Authentic Matcha Ice Cream recipe with complex grassy notes of matcha flavor that balance out the overall sweetness in ice cream.
I was craving a bitter-sweet Matcha Ice Cream, not the one with artificial green tea flavoring that could be found in cheap green tea ice cream. Finding an authentic Matcha Ice Cream is like finding a needle in a haystack here. If you have ever tasted both, you will definitely recognize the difference. The fresh grassy notes of the matcha balance out the overall sweetness in ice cream. Surely, the complex flavor will be able to amaze your tastebuds. The good thing is, I can make as much Matcha Ice Cream as I like with my ice cream maker.
About Matcha (抹茶)
Some of you may get confused about the difference between green tea and matcha. Don’t confuse matcha with the same green tea that you drink at home or Japanese restaurants. The names are slightly deceptive because green tea and matcha are used interchangeably, but they are actually slightly different. Matcha and green tea both come from the same plant, camellia sinensis but they are grown and processed differently.
Matcha is made from whole green tea leaves that have been pulverized into a super fine powder. Because the whole leaf is powdered and ingested, instead of just water infused through the tea leaves, matcha has significantly greater substances and deeper flavor than green tea. Moreover, you cannot grind the regular green tea to make matcha, considering matcha is made from shade-grown tea leaves. Processing regular green tea involves the leaves being left in the sun. Comparatively, matcha bushes are specifically kept undercover to increase the chlorophyll and amino acid level in the leaves. That is why matcha has a much richer flavor than green tea.
Please note that matcha comes in both ceremonial-grade and culinary-grade. Ceremonial-grade is considered higher quality and should be used for drinking. Meanwhile, the culinary-grade powder is intended for baking and cooking purposes. For making ice cream, culinary grade matcha will suffice.
Health Benefit of Matcha Tea
Matcha contains the nutrients from the entire tea leaves, which results in a greater amount of caffeine and antioxidants than are typically found in regular green tea.
1. Rich in antioxidants
Matcha and green tea share the same health benefits. However, matcha has 10 times the nutritional value of regular green tea and up to 137 times the amount of antioxidants. Antioxidants are naturally occurring chemical compounds that prevent aging and chronic diseases. Compared with other antioxidant levels in food, matcha is about 13 times the antioxidants of pomegranates, 15 times the antioxidants of blueberries, and 125 times of spinach. Including matcha in your diet could increase your antioxidant intake, which may help prevent cell damage and even lower your risk of several chronic diseases.
2. Detoxifies the body
Matcha leaves are shade-grown and, when you throw shade at plants, they produce extra chlorophyll in their leaves. Chlorophyll has powerful detoxifying properties including the ability to naturally eliminate chemicals and heavy metals from the body
3. Boosts energy and performance
Matcha contains a more concentrated amount of caffeine than green tea, packing in 35 mg of caffeine per half teaspoon (about 1 gram) of matcha powder. Multiple studies have linked caffeine consumption to improvements in brain function, citing faster reaction times, increased attention, and enhanced memory. Matcha also contains a compound called L-theanine, which alters the effects of caffeine, promoting alertness, and helping avoid the crash in energy levels that can follow caffeine consumption. L-theanine has also been shown to increase alpha wave activity in the brain, which may help induce relaxation and decrease stress levels
4. Prevents cancer
Matcha is especially high in EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), a type of catechin that has been shown to have powerful anti-cancer properties. Most importantly, EGCg and other catechins counteract the effects of free radicals from the likes of pollution, UV rays, radiation, and chemicals, which can lead to cell and DNA damage. Since over 60% of the catechins in matcha are actually EGCg, a daily matcha regimen can help restore and preserve the body’s integral well-being and balance.
5. Matcha aids weight loss
The major antioxidant in green tea, EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), is linked to potential weight loss benefits. The EGCG in matcha may boost your metabolism during moderate-intensity exercise, thus increasing the number of calories you burn on daily basis. Matcha green tea utilizes fat as an energy source. Green tea catechins activate the body’s thermogenic fat-burning activity.
6. Improves cholesterol
Studies have shown that people who drink Match on a regular basis have lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol while at the same time displaying higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. Men who drink matcha green tea are less likely to develop heart disease than those who don’t drink matcha.