How matcha became the go-to ingredient for the health-conscious
Matcha, the finely ground green tea, has antioxidants, can increase energy levels and detoxify your body.
With Indian consumers getting more conscious of healthy eating, consumption of green tea, gluten-free products or super foods has seen a rise. Matcha, a green tea from Japan, is an ingredient being innovatively used in ice creams, cupcakes and donuts. For the uninitiated, matcha is a finely ground green tea. In ancient Japan, monks primarily consumed it as a beverage of choice. Now, it can either be dissolved in milk or water to add to its versatility — and also for its health benefits.
“Apart from health benefits like improving moods, memory and concentration, helping you relax, aiding in weight loss, matcha has taken a diverse transformation into the culinary world with people being more conscious about what they eat,” says chef Himanshu Taneja, director of Culinary at The St. Regis Mumbai. It is also reported to give you glowing skin.
“Adding matcha in food from a simple Frappuccino and turning it into a green tea Frappuccino, to adding matcha in desserts like matcha cheese cake or a matcha ice cream, the ingredient is versatile and helps add to the health quotient,” he added. Experts say eating healthy and staying fit has become an area of focus for people across age groups, and they are increasingly looking at a variety of options that contribute to that lifestyle.
Matcha has several benefits: it is high in antioxidants, enhances calmness, boosts memory and concentration, increases energy levels and endurance, helps to burn calories and detoxifies the human body and improves cholesterol levels. It is fast making its way as an ingredient of significance.
Chef Rahis Khan of Delhi’s Metropolitan Hotel and Spa says matcha nowadays is used to add flavour to a variety of Western-style confectionery items including chocolates, cakes, candies, cookies and green tea ice-creams as it is the only tea in which the entire tea leaf is dissolved in water to provide the maximum benefits of its components. “We serve matcha ice cream. Also, matcha-based drinks have been introduced such as smoothies, lattes, milk shakes and also alcoholic beverages,” says Khan.
Foodhall, a premium lifestyle food destination by the Future Group, is also experimenting a lot with matcha. It has started a matcha experience zone that has flavoured macarons, iced tea latte, cupcake, cookies, baklavas, eclairs and donuts. “I think with more places experimenting with matcha as an ingredient, people have become more open to adding it and experimenting with such dishes,” says Olivier Vincenot, corporate chef at Foodhall.
The combination of flavour and nutrition that it provides is interesting, says Smritika Sharma, Marketing Head at beverage brand RAW Pressery. “Matcha is stronger as compared to other green teas, even when compared on caffeine levels. One must lower quantities right before bed time. Packed with catechins, matcha is an ideal pre-workout beverage. It boosts thermogenesis by 8 to 10% and improves fat burn.
“Matcha in cosmetics or through homemade masks is great for the skin. The chlorophyll present in the leaves acts as a powerful detoxifier which stimulates skin cells. Matcha, when applied topically, is also known to reduce sebum production and therefore is great for acne,” says Sharma.
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