This matcha smoothie bowl is the recipe you should be making all summer long on repeat. The tropical flavors of pineapple and banana blended with almond milk and matcha ignite feelings of relaxation and good health.
What is Matcha?
In Japanese, the word “Matcha” is the combination of “ma“, meaning rubbed or ground, and “cha“, which means tea. Matcha is a traditional Japanese green tea powder made by stone-milling shade-grown green tea leaves, into a fine powder. Japanese Matcha has a rich cultural tradition as the tea prepared during chanoyu–the Zen-inspired Japanese tea ceremony. Matcha is unique among teas in that you ingest the whole green tea leaf, which preserves all the rich nutrients and gives matcha its true superpowers of good health.
Matcha tea is the star of the show in Japanese tea ceremonies dating back over 900 years. It was commonly used by monks before meditation and later by samurai warriors before and after battle. Many believe matcha tea brings alertness and stillness, and peace and meditation, in addition to its numerous health benefits. Growing and harvesting matcha is a labor-intensive agricultural technique that’s been refined and perfected over the past millennium. Today, the highest quality matcha is said to come from Uji, a region known for its superior quality, and special care each individual plants receives.
Grades of Matcha:
The highest-grade matcha, known as ceremonial-grade, is grown and harvested under pristine conditions. Higher grades have a brilliant green color, rich aroma, and a bold flavor but without any bitterness. Traditional Japanese tea ceremonies will only use ‘premium’ (or ceremonial grade) to make, what’s called, thick tea.
Below the ceremonial-grade is ‘Usucha’, (or thin-tea), which offers a strong balance of characteristics (color, aroma, effects) at a lower price-point. This grade of matcha has only a marginal range of bitter notes, which comes from a higher tannin content. This grade of matcha has a sharper taste that many prefer, but it can’t be used for ceremonial purposes.
At the end of the matcha spectrum is culinary-grade, which still has many valuable uses and the same health benefits. Culinary-grade matcha adds a sweet and savory flavor to all kinds of recipes. But the lower grade has a greater range of bitterness. This bitterness is because the leaves used to made it are more mature, and harvested later in the season.
Possible Health Benefits of Matcha:
With ten times the antioxidants then regular green tea, not to mention and a metabolism boost, matcha tea has all the benefits of green tea and so much more. Green tea’s health benefits date back thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine, but in recent decades numerous studies have confirmed matcha has many super-powered health benefits of note:
- Helps lowers cholesterol
- Protects the liver
- Improves brain function
- Improves skin
- High in antioxidants
- Improves heart health
- Helps with weight loss
- lowers blood pressure
- Defends against cancer
- Helps with arthritis
- Boosts the immune system
- Loaded with vitamins and minerals
As a matcha newbie, I turn to MatchaKari for all matcha related items. MatchaKari was founded by Dr. Andrew Weil, an an internationally recognized expert on medicinal plants, integrative medicine and wellness and co-founder André Fasciola, who grew up with a love of Japanese culture and became enamored by matcha’s healing properties, cultivation, and ceremony. MatchaKari’s goal, is simply to deliver “health-centric, high-quality Japanese matcha green tea” to the world that was a healthy alternative to mainstream coffee and sugary drinks, and they have done just that.
For this smoothie bowl I used MatchaKari’s first harvest matcha which is both smooth and mellow to the palate. Integrating matcha into recipes has been a fun exploration and one I will be continue with, wait for the killer matcha ice cream recipe I just developed later this summer. This tropical matcha smoothie bowl is dairy-free with a mellow matcha taste that is truly memorable. This healthy breakfast go-to has become highly popular in my house recently and one we will be enjoying all summer long.
Tropical Matcha Smoothie Bowl
- 1 frozen banana, chopped
- 1/2 cup frozen pineapple pieces
- 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons matcha powder
- 1 Tablespoon almond butter
- dash of ground cinnamon
- handful of ice
- unsweetened coconut flakes (topping)
- fresh raspberries (topping)
- golden flax seeds (topping)
- chai seeds (topping)
- Step 1 Using a kitchen blender, add the banana, pineapple, almond milk, matcha powder, almond butter, cinnamon and ice. Blend on high, stirring, as needed, until completely smooth.
- Step 2 To serve: pour the smoothie into a wide-mouth bowl and top with coconut, raspberries, flax seeds and chai seeds, as desired.
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