Lately, matcha has been all over the place. On the Internet, in coffee shops, restaurants, your friend's kitchens. People are baking with it, mixing it into other foods like ice cream and frosting, and they're drinking it. But, what is matcha?

Whether you're like me, and you're either a little late on the trend or have been resisting the new green fad, it's time to figure out what matcha is and why everyone cares.

What is Matcha?

cookie, sweet, tea, chocolate, matcha
Gabby Phi

Matcha is a type of organic green tea that has been ground down into a fine powder, and is produced from a leaf known as tencha. The green tea originated in China during the ninth century and was thought to be used as a cure for various conditions.

However, the tea was somehow "elapsed in China," and picked up by Japan, becoming "the heart of the famous Japanese tea ceremony for over 900 years."

How Matcha is Made

tea, green tea, matcha, cream
Jessica Yeh

A lot of care is placed into making matcha. The process begins with how the tea bushes are grown. It's important that the tea bushes are protected from any direct sunlight. By avoiding the direct sunlight "the pace of photosynthesis (is reduced) and slows down the growth of the plants."

Due to the reduced pace, the tea leaves then become darker in color, which "stimulates the production of chlorophyll and amino acids." When it comes to harvesting the matcha, everything is done by hand in order to make sure that only the smaller leaves are chosen to create the finest quality tea.

Next, the tencha leaves that are used to create matcha are quickly steamed. The quick steam is done to help preserve the flavor of the leaves, in addition to the nutritional value. After steaming, they are finely ground into the bright green powder we see today.

Why Everyone Drinks Matcha

cream, ice, milk, sweet, coffee
Erin Kushimaejo

Matcha has become very popular thanks to its looks, but it's very healthy for the body. There are many benefits that matcha can provide, for example: it's packed with antioxidants, boosts your metabolism and burns calories, detoxifies effectively and naturally, calms the mind and relaxes the body, and it lowers cholesterol and blood sugar.  

For anyone who has a difficult time getting healthy nutrients into your body, matcha could be a simple solution. Hint hint, that fourth slice of cheese pizza on Saturday night doesn't have all those essential nutrients. Wash it down with a matcha latte on Sunday morning and you're good to go (probably). Mixing matcha into your food or drinking it plain could add so many benefits to your everyday diet. 

I think it's time I give into the fad, and stop asking the question "what is matcha?" If you're weary about trying matcha for yourself, don't be hesitant. You might prefer it as a baked good or in your favorite type of drink. I think it's time I head over to Cha Cha Matcha and get my fixin' of some matcha soft serve ice cream.