Matcha or powdered green tea is one of the unsung heroes of the tea and coffee world. It is quietly sitting on many a menu from the popular drink chains and health cafes around Cambodia and revered by those who favor it, ignored by those who have never tasted it. If that is you, consider the following and give it a chance next time you’re given the opportunity.
Matcha is a finely distinct flavor that doesn’t carry the bitterness that steeped green tea can produce, it’s subtle and savory, though can be sweetened up into matcha chai latte or similar drinks. In a country where sweets are more savory anyway, matcha fits in perfectly for the Cambodian palate. Originating in China in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), adopted by the Japanese in the 12th century, where its current fame lies. The Japanese made preparation of matcha into a national ceremony, used for auspicious occasions, such as weddings, and attended by tourists as an insight into Japanese culture. The Japanese also adopted it into a variety of foods such as cake, ice cream, mochi and even noodles and sushi.
It’s even graded, with only the highest grade being deemed good enough for tea ceremonies. The health benefits are observed by many in awe of Japanese people’s longevity and good health. Among many benefits, some include; cancer fighting properties and high antioxidants, brings feelings of calmness, good for immune system and detoxifying the body, increases energy, and improves mood and concentration. You can make it at home too. Customers in Cambodia have begun ordering organic matcha powder online so that they can enjoy the benefits and fine flavor from the comfort of their own home.
One stand out cafe in Phnom Penh that takes matcha very seriously is The MatchArt Cafe — as the name suggests, they have turned matcha consumption into an art form. As well as the staple favorites, their extensive drink list will give you many new avenues to explore. Their desserts are masterpieces that are almost too beautiful to consume. Towering parfait, soft serve ice cream or matcha ice cream accompanied with jellies and red bean paste, all accommodate local preferences with the signature ingredient.