I have observed a trend among some matcha drinkers recently. They are buying lots of artificially flavoured matcha powders that taste like desserts, fruits & like a number of other things, such as other types of teas. There are several hundreds of flavoured teas in the market already. I guess it was a matter of time until we got flavoured matcha powders too. Oh dear!
These flavoured powders, come wrapped up in highly visually appealing containers that indeed look good & therefore attract people with their bright colours & often times, sleek designs. They gravitate around those flavoured powdered teas like people with a sweet tooth would do around the best cake shop around. I like to mix all sort of ingredients with tea, yes I am completely guilty, I am all up for innovation. However, I also have my limits & artificially flavoured tea, no matter its type, is a no for me. I don't see the point.
Why, you might wonder?
I have a well developed & highly sensitive palate, I can notice the artificial flavours really quickly. It is the only thing I perceive, no traces of matcha taste, which is one of my favourite flavours in the world. The time for me to drink flavoured teas is gone since long.
There was a time however, when I tried flavoured teas of all sorts, my favourite one was pannacotta tea. Can you imagine? Putting everything in perspective now I think: "wow, how could I drink that?" But at the time, I loved it, I cannot deny it. All of us start drinking tea somewhere, many of us start drinking tea using teabags & commodity teas. Still, the main reason I have to dislike flavoured matcha powders, is that I adore the raw matcha flavour far too much. I drink it daily, first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach. I want to feel that kick in my tongue, I want to enjoy its taste, I want to feel how the different flavours develop from the beginning to the end. It is my daily pleasure. Why would I ruin it by adding pecan nuts, or even worse, chilli pecan flavour to it? What for?
Letting alone the amount of artificial flavours added to those sort of mixes. I was having a look at the ingredients list of some of them, they mention matcha plus this & that ingredient, but they don't say anything about anything else. Are they natural? I would doubt so. Should they list all the ingredients? Yes, they should!
Sometimes, they don't even mention the name of the farm the tea was cultivated in or the name of the manufacturer. In that sense, it could come from anywhere, it could be a blend of anything. Since there is no specification, everything goes.
But some people might be on their experimenting phase still.
Indeed, this might be the case. And as I did in the past, they might like to try new things, new flavours & aromas, they might like to experiment. That is fine. However, I wonder if at some point they will evolve like you & me did, or if they will get stuck in the flavoured tea vicious circle forever.
I say vicious since the tea industry always create new enticing flavours for you to get hooked up on them. In this way, your curiositea doesn't develop much further.
The most worrying thought I have, is the fact that to make flavoured matcha, the manufacturers don't use a high quality matcha powder. In fact, it looks so yellowish once brewed (sometimes even before) that makes me think if the green tea powdered used is actually matcha. They could use any cheaper version of it since the flavouring would mask the beautiful natural matcha taste anyways. By adding other flavours, they can also mask the imperfections in the raw material taste profile. Obviously, the cheaper the ingredients, the higher the profit. The so called matcha could even come from any of the other Asian countries which are making reproductions of it. Or their own versions, if you want to call it that way.
Ok, so cheaper & lower quality, but still healthy, right?
I would not be so sure. I mean, we are talking about artificial flavours here. Plus low grade matcha or just plain powdered green tea which hasn't been shaded, hence its yellowish colour. Sold as matcha. The leaves used could be of any type, old, worn out, imported... Not only artificial, but also misleading. Shading is one of the most important steps in the matcha manufacturing process. In fact, if the leaves aren't shaded but only grounded, they call it powdered green tea (funmatsucha) in Japan, not matcha. Or arabikicha, if made out of kabusecha powdered leaves, which is a type of green tea powder made in Kagoshima. I have realized that some tea vendors out there are using the word matcha to describe each type of powdered tea. This is not only incorrect but also misleading. I will be writing a dedicated article about this in the future since we deserve to know the differences. Blocking the sunlight helps to lower the cathechin content of the tea leaves & also boosts the amount of chlorophyll the leaves contain. In addition, it raises the amount of L-theanine, the amino acid responsible for keeping you calm & focused.
If you drink matcha because you want to take advantage of its health benefits, drinking flavoured matcha is counter productive. Not knowing where the matcha comes from, how it has been produced would be a source of concern for me. Knowing that artificial substances have been added to it, would make my concern levels to skyrocket. But I like it! Well, in that case go for it. All of us have the right to make our own choices. But what would you say if I told you that there is a way to flavour your matcha at home in a more natural way? It is not that difficult & allows you to control the ingredients that got into your brew. But not only that, it saves you money, since you don't need to buy multiple cans of different flavoured matcha powders. And you still can enjoy your raw matcha without the need to have an extra can just for that. What do you think?
Now you caught my attention. Tell me more! It is super simple, just follow these steps:
1.Get high quality dried fruits, the ones you like the most. (I personally like cherries) 2.Or your favourite fresh herbs, mint, spearmint... 3.Prepare an infusion with the fruit or herbs, or maybe both! 4.Allow it to cool down up to 80 degrees Celsius
5.Brew your matcha using the infused water 6.Enjoy! You see? A more natural way to flavour your matcha, without having to break your bank by buying lots of flavoured matcha powder cans. The best part is that you also have a choice: you can drink your matcha raw, or you can infuse the water to be used for brewing with almost any flavour you like & brew your matcha with it. Plus if you like to mix some cocktails, mocktails & milkshakes like I do, you can still use the dried fruits & fresh herbs to make those too. A win, win situation, like they call it.
You have a Japanese tea shop, your judgement is biased!
Possibly. You know what they say, we see the world the way we are. I have clear in my mind the types of teas I want to introduce you to, the teas I want you to enjoy as much as I do. Artificially flavoured teas of any sort aren't part of The Japanese Tea Hub's philosophy. I could easily jump into the latest trend bandwagon. And make lots of money out of it. Fortunately for you, and for me, this goes against my principles. I won't be promoting or selling any products I don't believe in or that I wouldn't drink myself, for that matter.
Tea is more than a business for me, it is a passion, my passion. I want it to become your passion as well. The only positive point I can find in all of this, is the fact that these sort of products might bring more people to the non-flavoured tea world, eventually. Looking forward to seeing that happening. I will be here to guide you if you need me to. In the meantime, artificially flavoured matcha? No, thank you very much! What do you think? Have you ever tried any artificially flavoured matcha powder? How did you like it? Write your comments below! Subscribe to the blog, get notifications each time a new article is out! If you want 10% OFF from your first purchase, subscribe to the newsletter. Shipping within the EU currently.
Maybe, a Youtube Channel might be in the horizon too. But I am just a normal person with a chronic health condition so please bear with me. Slowly, but surely.
Keep enjoying your summer cold brews & barbecues! Don't forget we have a date, right here, each Monday! Let's keep seeping on Japanese teas!