Matcha tea is a powdered form of green tea. It is made from tea leaves specially grown in the shade. The leaves are dried (again in the shade) and then ground to a fine powder. The special growing and drying in the shade is responsible for the lovely bright green colour of Matcha powder.
Matcha tea is a highly prized green tea. It is used in Japanese tea drinking ceremonies as well as Buddhist ceremonies.To make tea, you whisk the matcha powder in a bowl with hot water. This forms a bright green frothy tea which, traditionally, you consume on its own.
You can add milk, turning it into a matcha tea latte. You can also use the matcha powder to flavour cakes and other desserts. My first experience of matcha was in green tea ice cream in Seoul, South Korea.
What is the point of using powdered tea instead of just steeping the tea leaves, you may ask. The logic behind matcha powder is that this way you are using the dried leaves in their entirety. In the every day infusion or steeping method of making tea, the leaves are discarded so that you don’t get all of their benefits. This powdered tea has a slightly higher caffeine content than conventional green tea but it is also much higher in the good stuff (anti-oxidants, amino acids, vitamins and minerals).