Matcha Green Tea is somewhat of a new thing for me, which is very unusual as I pride myself on knowing and having tried almost every type of tea available. However, it wasn’t until about 2 months ago that I had my first cup of Matcha Green Tea. In my case, it was a Matcha Latte at Mugg & Bean and after the first cup, I was still a bit unsure about this really green tea.
Matcha tea photos are very popular on Instagram and all the Wellness Bloggers rave about their daily dose of Matcha. In South Africa, it’s honestly not that big a thing yet and I was surprised and very impressed when I saw the Matcha Latte on Mugg & Bean’s menu (and even more impressed when it was on the list of beverages to get with your Vitality vouchers).
Before going ahead and delving deeper into the Matcha cup I wanted to do some more research on what exactly Matcha Green Tea is, and why my first cup smelled like seaweed in a cup, despite having a really refreshing taste…
What is Match?
Matcha is a form of Green Tea, but unlike any other tea where the leaves are brewed and then eventually removed from the cup, Matcha tea is actually the ground tea leaves. The power produced from grounding the leaves can then be used in tea, smoothies and even in baking (I saw a Matcha Green Tea cheesecake once).
Like most other Green Teas Matcha is also grown in Japan and has its origins there. According to the website House of Matcha, Zen Buddhists used to drink Matcha Tea to help stay calm and focussed during their meditation processes and Samurais would drink it for its revitalising properties before battle.
The Secret is in the Shade
The tea plants used to produce Matcha are actually shaded from the sun for the last few weeks before it is harvested. This protects the leaves from direct sunlight and decreases photosynthesis, which in return releases the green chlorophyll pigment, giving the tea its intense shade of green.
Why Did My Matcha Smell Like Seaweed?
I was pretty concerned when I had my first Matcha and it had an extremely strong seaweed smell. It was so yummy, but the smell really put me off and I only recently tried another cup, which had a much better smell.
From my research I found that it sometimes happens that Match Tea can smell and even sometimes taste like seaweed or fishy, but this is not actually normal…
According to the website Teasenz, Matcha tea should taste grassy, smooth and creamy. I definitely got that taste in both my cups, but the smell was definitely not grassy (which is one of my favourite smells).
The problem comes in that Matcha tea, because it is in a powder form, can absorb odours and humidity very easily. It’s called being “denatured” due to heat and humidity. It’s not that the Matcha powder is off or can make you sick, but the smell can put you off it completely.
Personally, I’m very glad I now know this as I’ll be much more careful when ordering my next cup. Ordering a Matcha Latte from a big chain restaurant who are not really trained in making them might not be the best choice, especially not if you’re only just starting out your Matcha tea journey.
I’m definitely going to give Matcha another try. The taste is so refreshing that I really want to have another cup, but now I know to keep a whiff out for the smell. Will you be trying Matcha as well?
PS. New Tea Posts will now be posted every second week going forward. This will allow me more time to create beautiful, well researched content for you, the reader, and make me feel less guilty about missing a week.