Green tea (Macha) has become a very common ingredient for sweets in last 10 to 20 years. When I grew up in Japan, I remember eating green tea ice cream at a tea shop, but that was pretty much it. Now, it's a popular flavor for any kind of sweets. Green tea cheese cake, green tea cookie, green tea cake, green tea caramel, green tea anything. It's almost used like cocoa powder in the west.
But I have to admit.... It tastes really good in sweets. It adds a little bitterness and that gives any confections such sophisticated taste.
As for drinking tea, Macha is very special. Unless you study how to make it and the ceremony of it, I don't think average Japanese have so many experiences drinking it. I myself had few occasions in my life. You can experience it at some tea houses, but it will cost quite a lot. But it is not about only drinking and making tea, it's about art of serving, and coordinating the whole setting, etc.
But the leaf green tea is very commonly brewed at home. I would end up drinking it after breakfast and dinner everyday when I visit my family in Japan.
Japanese teas are drunken without sugar. Green tea, roasted tea, any kinds.... As a small child, I was so excited to find out that you can put sugar or honey in English tea. I did that for my entire childhood and as soon as I grew up, somehow I stopped. I love drinking any tea without sugar.
So I was very disappointed to find out that there were no bottled tea without sugar sold in the states when I first came here. But now there are. I hope it will be more popular because it's so refreshing cold in summer.
Even though the tea is not supposed to be sweet, using green tea for sweets is exception for me. I sneak it in my baking sometimes. Also whipped cream made with green tea powder is great accompany for some baked goods.
1 small package of heavy whipping cream
2 table spoon of sweetened condensed milk
2 tea spoon of green tea powder
< 1 > Put everything but the green tea in a bowl.
< 2 > Using a sieve, sprinkle the tea powder in the bowl.
< 2 > Whip it until it achieved desired texture.
I ate it with a small financier that is made with cashew nut powder and fine coconut flakes as mid morning tea snack. In fact, the combination of green tea and coconut is really nice. I need to think up some other recipe to incorporate both of them.
I'll bake plain pound cake today and will serve that with a scoop of green tea cream on side for dessert.