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Mind Over Matcha: Learn All About the Delicious Tea

Certainly, you've heard of matcha before. It's widely available at almost every coffee shop, it's for purchase at a number of groceries, and you've seen it on more than one dessert menu.

In addition to its complex, mildly bitter flavor and caffeine kick, matcha provides a number of other benefits.

Matcha is a finely ground green powder made of green tea leaves that are specially grown and processed. To be considered matcha, these leaves must be shade-grown for roughly three weeks before harvest. This method of growing helps the plant produce more caffeine and a chemical called theanine, which gives matcha that umami flavor.

Since it's consumed in powdered form, matcha is not steeped like other teas. Instead, it is dissolved in some sort of liquid, such as water or milk.

Though the Japanese are known to be some of the biggest proponents of matcha, green tea's origin traces back to China during the Tang Dynasty (618–907), when the leaves were first steamed and formed into tea bricks for storage and trade.

Matcha is still used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies, which surrounds the preparation, serving, and drinking of matcha. Worldwide, matcha is also used to flavor different foods, such as in cakes, smoothies, noodles, ice cream, and much more.

This ubiquitous green powder also packs a number of health benefits. In addition to being rich in fibre, chlorophyll, vitamin C, and selenium, matcha also boasts high level of antioxidants, can help boost metabolism and help detoxify the body naturally.

Matcha has also shown to boost memory and concentration, increase energy levels and endurance, and also fortifies the immune system, thanks to its antibiotic properties. Some studies have shown that those who drink matcha on a regular basis have lower levels of LDL cholesterol, while at the same time displaying higher levels of HDL cholesterol.

Considering its excellent flavor and numerous health properties, do you really need more reasons to incorporate matcha into your diet? Here are some recipes to try!

Matcha tiramisu

via Oh, How Civilized

Ingredients
Matcha Syrup
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon matcha

Matcha Sponge Cake
4 eggs
7 tablespoons of sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1.5 tablespoons matcha
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Matcha Cream
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon rum
2/3 cup mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon matcha + more for dusting

Method
1. Make the matcha syrup first by bring water (3/4 cup) and sugar (1/2 cup) to a boil. Simmer for 3 minutes and remove from heat.
2. Let cool, then sift in the matcha (1 tablespoon). Whisk well. (This can be made up to a day before.)
3. Turn oven on to 350°F. Lay parchment paper on a 13″x18″ sheet tray. If the parchment paper rolls up, put a little butter or oil under each corner. Dust the parchment paper with confectioner’s sugar. Set aside.
4. Separate eggs (4). In a mixing bowl, whisk on low speed, the egg whites for 1 minute. Turn up the speed to medium and slowly add the sugar (7 tablespoons).
5. After adding the sugar, turn speed to high. Mix until the stiff peaks form and the egg whites look shiny. Add the egg yolks (4) and fold to mix. Sift in matcha (1/2 tablespoon) and flour (3/4 cup) to the egg mixture and fold to incorporate.
6. Pour the mixture onto the sheet tray and spread evenly. Dust confectioner’s sugar on top.
7. Bake for 10 minutes. Use a cookie cutter (we used the 3″) to cut out circles.
8. Bring a small pot of water to a simmer. Put the egg yolks (2), sugar (1 tablespoon), and rum (1 tablespoon) in a stainless steel bowl that will sit on top of the pot.
9. Continuously whisk all three ingredients together until it thickens to the “ribbon stage” (about 5 minutes). Cool for 5 minutes.
10. In another bowl, whip the heavy cream (1/2 cup) until soft peaks form. Combine the lightly whipped heavy cream and the egg mixture. Fold together.
11. Sift in the matcha (1 tablespoon) and mix well. Finally, fold in the mascarpone cheese (2/3 cup).
12. In a small glass (we used these mini cups), put in a cut round piece of the sponge cake. (We cut a smaller piece of cake to fit the tapered bottom of the cup.)
13. Spoon on the matcha syrup over the sponge cake, making sure the sponge cake gets soaked with the syrup. Dollop the matcha cream on top.
14. Layer on another piece of sponge cake. Pour on matcha syrup to the top level sponge cake. Add the final layer of matcha cream and dust with matcha.

Chocolate matcha energy balls

via The Healthy Maven

Ingredients
½ cup soft, pitted dates* (make sure they are sticky)
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 T matcha green tea powder + more for dusting
1 T unsweetened almond milk

Method
1. Add dates and almonds to a food processor and process until they come together into a sticky ball.
2. Break up ball and add in cocoa powder, matcha powder and almond milk.
3. Process until all ingredients have been combined and form into a large sticky ball again.
4. Roll into 10 small balls and dust with more matcha powder.
Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or longer in freezer.

Incorporating matcha into your diet is just one way to ensure that you are doing the best for your body. Growing your own greens in an Urban Cultivator is another terrific way to get all the nutrients you need for a healthy diet.

Featuring a wide variety of microgreens to choose from, you only harvest the greens when you're ready to eat so that the greens retain as much of their nutrients as possible. Learn more about Urban Cultivator appliances here.

What's your favorite thing to do with matcha? Let us know in the comments section!

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