July 25, 2024

Much ado about matcha

Lauded for its health benefits and as a coffee alternative, matcha keeps growing in popularity. Charlotte Flach showcases how airlines can get onboard

Several years ago matcha became ubiquitous – suddenly it was cropping up on coffee shop menus and in the supermarket aisles in lattes, ice cream and smoothies.

For those unfamiliar, matcha is a Japanese green tea powder made from finely ground dried tea leaves. Originally a staple in Japanese tea ceremonies, its popularity worldwide has propelled it into a mainstream ingredient in numerous drinks and even foods, meaning many people outside of East Asia will have consumed it in some form.

Health kick

Unlike other forms of green tea which steep the leaves, then discard them, matcha grinds up the leaf and mixes it directly into water or milk. This means the entire leaf, and all of its health properties, are consumed, making it even more of an antioxidant powerhouse than regular green tea. Even better, its health benefits are scientifically backed.

Passengers can benefit from its ability to lower blood pressure and boost metabolism, plus reduce inflammation. Drinking it instead of coffee on a long-haul flight avoids the anxious caffeine buzz while still benefiting from the energy and focus it offers.

There is also research to suggest that matcha can help relieve the unpleasant symptoms of jet lag, such as fatigue and brain fog.

How to serve

There are plenty of creative ways to serve matcha onboard. The easiest way is in tea bags or as an instant power recquiring only the addition of hot water. For the full effect, proper matcha powder is best, which can be mixed using a zigzag or back and forth whisk motion to make sure the matcha is evenly distributed in the cup.

For a modern take, stir matcha powder into frothed milk to make a matcha latte – this also works with dairy alternatives such as oat and almond. As it has a naturally earthy taste, some passengers may prefer to add a sweetener, such as honey or sugar. Don’t be put off by its earthy green colour, too!

On trend

Although many airlines have yet to catch up on the matcha craze, a few are actively promoting its availability. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Japanese airline ANA offers matcha served the traditional way to its first class passengers. Vueling can whisk up a matcha flavoured chai latte, while Hawaiian Airlines serves a Matcha Souffle Pancake as part of its brunch menu, route dependant.