Green tea, or matcha, is a Japanese tea used specially in tea ceremonies. It is also used to add color to certain foods like noodles, green tea ice cream and a good number of Japanese confectioneries.
What Is Matcha?
Matcha is a green powdered tea that is made by steaming and drying gyokuro tea- leaves. In order to get good quality of green tea powder, the tea bushes are protected from sun some three weeks before the leaves are harvested. The leaves are then de-veined, and powdered with the help of a stone grinder to a superfine powder – the matcha powder.
The best quality matcha powder comes from the Uji Taware area while the highest producer of the green tea powder is Nishio on the island of Honshu. This powder is used to flavor sweets and ice cream not only in Japan, but also all over the world.
Green tea ice cream is a great favorite in the USA and Europe following the fad of the green tea itself. Green tea is considered to be one of the most beneficial herbal teas available to man, mainly for its anti-oxidant properties. Good quality green tea is very expensive and rare, so the green tea ice cream is considered a delicacy in the world.
Besides green tea ice cream, you will also find the goodness of the green tea captured in the form of cereal and energy bars. The matcha powder is a common ingredient in many Japanese sweets such as kakigori, matcha-shio, castella, manju, etc. as well as Western sweets such as chocolates, puddings, Swiss rolls, cheesecake, cookies and of course the famous green tea ice cream.
The green tea powder is also added to a good number of beverages like lattes, milkshakes, iced drinks and even alcoholic drinks. Among all these, the green tea ice cream is the most famous because of its exquisite taste and its health value.
The medical benefits of green tea are manifold; it helps in digestion, it helps removing the free radicals from the body, relaxes blood vessels thus preventing heart attacks, it fights cancerous cells and prevents cancer, it helps to prevent high blood pressure and best of all, is known to help in reducing weight.
Research studies on green tea keep turning up new benefits. The latest news is that this concoction also helps in fighting against HIV. Some people advise that along with drinking the tea (3-5 cups a day), you should also consume about five grams of the powder every day, to enjoy the full benefits of this wonder product.