Healthy Happy Life

Matcha Green Tea FAQs

Disclosure: This post part of my Encha-sponsored video series, all opinions are my own.

You have matcha questions. I have matcha answers.

Frequently asked. Today I bring you guys the final video post in my Kathy's Matcha Chat Series. Wow, I am so proud to have done twelve videos about matcha and chatting about my life and random things and lots of fun and a few kitty cats and so much m-a-t-c-h-a! This series has been sponsored by my friends at the most amazing matcha company, Encha Organic Matcha. So without much more pause, I am excited to share with you guys some Matcha Green Tea FAQs.

Matcha Fans + Matcha Curious. These frequently asked questions are some that I personally had when I first started out drinking matcha, as well as questions that I have received from the HHL community over the past few years. If you are a long-time HHL reader, you know I have been swooning over matcha for yeeeaaars now. I even have a good handful of matcha recipes in my cookbooks.

Matcha Green Tea FAQs. So, if you are any sort of matcha fan or matcha drinker or if you are just curious about this silky spring green beverage / ingredient, this post is for you..

Today's Matcha Chat video to get you excited, this post contains all the answers and so much more!..

1. Can I just order a matcha latte at Starbucks or a cafe? Or should I prepare my matcha at home?

Answer: Trying a matcha latte from a cafe or the 'bux, is a great way to dip your toes into the world of matcha. But it can have a lot of disadvantages too! For example, Starbucks is notorious for making their green tea lattes VERY sweet. Especially if you are using soy milk (which also runs sweet at Starbucks). So while I love a green tea latte from Starbucks when I am traveling and out of options, it really is not my go-to way to consume matcha.

My go-to method for my daily matcha is making it at home. This way I control the milk, sweetness, temperature, intensity and any added flavors. I have my everyday go-to recipe and I swear, no cafe has come even close to making it as good - because we know our own quirky latte preferences best!

I get to choose my best matcha milk.
I get to customize sweetness and type of sweetener.
And I get to serve it in my fave matcha mug.

And, I can sip in my PJs with messy hair and cats at my feet.

There are a few matcha cafes out there that know how to nail it in terms of quality and flavor, etc. Like Urth Caffe here in Los Angeles. But still, learning how to make a matcha at home (that you LOVE) is the best skill a matcha fan can have.

Where to buy? You can find matcha in grocery stores, tea shops and of course the giant abyss that is online shopping. Amazon is awesome, but can be iffy because they offer a bunch of low-cost brands that are not always the best in terms of quality (more on that in #3..) So someone just hoping to score a matcha bargain most definitely WILL, but the end result latte might be kinda, well, not so great to pretty awful.

Let's go. Just want some darn good matcha for your daily latte? Buy Encha on Amazon right now...

More on that in #2...

2. What brand of matcha should I buy?

Answer: I can vouch for Encha all the way - price and quality. I love the latte grade for everyday use. I also love Do Matcha, Teavana, Eden, Taste of Kyoto and more. I get into details with specific brands in my big matcha review post.

But really guys, I want you to have the confidence to find a product, taste / look at it and judge for YOURSELF if it is something you want to buy. So keep reading, #3 for that..

3. How do I know I am drinking / buying a GOOD matcha green tea?

Answer: Great question!! Not all matcha is created equal. So. There are two main ways I judge a matcha:

1 - Color! Color is the quickest way to determine quality. You want to look for a bright, perky, spring green colored matcha. If the matcha is brownish or army green, you are not getting the highest quality and the flavor will further showcase than.

2 - Taste! Taste is tricky when you first start out with matcha, but in general, you will know it when you love it! GOOD matcha has a perky, grassy flavor. It is inviting and aromatic. If your matcha is bitter, muddy in flavor or even just "yucky" you probably don't have the best brand - or also - the cafe or store could even be storing the matcha wrong and it has oxidized or spoiled.

Remember, matcha green tea is a ground up leaf! A plant. So you need to apply those same rules of judgement. Is the color fresh and perky? Is the flavor fresh and appealing? If you can pick out some fresh and lovely kale or lettuce or even apples, you can pick out some awesome matcha...

4. How much do I need to spend? Can I buy the cheap stuff?
Answer: Skip the super cheap stuff. You tend to get what you pay for with matcha. So the expensive brands are usually amazing. But, you do not need to go to the tip top price range to get top notch quality. That is where some matcha brand know-how comes into play. My brand guide can help you there.

The "cheap stuff" is usually very poor quality and gives matcha a bad name. Try to avoid giving into buying those giant bags for like $10, available online. They might be great for baking or maybe even smoothies, but for ceremonial or latte matcha tea, go for the better stuff.

Can I get numbers?? In general, $0.55 - $1.00 per gram is a good price for quality matcha. $1 a gram is getting up there...

I just checked Amazon, and you can snag a 60g pouch of Encha Organic Latte Grade for $29.40 (there is a $2 coupon for first time customers!) That is an amazing price with the quality you get.

5. How do I stir in matcha? Can I just use a spoon?

Answer: Nope. A spoon isn't the best choice for matcha. Matcha powder is SO fine that it tends to clump up very easily in hot water (or milk). Think of how powdered sugar acts when you use it in a baking glaze or frosting. So in order to really pulverize the powder you need to briskly whisk.

Check out my Matcha Tools post here!

These are the three best options you have..

1 - Bamboo Whisk - the traditional method for stirring matcha into water
2 - Frothing Device (electric wand)
3 - Blender
Oh and #4,
4 - Fork or hand-held mini whisk (If you are really in a bind, you could give these a try..)

I have gotten into the habit of just using my blender. But you can truly use whatever is most convenient for you.

6. What are the different grades of matcha? What are they used for?
Answer: Encha is a great example for this question because they carry three grades.

- Ceremonial
- Latte
- Culinary

You can read more about the grades on their website or in my matcha guide. But in general, the ceremonial grade is used for traditional matcha tea ceremonies or a special latte. The latte grade is perfect for your daily latte and the culinary grade is great for smoothies, ice cream and baking.

Ceremonial grades will be the highest in price. If you can find a good "latte grade" that is a huge money-saver!

You just want to make sure you are pairing the right grade to whatever type of recipe you are making. If you have questions about this, please let me know!

7. What about origin? Should I buy matcha from Japan or China or somewhere else?

Answer: This is really a personal buying preference. You can do your own research and even email specific brands and ask questions about their production facilities etc. But for me, I like to buy matcha from Japan.

8. Should I buy organic matcha?
Answer: Again, this is a buying preference. I personally only buy organic (when possible) because I really like to support organic farming practices. I think organic farming is so much gentler on the environment and for all the creatures on this planet (including us!) so I like to support that. I also think with something as delicate, unprotected and exposed as a green tea leaf, choosing organic just makes really good sense.

I mean check out this organic farm beauty from Encha...

photo copyright: Encha

9. What sweetener should I use?
Answer: This is a personal preference. But a few options include:

- agave syrup
- coconut sugar
- maple syrup
- honey
- stevia
- monk fruit
- cane sugar

I personally like agave or coconut sugar. You can play around and see what you prefer. Also, you do not need to sweeten your matcha. Traditional matcha tea is actually just water and matcha! And the taste of matcha + water, all on its own, is quite amazing - when you have a high quality product.

You can make your tea or latte as sweet as you'd like. Also, your milk might be sweet enough all on its own if you are using something like a vanilla soy milk.

10. Do I need a fancy matcha bowl?
Answer: Nope! The practical use for a matcha bowl is so that you can use a bamboo whisk to stir things around briskly without splashing too much or just being inefficient in a tall skinny mug. Matcha bowls are also really pretty and BIG! Which is nice. But you can use any mug or glass you'd like.

Matcha bowls = lovely + awesome to have, but not necessary..

As you can see from Encha, any sort of glass or mug works!..

* photo: Encha

11. What are the health benefits of matcha? Or why should I drink it instead of coffee??
Answer: This is a very common question! WHY matcha.

Look, I will never convert people who LOVE their coffee towards drinking only matcha. My husband is one of those coffee lovers and I totally get it. But some people, like me, just actually feel better drinking matcha daily, rather than coffee. Everyone is different, and heck, some people cannot drink ANY caffeine. I know a few of those people too. Matcha is awesome for a few reasons, but so is coffee. So, really, it just depends which drink makes you feel more amazing. And which one you want to drink on a more regular basis. (I drink mostly matcha, coffee occasionally.)

And if you do add matcha to your diet, you can see the bonus benefits it carries...

Unique properties of matcha - two things:

1 - Catechins (EGCC, the green tea antioxidant) And we all know the more antioxidants our body receives, the better. This one has been studied for it's unique and possibly powerful health benefits. I don't make any health claims for anything here on my blog, but you can read up on some fascinating studies surrounding EGCC and decide for yourself.

2 - Theanine (amino acid found in green tea) This is a unique amino acid that has been found to possibly increase focus and a sense of relaxation. Zenergy...

For me personally, I notice a low-key physical energy boost and a feeling of mental calmness and focus when I drink my daily matcha latte.

Ice cream that really chills you out? YES!..

I mean cats know the Zenergy thing is real. Or maybe just the ZEN part for them. Did I mention that cats love lattes? Yup. Oh yeah. And matcha? Their fave. I mean, they don't actually drink it, but I think the aroma, something. It reminds them of grassy hilltops. Just a guess. No clue actually. Anyways. Cats and matcha. It's a thing. You heard it here first.

12. What milk do you use in your matcha?
Answer: I use either soy, pea or almond milks. My best tip is to go for something that you normally find appealing and delicious when consumed all on its own. And also go for something with some body! Stay away from milks that are non-fat or watery. Some of those almond milks that are only like 30-40 calories in a cup just don't make the best latte...

Oh! And I absolutely always use non-dairy milk for my matcha because I am vegan. But even if you are not vegan, you may want to stay away from dairy and green tea. Why? Dairy milk contains casein, which may bind to the flavonols in green tea, possibly reducing the health benefits of the matcha.

13. What temperature should matcha be prepared and served at?
Answer: I was told that you want to use water that is just under boiling to mix in your matcha. Then hot milk, as warm as you'd like. However, really just stick to whatever you love as a personal taste preference and don't worry too much about temperature. I don't think actually measuring the temp of your matcha is important.

I personally like my lattes steamy HOT, so that is how I prepare them.

14. Can I stir matcha right into warm milk for a latte or do I need to add water first?
Answer: Water first! Really guys, I don't like "rules" for recipes as customizable as matcha, but in general, matcha dissolves better in hot water than hot milk. Actually, getting matcha to dissolve in hot milk can be quite a challenge sometimes - I think it has to do with the fat content in the milk...

For me: I do a sturdy splash of boiling water, maybe 1/4 cup, and whisk/blend in my matcha powder. Then I add the milk and sweetener, etc.

15. What extras can I add to my matcha lattes?
Answer: I love flavor accents! I actually like to add a tiny pinch of salt to my matcha lattes! And I usually add a half cap of peppermint extract too. You can also add vanilla powder, hazelnut, peppermint candy, marshmallows, coconut whip... ha I could go on with some crazy ideas, but I won't. Play around with your matcha latte and see what YOU love.

16. What else can I make using matcha? Give me recipes!
So many yummy things!

Ice Cream
Ice Cream with chocolate
Blender Banana Ice Cream
Baked Goods
Smoothies (Check out my book 365 Vegan Smoothies for matcha smoothie recipes!)
More smoothies
Waffles + Pancakes
Mint Chocolate Cups
.... I could go on ..

..This fave smoothie is in BOTH of my cookbooks! Snag my two cookbooks on Amazon!

* Matcha Banana Ice Cream

* Matcha Tiramisu

17. I want to hear about some studies and more expert advice...
Check out this interview I did with Encha founder, Li! Also download the FREE Matcha Guide I did a few years ago.

If you have any other questions, please let me know in the comments below and I will be happy to share my thoughts!

Enjoy your matcha guys!

Catch up on the entire Kathy's Matcha Chat Series:

1 - March - Episode One - chatting and intro!
2 - April - Episode Two - recipe + chatting
3 - May - Episode Three - travel tips
4 - June - Episode Four - Matcha Tools
5 - July - Episode Five - matcha sweeteners
6 - August - Episode Six - Coconut Milk Ice Cream Video
7 - September - Episode Seven - Fave Vegan Milks for Matcha Lattes
8 - October - Matcha Mash
9 - November - Matcha When Traveling
10 - December - Special baking edition. Matcha-dusted Pfeffernüsse Cookies.
11 - January - birthday lessons + bday cake matcha
12 - February - Matcha FAQs

And also, here are a few other not-coffee lattes to fill your mug with too..

disclosure: this post + video series is sponsored by my friends at Encha Organic Matcha, but all opinions are my own, info is from my own experiences. Always do your own research and consult your doctor regarding your own health + wellness needs.
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