Meet matcha: an ancient tea trend that has made its way to the modern wellness scene. Originating in Japan, people have been sipping matcha for centuries. This powdered green tea is traditionally associated with Zen and Japanese tea ceremonies. Now you can find it in everyday bakeries, juice stores, health food stores, and cafes. Here are the details on matcha history, its health benefits, and how it’s used in beverages and food.

What’s Matcha?

Matcha literally translates to powdered tea. In Japanese, “cha” means tea and “ma” means powder. It’s different than green tea, which simply steeps the leaves in hot water (like any other tea). In matcha, green tea leaves are finely milled into a powder.

Benefits

We’ve all heard that green tea offers a bunch of health benefits, but when you’re eating or drinking matcha, you’re actually consuming the whole leaf. Talk about indulging in even more benefits! This powder is packed with antioxidants – one cup of matcha tea has as many antioxidants as 10 cups of regular green tea. Some of its other benefits include boosting metabolism, detoxifying, calming the body, and providing vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc and magnesium.

Drinking & Eating Matcha

At cafes, matcha is usually seen in the form of a latte. (Starbucks even uses it in their Teavana Green Tea Latte.) At juice and smoothie bars, a scoop of powder is typically found in the “add-ins” section of the menu to boost nutrition. Tea stores are even selling sets that include all the essentials (measuring spoon, whisk to froth, and bowl) to make the perfect cup of matcha tea.

The beauty of matcha is that it’s a super versatile ingredient. If you Google matcha home recipes, you can find out how to use the ingredient in a bunch of sweet dishes, like muffins, cakes, and ice cream.

Have you tried matcha? What’s your favorite way to drink or eat it?