Going Green for Summer – Matcha Tea Recipes

REFRESHING, RELAXING, REJUVENATING AND BOLDLY GREEN, MATCHA IS THE TASTE OF SUMMER!

Matcha green tea is the whole green tea leaf which is briefly steamed, dried and ground into a fine powder.  You only have to look to Instagram to find consumers sharing it’s beauty photo after photo.

It’s not just the vibrant colour that’s drawing consumers in, but the unique flavour, versatility and more importantly the health benefits it offers. Containing 137 times the antioxidants of standard green tea, it helps boost energy and endurance.

Erin Young founder of Zen Green Tea has outlined 4 of the key health benefits of matcha that are capturing consumers here.

Below Erin has also shared a variety of simple, delicious summer recipes to get your customers snatching Zen Green Tea from your shelves and snapping their next Instagram matcha #foodporn.

 

MATCHA COOKIE DOUGH BALLS 

Matcha Cookie Dough Balls

Makes 12 balls.

INGREDIENTS 
2 cups almond meal
1/3 cup dates (soaked)
1 tbs coconut oil
1 tbs maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla powder or extract
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp Zen Green Tea Matcha Powder
1/4 cup cacao nibs or chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS
1. Blend together until it resembles crumbs.
2. Stir through 1/4 cup cacao nibs or chocolate chips and roll into balls.
3. Keep refrigerated.

 

MATCHA BANANA SMOOTHIE BOWL

Matcha Banana Smoothie Bowl Recipe

Photo and recipe from @naturally.tess

INGREDIENTS 
5 frozen bananas
Coconut water
2 dates
1 tbs Zen Green Tea matcha powder
Topped with summer berries, seed sprinkle and a piece of dark chocolate

DIRECTIONS
1. Place all ingredients through your food processor- serve in a bowl and decorate with the topping of your choice.
2. Enjoy!

 

TWO INGREDIENT VEGAN MATCHA GREEN TEA ICE CREAM

Vegan Matcha Icecream

Makes 2-3 servings.

INGREDIENTS 
2 large (or 3 small) bananas, peeled, cut into chunks and frozen
1 tsp Zen Green Tea matcha powder

DIRECTIONS
1. Place banana chunks into a food processor fitted with the S blade and turn machine on. Let the motor run until the bananas have a super creamy texture, just like soft serve ice cream. It might take a little time and the processor may make loud noises but it will work – don’t worry.
2. After the bananas become creamy, add Zen Green Tea Matcha Powder and blend.
3. Serve immediately.  Leftover can be refrozen and then re-blended for a perfect texture.
4. Top with fresh summer berries.

NOTE: You can make an amazing array of flavours – Try adding vanilla bean, orange peel and cacao!

Share these recipes with your customers or even try the Matcha Cookie Dough Balls as your next in-store tasting for Zen Green Tea! They are unbelievably delicious and are totally raw, guilt free, gluten free, dairy free and showcase the brilliant bright green that’s become symbolic to matcha.

Easily add any Zen Green Tea products to your next order or if your not yet signed up to purchase our 1000’s of on-trend products from our January wholesale catalogue, just click here and we’ll get you started.

Guest Blog: Your Guide to Matcha

Zen Erin PicERIN YOUNG IS THE FOUNDER OF ZEN GREEN TEA AND ALSO A WELL-KNOWN CONTRIBUTOR
TO T-CHING, THE WORLD’S NUMBER ONE
TEA BLOG.

Since Zen Green Tea was established, Erin has always ensured that the brand is 100% transparent. She lets customers in, builds brand trust and openly shares the ins and outs of Zen Green Tea Matcha.

Below Erin shares a brief recap of her recent trip to the Japanese tea fields where her Zen Green Tea Matcha is harvested and details the ins and outs of matcha. 

 

Japan really comes alive in spring with its gorgeous weather, beautiful cherry blossoms and tea harvest in full swing.

I took the month of May to visit Japan and be a part of our spring matcha harvest and also to explore a little more of the beautiful country that inspires
my business.

I started my trip in Tokyo, exploring the hustle and bustle of the city and also some crazy matcha creations (matcha waffles, tarts, soft serves).

For any food lovers, you have to try the Yakitori restaurant alleyways at Shinjuku. These narrow, wood clad alleys are filled with tiny restaurants – each with only four to eight seats that serve up traditional cuisine, such as delicious noodles and vegetable skewers.

Erin in Japan

The Yakitori retaurant alleyways at Shinjuku.

 

After exploring the city, I headed down to our tea plantations and factories in Kyoto.

Kyoto is a gorgeous city, much less frenetic than Tokyo and it’s a shrine lover’s heaven!

We support family owned small tea farms in Kyoto, so I was picked up on the first morning by young tea farmer Toshio, whose father owns one of our plantations. Excitedly we drove out into the country side to Uji, a place in Japan renowned for its high quality matcha.

There is something so serene about
the rolling green tea plantations!

We arrived at Toshio’s family farm and I could already see that their harvest was well underway.

Harvest time for these family farms brings the whole community together, where for two weeks every niece, aunt, grandmother and sister are out there in the fields hand picking the finest leaves.

I spent the day under the shaded bamboo tarps learning from Toshio how they select the best leaves to be picked for matcha. Next I was taken to their co-op processing facility onsite where the leaves are immediately steamed and then dried, sorted, destemmed and deveined. After this I toured the freezing (-35 degree) storage facility that preserves the nutritional content of the leaves.

Matcha Storage Facility

The freezing -35 degree Celcius storage
facility, where the matcha is preserved.

 

The next day I was taken to our matcha processing plant. I was clad head to toe in hygienic robes and after being blasted in an air seal, I was permitted entry into the strictly HACCP controlled matcha plant. Here I saw the handmade granite stone mills turning the finest tencha green tea leaves into our vibrant green matcha powder.

 

Matcha processing plant

The handmade granite stone mills in the
matcha processing plant.

 

A trip to Japan  isn’t the only way you can discover the wonders of matcha (although I do highly recommend it). Take a look at the below matcha fast facts and arm yourself with knowledge you can share with your customers.

WHAT IS MATCHA?
Matcha green tea is the whole green tea leaf which is briefly steamed, dried and ground into a fine vibrant green powder. The powder dissolves in water so you consume the whole tea leaf, not just the steeped water. As a result matcha green tea contains 137 times the antioxidants of standard green tea.

Matcha Powder

HOW IS MATCHA PRODUCED?
Not all matcha brands are created equal. Many cheaper varieties are simply pulverized tea leaves from Korea or China, which do not undertake any of the production processes used to create authentic matcha. It is the traditional process which boost the Chlorophyll, amino acids and antioxidants and give matcha its incredible non-bitter taste.

 

These are the traditional steps that Zen Green Tea uses to produce its premium matcha:

1. SHADING

The finest matcha comes from the tea leaves harvested in spring in Japan, which produces the highest quality. In the final weeks before the leaf harvest, the tea farmers shade a portion of the plantation with bamboo tarps to block the amount of sunlight to the tea leaves. This shading process forces the tea plants to work harder for sunlight so they ramp up their Chlorophyll and amino acid production. This turns the shaded portion of the tea plantation into a beautiful dark green colour.

Matcha Pic 1

Shaded tea plantation that will be used to make
matcha. Take note of the gorgeous dark colour
of the leaves from the Chlorophyll.

2. HARVEST

We support family run tea farms, so the harvest season is a time when the whole community (uncles, nieces, cousins, grandparents) comes together to pick the tea leaves. The finest, young tea leaves known as ‘tencha’ are handpicked.

3. STEAMING & GRADING

Immediately after the leaves are picked they are briefly steamed. This deactivates the enzymes to lock in the high level of antioxidants and nutrients. The leaves then undergo the rigorous process of destemming, deveining and grading to ensure the best leaf flesh is set aside for matcha.

Steaming and grading

Matcha is destemmed, deveined and
graded by hand
.

4. DRYING & STORAGE

The leaf flesh is dried in a clay oven and then bundled and stored in freezers at -35 degrees Celsius. Storing the leaves at this temperature keeps the enzymes on pause so that they maintain their quality until the leaves are needed.

 

5. GRINDING

We secure a certain amount of these high quality Tencha leaves at the start of the harvest and then throughout the year, we continue to order our matcha production in small quantities. This means our factory only takes the Tencha leaves from storage and carefully mills them through handmade granite stone mills upon order, ensuring freshness. These stone mills turn the leaf flesh into fine matcha particles. This helps to give our matcha a uniquely smooth texture.

Matcha pic 2

Hand made granite stone mills grinding
matcha to a fine, smooth powder.

 

WHY IS IT DIFFERENT TO STANDARD GREEN TEA?
You can share these few key points with your customers on how matcha is different to standard green tea:

• Matcha is the whole tea leaf which dissolves in water, so you consume a much higher level of antioxidants (10 X standard green tea).

• High quality matcha has no bitterness as it is not processed as heavily as standard green tea

• Matcha has incredibly high levels of Chlorophyll, amino acids and antioxidants because of the shading process.

 

WHAT ARE THE KEY HEALTH BENEFITS OF MATCHA?
The key health benefits of high quality matcha include:

1. ASSISTS WITH WEIGHT LOSS AND WEIGHT MANAGEMENT

Matcha assists with weight loss and weight management in four specific ways:

• Helps boosts fat burning: A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming matcha can raise the bodies fat burning rate (thermogenesis) from the normal 8-10% to 35-43%.

• Can help reduce fat absorption: Matcha can help block the ability of digestive enzymes to break down fat, so the amount of fat entering cells is reduced and instead this fat is passed through the body in digestion.

• Helps to reduce hunger: Matcha can help regulate the hormone Leptin, helping to reduce hunger cravings.

• Can assist in reducing stress: Matcha can help reduce stress and as a result your body does not produce as much of the stress hormone Cortisol, which is a known contributor to stubborn midsection fat.

 

2. BOOSTS ENERGY AND ENDURANCE

Matcha is a natural source of sustained energy due to the unique way it delivers caffeine into your system.

With matcha the natural tea caffeine is absorbed and released slowly by the body over a period of hours. This means that matcha provides a sustainable energy boost and does not deliver the rapid 30 minute spike, slump and ‘jitters’ associated with coffee.

You will feel alert, energized and calm when you drink matcha. This is perfect for marahon runners, who need constant and sustained energy.

 

Matcha Energy Graph

 

3. SUPPORTS THE IMMUNE SYSTEM

Matcha has an anti-inflammatory effect on the immune system. The more matcha you drink or use in your food, the better allergic reactions (IGE) are suppressed.

The catechins and L-Theanine in matcha have an anti-viral effect on the flu. The EGCGs have an anti-bacterial effect on different sickness-causing micro-bodies, including Candidias Albicans. Matcha also inhibits the growth of parasites.

Matcha thus helps to curb infections, clear up free radicals, reduce oxidative damage and protect the kidneys.

4. HELPS TO PROTECT FROM DISEASE

Matcha contains the highest levels of disease fighting EGCG antioxidants only found in green tea. Researchers have reported that the EGCG in matcha prevents free radicals from damaging cells.

 

WHAT ARE THE AMAZING WAYS MATCHA CAN BE USED?

It’s not just a tea. There are so many uses for matcha! It is the perfect ingredient in smoothies, baking, lattes and even as an antioxidant rich face mask!

I have compiled some of my favourite recipes into an eBook. Download the Zen Green Tea Recipe E-Book for free and share it with your customers!

 

WHAT ARE MY JAPAN TRAVEL RECOMMENDATIONS?
If you are looking to plan a trip to Japan soon, here’s a couple places I highly recommend you visit!

1. IZU PENNINSULA

While visiting the World Tea Festival in Shizuoka, I took a little overnight trip to the Izu Penninsula. It really surprised me with its blue coastlines and beauty. I stayed at a gorgeous hotel/hostel called ‘K’s House’ which was a one-hundred year old traditional inn.

It was right on a stream so at night you can hear the trickling of water. It also had beautiful hot spring baths – both a private one to enjoy alone or a larger one to enjoy with other guests.

I did a beautiful walk around Mount Omuro. You catch a cable car up to the top and there is a short walking track around the rim of the grass covered volcano with stunning views!

IZU PENNINSULAThe stunning view at Izu Penninsula.

2. MIRAJIMA ISLAND (OFF THE COAST OF HIROSHIMA)

I took a half day trip from Hiroshima by ferry to Mirajima. It’s a gorgeous little island that houses a famous floating Tori Gate. It has all the beautiful traditional style Japanese buildings and some great Shrines. The island is full of friendly deer too! I took a 2 hour hike up the mountain to reach a lovely view point and Shrine at the top. Highly recommend a trip here and if it’s within budget, a stay overnight in a traditional Japanese Ryokan.

MIRAJIMA ISLAND (OFF THE COAST OF HIROSHIMA)A traditional Japanese Ryokan in Mirajima.

 

You can discover our whole Zen Green Tea range on the Unique online shop, and also connect with us on Instagram and on Facebook.

 

 

Guest Blog: Hot Health Trends

The Fit Foodie - bioTHE FIT FOODIE, SALLY O’NEIL, IS ON A MISSION TO PROVE THAT HEALTHY AND NUTRITIOUS FOOD DOESN’T HAVE TO BE BORING – AND THAT EVEN WHILE STAYING IN SHAPE YOUR CUSTOMERS CAN HAVE THEIR CAKE AND EAT IT TOO.

After losing 14 kilos from cutting out processed foods, she began to record her recipes online and The Fit Foodie blog that soon followed became a huge hit. Sally is now a Jamie Oliver Food Ambassador, Yoga Teacher, huge Social Influencer and owner of a popular range of vegan and fructose-free DIY Protein Balls, Fit MixesShe’s continuously researching and staying on top of trends to keep her blogs relevant and of high interest. Read what recent trends she’s recognised in the market.

 

Consumers tastes are constantly evolving, armed with new knowledge about the hottest trends that are about to hit the shelves. As a health food blogger, recipe developer, owner of Fit Mixes (DIY Protein Balls) and social influencer, it’s my job to stay on top of the next big thing.

On The Fit Foodie I focus on turning junk food into equally tasty, but healthy food that’s simple for people to recreate. Pizza, chocolate and chips are all on the menu, but not as you might think.

I work with some unusual ingredients to recreate original flavours and textures of less healthy dishes which I then share with my followers and readers.

It’s a great avenue to encourage them to try new products at home, but it also offers you, retailers, a direct connection to potential consumers’ latest demands.

That connection with the health community, along with trying to solve my own pain point led me to create Fit Mixes – my own brand of fructose and dairy free protein ball mixes. As product sales soar, I have spent countless hours researching the latest trends across the globe and forecasting which of those would sit well with health consumers.

Below is a list of 4 top food trends you’ll be seeing more and more of in the
coming year:

 

MATCHA

The health world is currently green with envy over matcha powder. Shots of the drink were the “it beverage” at New York Fashion Week, and now even dedicated coffee lovers are ditching their morning cup in favour of this earthy tea.

Get curious about this trending beverage, because you’re set to see a flurry of products that use it – from beauty masks, to pancake mixes and more.

With 137 times more antioxidants than traditional green tea, it brings some compelling health benefits that consumers are loving.

Matcha is a fine powdered green tea, used for centuries in the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony. Matcha preparation involves covering green tea plants with shade cloths before they’re harvested, which triggers the growth of leaves with better flavour and texture. The leaves are then hand harvested, steamed to stop fermentation, dried and then aged in cold storage to deepen the flavour.
These dried leaves are then stone-ground into a fine powder.

While you may know the benefits of traditional green tea, matcha is its super-charged cousin. By ingesting the leaves (rather than merely allowing them to steep in hot water), your customers benefit from the nutrients of the entire leaf, making it exceptionally more potent.

Highly valued for its sharp bite followed by lingering sweetness, Zen Buddhist monks drink matcha to remain alert and calm during long hours of meditation.
Like green tea, matcha contains slow release caffeine – great for a morning boost.

In addition to providing fibre, vitamins and minerals, matcha is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols, which have been said to help protect against certain disease, as well as help regulate blood sugar and blood pressure.

Another polyphenol in matcha (called epigallocatechin gallate or EGCG) has been shown to help boost metabolism and increase fat burning.

Matcha is growing in popularity with chefs and home cooks alike. It can be used as an ingredient in both sweet and savoury dishes – making an appearance in everything from brownies to soup.

 

FRUCTOSE-FREE SNACKS

With popular publications like the I Quit Sugar cookbooks, eBooks, programs and online community, plus engaging media ‘That Sugar Film’, the war on fructose
is clear.

Consumers are told that even natural sugars (like those found in dried fruit) are difficult to process by the liver, causing insulin spikes and subsequent fat storage.

Fructose can only be metabolised by the liver, and can’t be used for energy by the body’s cells. It’s therefore not only useless for the body, but in high enough amounts, it’s a toxin. This is because the job of the liver is to get rid of fructose, mainly by transforming it into fat and sending that fat to our fat cells.

Excess fructose damages the liver and leads to insulin resistance in the liver, as well as fatty liver disease. In fact, fructose has the same effects on the liver as alcohol (ethanol), which is already well known as a liver toxin.

Products that are very low in fructose will continue to grow in popularity – using stevia, xylitol, monk fruit, and rice malt syrup in place of traditional non-nutritive sweetness or natural sugars.

 

TEFF

Teff is fast gaining a reputation as the new superfood on the block for its ease of use and versatility. Another gluten-free grain that is set to rival quinoa, teff is simple to cook, and delicious to eat.

Although only recently popularised in Australia, teff is an ancient ingredient which has been a staple of traditional Ethiopian cooking for thousands of years, where it accounts for one quarter of the total cereal production.

Like quinoa, it is available in a range of colours from light to dark. White teff has a chestnut-like flavour, while darker varieties have a more earthy flavour. Historically, white teff has been the most popular, but least widely available variety. Perhaps due to its relative scarcity, white teff was once regarded as a status symbol.

Consumers are loving the numerous health benefits of teff. It helps energy production, promote a healthy immune function, is a good source of plant protein, helps maintain good bone health (with its calcium content) and helps to control blood sugar.

Teff can be purchased as a wholegrain or flour, which is used most commonly in Ethiopia to make a traditional sourdough flatbread called injera. It makes for a highly nutritious substitute to traditional gluten-containing flours.

It’s also extremely versatile for consumers and doesn’t require the hassle of pre-soaking. Similar in size to a poppy seeds, teff grain has a creamy-crunchy texture that can add a new dimension to healthy recipes.

Share the below Teff & Almond Breakfast Crumble recipe with your customers – they’ll love it!

Teff & Almond Breakfast Crumble
Serves 4

teff recipe

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups flaked almonds
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup wholegrain teff
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup rice malt syrup (vegan) or honey, plus extra to serve
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
4 cups mixed berries
1 cup sheeps milk or coconut yoghurt (dairy free).

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 160º (fan-forced).

2. In a bowl add the almond meal, teff and flaked almonds along with the cinnamon and mix
well. Add rice malt syrup or honey and coconut oil then stir to combine.

3. Add the crumble dough to a baking sheet and press down into a large biscuit.

4. bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown then allow to cool.

5. Meanwhile, divide the berries into 4 bowls and spoon over yoghurt.

6. Using your hands, roughly break up the biscuit into large chunks and add to the bowls.

7. Drizzle over additional rice malt syrup and serve immediately.

 

TURMERIC

Turmeric has seen an increase in popularity again with the growing interest in ‘Goltern Milk’ aka. Turmeric Lattes. Expect to see increased demand for both dry and fresh product, snacks and drinks containing turmeric and related supplements.

Turmeric has been used as traditional Ayurvedic medicine throughout history. It is considered a cleansing herb for the entire body, especially for our liver, where toxins are held. It is often used to support digestion, treat infection, headaches, inflammation and fever. With a slightly bitter taste, it blends very well with other spices and even sweet dishes.

The turmeric plant, which grows five to six feet tall, is found in the tropical regions throughout Southern Asia. Its finger-like stalks contain the spice’s healing agents, although the root is also used in traditional Indian recipes.

Curcumin is the active compound in turmeric responsible for its bright colour, and is behind a whole host of the health benefits that can be attributed to the spice. Unfortunately, curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. When paired with black pepper however, the bioavailability of curcumin is increased over a thousand times.

There are many recorded health benefits of turmeric. It helps to naturally reduce inflammation, increase antioxidant capacity of the body, has an impact on depression and helps support healthy liver function.

 

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