In case you guys haven’t noticed, it’s been DISGUSTINGLY hot lately. We’ve only just hit June, and already the temperatures are already above the 90’s. And to top it off, the humidity has been steadily rising too, making me a giant ball of sticky grumpiness. So pretty much all I’ve been wanting to do recently is try to stay cool by moving as little as possible.
What other efforts I HAVE been making involve either procuring a job (I NEEDS MONEY, NOWWW), or bringing my body temperature as low as humanly possible. The latter involves lots of cold showers, iced drinks, and lying underneath the fan.
But inspiration struck me in the form of a beautiful, grass-colored drink yesterday. I tried a matcha Americano for the first time yesterday at the Open Face café in Rochester. No, that’s not espresso with green tea powder mixed into it. It was a shot of matcha tea over iced water, and although it sounds pretty ordinary, I guarantee you that it was one of the most refreshing things I’ve drank in my entirrreeee life. Icy-cool, slightly sweet, with a punch of green tea flavor – it was so good!
So with my love for all things green tea, of course I tried to recreate the drink at home. With today’s temperature just as high as yesterday’s, my body was begging for it. Plus, it turns out we had matcha at home! Huzzah!
I started off with iced water:
I did some research before matcha-ing, and it turns out that matcha foams only when the water it’s mixed into is either really hot or practically freezing. I wasn’t gonna drink boiling water anytime today, so I went the iced water route.
Matcha, or powder made from crushing the finest, youngest green tea leaves. This here is the ESSENCE of green tea, and is used in green tea ice cream, green tea baked goods, etc. Apparently, it’s even healthier than normal green tea because you’re actually eating the whole leaf, instead of just steeping then removing it. So you’re getting a lot more of the antioxidants, and all the other good stuff that’s in green tea. Matcha is quite strong on its own, so I only used a teaspoon for my iced matcha.
Then I poured in the iced water – just a little bit! I wanted to make a matcha “shot” first, and then dilute it with water later, just like I would with a regular Americano.
When traditionally making matcha, one would use a special matcha whisk; you see them used a lot in Japanese tea ceremonies, because they’re perfect for making a slightly foamy, lumpless green tea.
BUT ALAS. I did not have such a special whisk on hand; so I made do with a normal, baby-sized whisk.
And I started whisking away…
Until the green tea was well mixed and lump-free. Like so:
Now matcha by itself is actually pretty bitter, and I feel that it tastes best with just a liiiiittttle bit of added sweetness. We’re not talking about a sugary, Starbucks frappucino here, folks. I’m thinking more along the lines of this:
Agave nectar! You might have heard of it – it’s been a very popular healthy food recently. Agave nectar is a sweetener made from the agave plant (yup, the same thing that tequila is made from), and texture-wise, it’s a little bit thinner than honey. It’s lower on the glycemic scale than sugar, which means you get less of a crash, but at the same time it’s actually sweeter than sugar – so you end up using less of it.
I poured in the tiniest drizzle for my drink.
After whisking the agave in, I poured my matcha over some ice.
Then poured water over it to fill it up and dilute it to my taste.
The end result?
A cup of a dark green, boldly flavored matcha americano.
My homemade iced matcha was good, and it really hit the spot on a day like today. But I’ll have to admit, it wasn’t as good as the one I had at Open Face – I think it needs some tweaking. Next time I’ll mix the matcha with HOT water first, then cool it down by pouring it over ice; that’s how it’s traditionally done, and I feel like it would foam up and dissolve a lot better. My matcha has also been lying around the house for a while, and this might work better with newer powder. Not that I’m complainin’ – I’m perfectly content to use my matcha as-is. Maybe there will be green tea baking experiments in the near future…? Only time will tell… :)
In case you couldn’t tell, I’m trying my best to update on a more often on a consistent basis (hahahaa….). I mean, I’ve got nothing to do until I get a job, so while I’ve got all this time on my hands, there hasn’t been much to blog about…
Ah, well. You can’t get everything in life.
Anyhows, I hope everyone out there stays cool! I’m going to try to do the same in my AC-less house…