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Matcha maintains trend of popularity

Chris' Crtitiques

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Matcha tea has become extremely popular in recent years, appearing in everything from candy, cupcakes, smoothies and lattes.

Ben & Jerry’s even has a Matcha-flavored ice cream with caramel and cinnamon, though it’s only available in Japan.

But what actually is this bright green powder, and what are its benefits?

The tea was developed by Zen Buddhists in China, but quickly spread to Japan where it became extremely popular, according to the show “Tea Tuesday” on NPR.

“I think it’s a green powder that has some health benefits, and I feel like it tastes chalky,” senior  Lauren Porell said. “I kind of just think of it as an alternative to chai.”

Matcha comes from camellia sinensis, and is a highly concentrated version of regular green tea that uses the entire leaf of the plant, according to the NPR article.  

Its unique powdered form makes it a versatile ingredient for adding tea flavor and a bright pop of green color.

Matcha tea can be purchased at most places in Burlington that sell tea. I found it in Dobra Tea and the Tight Squeeze Coffee Shop, as well as City Market.

Aside from its unique color, many people, like senior Brenna Lewis-Slammon, believe that matcha has energy and health advantages.

“From what I know, it offers a lot of energy and beneficial antioxidants,” she said. “The caffeine buzz also lasts longer than coffee.”

An abundance of a substance called epigallocatechin gallate in matcha may help lower the risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers, according to the health magazine “Vegetarian Times.”

Matcha also contains more caffeine than other green teas and won’t give you coffee jitters, the journal stated.

I tasted some matcha tea brewed at home, and its taste can pretty much be summed up as a stronger and more earthy green tea with a smoother taste and a sweet grassy smell.

The bright green of freshly-brewed matcha is very eye-catching and almost looks unnatural.

The matcha cupcake I tried from Healthy Living had a subtle herbal taste, with a sweetness that overwhelmed the tea’s natural bitterness.

If you’ve only tried matcha as a flavoring or in a fancy foamed latte beverage, I recommend trying the unaltered tea brewed at home so you can drink it authentically and taste its full flavor.

The green is still as bright as it is trend-worthy.

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