While matcha as a tea is delicious, matcha is very commonly used as a flavoring agent in many different kinds of foods. Matcha as a tea is often fairly bitter, but matcha flavored foods tend to be sweet and many snacks and baked sweets utilize this representative taste of Japan.
Matcha is also popular for its many health benefits. Matcha's main health point is its richness in catechin, an antioxidant. Ground matcha contains more of these antioxidants than tea made from leaves being soaked in water. Matcha in its tea form has the most benefits, food and drinks with matcha have less of an impact with other ingredients tied together.
Traditional Matcha Snacks
Matcha Yokan (抹茶ようかん) – Yokan is one of the oldest Japanese sweets, usually made from red bean paste, agar, and sugar. The matcha version of this traditional treat utilizes Japan’s famous green tea, giving the yokan not only a distinctive green color but also the characteristic matcha flavor.
Uji-Kintoki (宇治金時) - A type of Japanese shaved ice, uji-kintoki is shaved ice with sweetened green tea syrup poured on top along with azuki and shiratama dango (mochi balls). A variation that uses milk poured on top is called uji-shigure (宇治時雨).
Uirō (ういろう) - Uirō is a traditional steamed Japanese cake made from rice flour and sugar. It is chewy like mochi and comes in many flavors including azuki and green tea.
Momiji Manju（もみじ饅頭）- Momiji Manju is another wagashi, traditional Japanese confection. It is a steamed bun made into a shape of momiji, the Japanese maple leaf. Traditionally, it is filled with azuki bean paste, but variations include green tea, chocolate, and custard cream.
Modern Matcha Snacks and Desserts
Many modern snacks and sweets are flavored with matcha, as the characteristic green tea powder goes well with chocolate, baked goods, ice-cream and more.
- Matcha KITKAT by Nestle
KITKAT is very popular in Japan and the matcha flavored type is one of the most famous snacks people look for visiting Japan. Your favorite KITKAT made with creamy chocolate infused with matcha flavoring. This year a new flavor, called “KITKAT mini koi matcha(thick matcha)”, will be on sale from March 27. Expect an intense and delicious flavor with twice as much matcha that what you would find in a regular green tea KITKAT. Also, “KITKAT Chocolatory sublime Matcha” is now on sale, which is well-balanced with sweetness, having firm body taste.
- Macha Ice cream by Gion Tsujiri
Matcha ice cream is thought to have been first created in the 1960s and matcha soft serve in the 70s. When the 90s came around, bigger food company brands like Häagen-Dazs began producing matcha flavored ice cream and thus the cold matcha treat became popular worldwide.
If you are craving some more, the popular ujicha and matcha sweets shop, Gion Tsujiri, will offer a taste of Kyoto this year with an ice-cream that will feature double the amount of matcha than regular matcha ice-cream.
- Crunky matcha & cookie by LOTTE
The Japanese sweets and chocolate brand LOTTE launched a new product in March 2017: crunky matcha & cookie. It features an exquisite balance of malt puffed crispy chocolate and rich matcha.
*Limited time only.
- Matcha Roll Cake by Seven-Eleven
Being a tea, matcha naturally fits cake and other baked delights extremely well, and many types of pastries go fantastically with matcha. The Matcha Roll Cake by Seven-Eleven, found in any of their convenience stores, makes use of plenty of matcha both in its dough and in its creamy filling.
Other matcha sweets are matcha pudding, parfaits, and even certain tempura dishes combine salt and matcha powder for some extra creative flavoring.
Matcha For The World
With a history steeped in Japanese tradition and culture, it comes as no surprise as to why matcha, the amazing powdered green tea from Japan, continues its triumph on a global gourmet stage. The next time you enjoy a hot cup of flavorful matcha tea or sink your teeth into a delicious piece of matcha cake, why not think about the many hundreds of years of philosophy, knowledge, and techniques that flowed into the characteristic taste spreading on your tongue, and how it has made its way from Japan to your doorstep? You might just be able to appreciate matcha just a little bit more than before!