A Matcha Made in Heaven
Green tea was once a conjectured health asset, but its recent advocacy comes from strong proven advantages – improved brain function, increased fat burning and reduced risk of cancer, to name but a few. If a cup of standard green tea excites you, then consider the power of its more organic and potent relative: matcha.
A powdered alternative, one cup of it is estimated to have the same amount of nutrients as 10 cups of green tea. It’s a specialty product, but an emerging Melbourne start-up company are bringing it into the mainstream. Jess and Cat are the duo behind Maicha, a local Springvale business providing the finest quality matcha and driven by a fascinating story.
Succumbing to a compelling wave of word of mouth, Jess and Cat tried a matcha latte aware of its health benefits and became hooked. Unable to ignore the substance’s true potential, they then tried matcha cake and matcha ice-cream. Inspired, a vision was suddenly spurred: they wanted to find the best quality matcha in the world and bring it to Melbourne. The market has its competitors, but intensive research led them to a privileged source in Japan, which is now set to propel their business down a number of paths.
Matcha comes from the same plant that all true teas come from – camellia sinensis – but the leaves are prepared differently. They are steamed and dried like green tea leaves, before being de-stemmed and deveined to become tencha leaves. The tencha leaves are then ground into the fine powder that becomes matcha. The greatest nutritional benefit of both green tea and matcha are the antioxidants, which reduce the chance of disease by neutralising free radicals and quashing oxidation of cells. Nonetheless, matcha has 137 times more antioxidants than its spiritual partner. Its preparation enables you to extract nutrients from the entire leaf, while a cup of green tea can only wrest a fraction of the antioxidants in a leaf. It’s a superfood in its own right, without receiving the overhyped buzz of a sweet potato or avocado.
As a tea, the taste varies depending on the quality of the matcha, but nonetheless provides a more full bodied, creamy experience than green tea. To identify a higher quality of matcha, the colour is key. If the powder is more yellowish than green, then the leaves have not been properly shaded prior to being grinded; a more bitter flavour is a likely result. An intense green colour indicates a greater quality product and a sweeter beverage.
Brewing is just one of many ways matcha can be handled. It’s also an extremely effective cooking ingredient, and can be used in pancakes or as a seasoning for roast vegetables. However, there’s one catch; Macha is a very fragile ingredient and the disparity between the grades of the product is vast. Those who cook with it should be aware of how to use it most efficiently, lest they waste smoothie-grade product. Many benefits are lost in lower cooking grades, which underlines Maicha’s key goal: to educate people of the importance of buying premium quality matcha.
Matcha’s versatility continues to surprise and, in the near future, Maicha hope to have a beauty line available. High in chlorophyll and catechins, matcha is great for the skin as it can slow down the aging process and act as a detoxifying agent. For the moment, however, the creative duo are just looking to promote the product in its powdered form which can now be pre-ordered via their Facebook page: 40 grams, which is about 40 servings, for $45. Their website is soon to be up and running and they hope to officially launch the business in latter part of October.
By Tom Parker