Matcha is a green tea powder ground from specially-grown tea leaves. Instead of steeping leaves in water, then removing them as you would with traditional tea, matcha powder is whisked directly into water or milk (such as your latte).
Like green tea, it’s said to be high in antioxidants. But the health benefits are supposedly greater because you actually ingest the matcha powder—as opposed to discarding the tea leaves. It’s also said to contain slightly more caffeine than traditional green tea, but less than coffee. The process of producing matcha begins up to a month before the leaves are even harvested, as farmers shade the plants to develop matcha’s vibrant color, aroma and savory flavor while discouraging bitterness. The tea leaves then are hand-picked, steamed, dried and ground into a fine powder using 100-year-old granite wheels. In addition to whisking the powder into liquid to drink, matcha also is mixed into all manner of snacks and dishes—both sweet and savory—for its flavor and color.