If major calories aren’t your thing, warm up with a (marginally) healthier alternative. Discover the world of Matcha tea cocktails.
For those not in the know, Matcha is a powder consisting of ground up green tea leaves. In their three final weeks, the tea plants are covered in order to darken their colour. The entire leaf, as opposed to just the tip, is then dried, de-veined and ground to a powder.
David Green, Bar Manager of the Hilton’s Zeta Bar, sat down with us to explain why Matcha is such a trend right now.
“Matcha tea is popular at the moment due to its versatility and its status as a super food. It boasts of having 137 antioxidants which help with anti-ageing, all forms of cancer and diabetes. Matcha tea releases a slow burst of caffeine into the body, unlike coffee or energy drinks. The slow release will happen over a 30 minute period which means less shock to the organs of your body and a longer caffeine hit”.
Matcha Tea Comes In Four Grades:
Dakota Matcha – This grade uses older leaves and is paler in colour. This makes it better to use in blending, desserts and smoothies, because of its bitterness. It’s about as bitter as Aperol, and can be used really well in cocktails that need an alternative to the usual dash of bitters.
Gotcha Matcha – Once again, good for blending, but mainly used for milder products, like lattes and savoury sauces. This is far from ceremonial grade tea, and is more affordable to use generously in drinks and food. The bitterness backs off on this one – substituted with light vegetal notes, so it’s great to mix with tequila and gin.
Morning Matcha – This one is more refined – harvested with younger leaves. The younger leaves give the Matcha a brighter colour, sweeter taste and enhances the vegetal flavour within. This particular Matcha is great as a more dominant ingredient within cocktails. Rather than adding or replacing bitters with Matcha, it’s better to make this grade the feature taste within a product. This grade of Matcha will lend a dryness to the drink, giving it a lot of tannin, and is an alternative to using dry vermouth within cocktails.
Kama Matcha – This is A-grade Matcha tea. Made from the youngest of leaves, it’s the brightest of all grades. This strain of Matcha is great for premium cocktails, using the best spirits. David only uses this Matcha for more molecular involvement with his drinks – in foams, airs, ice spheres, sorbets, etc. The vegetal flavour lessens in this grade, and turns more into a grassy note, so mixing with delicate single malt Japanese whiskies, tequilas or vodkas is possible.
Where To Try Matcha Tea Cocktails:
Try their ‘Green Tea Martini’ – your waiter will perform a mini tea ceremony at your table with Matcha tea, before a mix of Belvedere vodka, Midori, yuzu juice and kiwifruit purée is added. The concoction is cooled down with some liquid nitrogen, shaken, and double strained into a martini glass.
David Green’s favourite Matcha tea cocktail is his ‘Carribean Tea Time’; a delicate mix of Angostura 7 year old rum, coconut liqueur, lemon, Matcha tea powder, and Orgeat, which is served with a light foam and garnished with green tea flakes, roasted almonds and coconut flakes. Yum!
One Tea Lounge and Grill
The new kids on the block – about 80% of their menu has an element of Matcha tea in it! Check out their ‘Made in Japan’ – Applejack Apple Brandy is combined with Cointreau and lemon juice, and is served in a classic coupette with a green tea sugar rim. If you’re looking for something a little more substantial, pair your cocktail of choice with a ‘Baoger’ – a slider size fried offering with green tea ice-cream and azuki red bean paste.
For the designated drivers of this world, serves a wide range of Matcha products – including lattes, ice-creams, parfaits and frappe.
Alternatively, stay in and try David Green’s simple Matcha tea twist on the Espresso Martini:
Vodka ‘Espresso’ Martini
60mls Matcha Tea
20mls Simple Syrup
Shake all ingredients together, strain into a martini glass, garnish with a mint sprig.
Where to Buy Matcha Tea
If you’re looking to buy Matcha tea powder by itself, check out your local T2. If you plan to search further afield, heed David Green’s advice:
“What I look for depends on the use – I normally go for an older, less premium grade of Matcha tea if I’m using it for a tincture or as a side product, like something small and edible to compliment a cocktail. I’d use premium Matcha tea if I need it for a dominant flavour, due to it having a completely different texture. The more premium the grade is, the softer it is. The better grades break down more easily than the older Matcha, which normally needs a harder style of mixing, like blending.”
Places To Visit For Matcha
Level 4, 488 George Street, Sydney CBD
5-9 Roslyn Street, Potts Point
One Tea Lounge and Grill
73 York Street, Sydney
Shop 11, 501 George Street, Sydney CBD