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The Gloss Report: Matcha tea
January 17th 2014 / 4 comments
With more antioxidants than traditional green tea, matcha tea is a must-try for the New Year detox season. The Glossy Posse test out the best...
Teasan Matcha Extra Premium Grade
Buy online: www.teasan.co.uk
Feedback: “I am most definitely what you would call a tea hen. I absolutely love all tea whether it be Earl Grey, peppermint, jasmine or green - I just love it! So when I heard we were trying and testing the Rolls Royce of tea - the matcha, I was pretty excited.
“Scientifically proven to elevate mood, aid weight loss and boost metabolism, it’s no wonder health fanatics and celebrities alike have flocked to trade in the builder’s blend for this cup of glory. In particular, Teasan heralds itself as producing the highest grade of Japanese matcha by using only the top 2-3 shoots of green tea to produce the ‘most luxurious tasting matcha in the UK’. As a result this baby doesn't come cheap; however with only a tiny amount of powder required to make a glass, there is potential to make over 40 mugs of pure antioxidant goodness - surely a price worth paying for your health, no?
Lets cut to the chase - it’s not the most delicious flavour you will ever experience but it really isn’t a million miles away from green tea due to its refreshing, earthy qualities. I would strongly recommend sifting the powder into the cup to avoid lumpy, powdery bits that don’t go down well (trust me) and be aware of how much powder to add, as it vastly determines whether your tea is lighter or more creamy - I preferred lighter. However, the well documented health benefits have made this matcha an absolute must in my daily tea ritual and certainly for any of you out there trying to kickstart your healthier and happier 2014!
DoMatcha Ceremonial Grade Tea
Buy online: www.healthyandessential.co.uk
Feedback: “I’m not a big coffee drinker, but I do love a cup of tea as my mid-morning or mid-afternoon pick-me-up tipple of choice. However, my trusty teacup of Twinings might need to watch its back as it may have competition in the form of my mug of Matcha. Although I just might have to win the lottery first.
“At £25 for 30g (gulp) I was sceptical as to whether it would be worth the price tag but considering its impressive list of health benefits, I was definitely willing to see if it lived up to its claims. Although small in size, a little goes a long way as you only need half a teaspoon per serving. I used the handy Whisk, £15.99, to ensure that there weren’t any lumps and then sat back and waited for the matcha to work its magic. Although slightly too ‘grassy’ for my taste, I certainly felt an energy boost which rivalled that of my standard Girly Grey or green tea. There was no lunchtime lull for me and as I write this review, I’m feeling pretty perky to say the least. I was initially looking forward to a quiet night in, but due to this unforeseen increase in my energy levels, I’m thinking that I should perhaps revise my evening plans…”
Clearspring Organic Matcha Green Tea
Buy online: www.clearspring.co.uk
Feedback: "I must admit I am a big tea drinker but tend to stick to either black tea or my trusty peppermint; green tea is definitely not my bag as I just find it too grassy. However, this Matcha Green Tea was quite a surprise. In a small silky teabag, it creates an oddly strong green colour when infused with boiling water which is really rather off-putting. As a fussy eater I also found the smell rather offensive; think of boiled broccoli stalks and you're in the right aroma area. That said, I held my nose, set aside my reluctance and really loved the taste. It's light, refreshing, and similar to a smooth jasmine tea (which I happen to like) in taste.
"I usually take my time with more herbal cuppas but found this as easy to drink as water; having seen some of my fellow Glossies struggle with the powdered versions I'd go for these handy teabags every time. However, what it offers in taste it lacks in matcha power; the bags are 97.5% green tea leaves and 2.5% matcha green tea powder, so although the high antioxidant content is still there it won't be as beneficial as the full powder versions. The box claims Buddhist monks use it to keep focused and alert and I actually did feel like it boosted my concentration - something I will stick to, but if I was really going for it in the detox stakes I'd grin and bear it with a powder for full effect."
Pure Chimp Super Tea
Buy online: purechimp.com
Feedback: “Like most members of the team, I’m a tea fiend. I love the chat, biscuits and comforting mug of char involved in the average British tea ceremony. This week’s Gloss Report has been a crash course in Japanese tea habits, i.e., a world away from PG Tips protocol. Pure Chimp Super Tea is a lurid green, powdered 100% matcha tea that promises the earth. Benefits of supping this wonder brew include weight loss, boosted metabolism, immune system support, inflammation reduction, clearer, more youthful skin and lowered cholesterol. It also boasts cancer-prevention capacity, mental-health magnifying power (?) and energy-boosting qualities. I could continue; the apparent health pros of such hefty dose of antioxidants are pretty awe-inspiring.
“Unfortunately I can’t really comment on most of the merits down to lack of proof or evidence, but one thing I did notice was that I did indeed feel perky as promised, without the shakiness or buzzing brain triggered by the average venti americano. Taste-wise it has much more backbone than green tea; it’s packing no punches, but I will forgive it for its slight bitterness as it’s so very good for me. I can imagine that it would work really well blended into a smoothie (or ice cream?). Post taste-test I have three golden rules: whisk, whisk and whisk some more. Lumpy matcha is not a lot of fun. Once smooth and fully dissolved however I began to almost enjoy its odd creaminess and the fact that it was the same colour as Shrek. It will wake you up in the morning, that’s for sure.”
Kensington Tea Company Japanese Matcha
Price: £19.50 (usually £25)
Buy online: www.kensingtontea.com
Feedback: “It may seem like quite a hefty price tag for tea but this little tin of green goodness definitely has enough health and wellbeing benefits to warrant it. A traditional Japanese tea, packed with detoxing anti-oxidants (15 x more than green tea, 6.2 x more than goji berries and 60.5 x more than spinach) this natural energy boosting tea is even used by Buddhist monks for focus and calmness. Also linked to fighting disease, aiding weight loss and anti-ageing it's unsurprising that matcha is the tea du jour for the health conscious.
“Kensington Tea Company's Japanese Matcha comes in powder form (thought to have more benefits than a matcha tea bag by virtue of the fact that the matcha is intended to be ingested) the drinking of this tea is intended to be quite the event. The instructions include sieving the powder and whisking the tea in a 'W' action or alternatively a kneading action. For time-poor individuals such as myself, it seems that mixing a third of a teaspoon of the powder into hot water works just as well. The tea looked very unappetising in all its murky green glory but surprisingly it tasted very pleasant indeed. Not dissimilar to the taste of green and jasmine tea combined - it definitely put my usual black tea to shame. Plus, with all the touted health benefits and an endorsement from actual monks, what's not to love?”
Vitalife Japanese Matcha Green Tea (Beginner’s Grade)
Buy online: www.vitalifehealth.com
Feedback: “I’m beginning to get the impression that matcha is not to be messed with; its strong flavour, potency and the fact that there’s an option for ‘beginners’ implies that it means business. Buddhist monks drink it ceremonially to boost their powers of concentration during 12-hour meditation sessions; which bodes well for my working day. This tea was one of the cheapest powdered options, and the fact that you’re advised to use only 1g per cup means that despite the unarguably steep price, a little goes a long way. This tea definitely tasted smooth at the beginning, and I began to quite like it until I got about three quarters of the way into my mug. Here I found a heap of sludgy green residue; I could go no further. For a sweeter brew you could consider investing in the accompanying matcha-making paraphernalia; namely a bamboo scoop to ensure you get your quantities right and a specialised whisk to blend it to oblivion. Unfortunately the complete beginner kit will set you back £24.99. To achieve the desired frothiness and avoid a matcha slime it might be worth it, but a good old fashioned hand whisk, or failing that an electric one, should do the job. Perhaps add in a sieve too. It’s a shame that my taste-test ended in a mouthful of silt, as before this I actually quite liked the strange, aromatic flavour.”