What’s green, versatile, healthy, and loved by people all over the world? No, it’s not kale or spinach. I’m talking about matcha, a variant of green tea. The matcha craze has taken the world by storm. People are baking with matcha, drinking Starbucks Matcha Green Tea Frappucinos, and eating matcha flavored Kit Kats. Besides its signature earthy taste, people adore matcha because of its health benefits. Antioxidant boost, anyone?

As the number of matcha fans increases, both professional and amateur bakers are experimenting with matcha recipes. But for those of you who have never baked with matcha, following online recipes is often not enough to dispel all the confusion you may experience. Here are some of the things I’ve learned from my personal experiences baking with the popular green tea powder.

Get To Know Your Matcha

Chloe Lee

The first step in improving your experience baking with matcha is to know what kind of matcha you're dealing with. Things to keep an eye out for include the expiration date, the country in which it was made, and the color. These factors can indicate the quality of the matcha you're buying.

It's also good to be extra keen and see what the product actually contains. This might sound counterintuitive, but it's possible to accidentally buy packets of matcha green tea instead of matcha green tea powder—the latter is what you want to use for baking. I did this the first time I wanted to make matcha treats and had to make a second trip to the grocery store. 

#SpoonTip: When shopping for matcha powder, look for words such as “tea sachets,” “tea bags,” and “tea packets” to distinguish between grounded matcha powder versus matcha green tea.

Adding Matcha: More Is More

Chloe Lee

The next step is to consider the matcha flavor profile. It’s important to ask yourself whether you want your baked treats to have a stronger matcha flavor or more subdued matcha undertones. If you're going for a more pronounced matcha flavor, you should add a little more than what the recipe calls for. This is especially true if you will add toppings, which I'll talk about later.

To Chill or Not To Chill

Chloe Lee

For every additional hour you leave the batter in the fridge, the taste and aroma of the matcha gradually become more pronounced. This is definitely recommended for cookie and crepe recipes. However, this step also depends on what you’re making. If you’re making a cake or pancakes, it’s better to bake the batter immediately, since chilling the batter might prevent it from rising.

Adding Toppings: Less Is More

Chloe Lee

While matcha has a very distinct flavor, it can be easily overpowered by other flavors. That’s why when baking with matcha you want to be careful with what toppings you add and how much. Take chocolate chips for example. I added chocolate chips when I baked some matcha green tea cookies, but I could barely taste the matcha. If you want the matcha to shine, add fewer toppings. It’ll go a long way.

Chloe Lee

If you’re ever in a baking mood, then try something new by making it matcha-flavored. Using a new ingredient can be daunting, but baking with matcha can be surprisingly simple with these insider tips. Plus, the experimental process makes it all the more enjoyable. So start preheating your oven; it’s matcha baking time.