha milk tea, handmade matcha ice cream, and even an affogato of matcha ice cream hit with a shot of espresso exist for the quintessential matcha lover.
“We do have more of an Asian-centric focus, so that’s why matcha is quite popular with our customers,” says Natalie Nguyen, an employee at Ice N’ Bites. “It’s quite refreshing, especially with ice cream. We sell a lot during the summer.”
How to Make it at Home with a Chilly Twist
Matcha powder can be bought at any major retail store as well as your local Asian supermarket. For easy access especially as the weather gets hotter, make matcha ice cubes! Jazz up a boring glass of lemonade or make an iced matcha latte that much more special as the matcha cubes melt into the milk. It’s easy – all you need is matcha powder, water, and a whisk. Whisk the powder into the water – stirring regularly will just let the powder settle at the bottom of the vessel it’s being mixed in – pour into ice cubes, and freeze!