Matcha A coffee alternative in Jordan?

matcha letters
Matcha, a powder made from leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, is used as an ingredient in beverages, and contains caffeine and antioxidants. (Photos: Envato Elements)
Young tea leaves are selected from the Camellia sinensis plant, which grows in China and Japan. They are ground, and a vivid green powder is created. This is matcha, a fine tea that has a mellow, smooth flavor. Traditionally, the powder is mixed with hot water and is drunk ceremonially. These days, steamed milk is added, along with sweeteners, and the latte version is enjoyed worldwide as cafe fare.اضافة اعلان

In Jordan, matcha caught on a couple of years ago, and many local and international coffee houses in Amman (and some governorates) serve the tea, which is often considered — perhaps without strong scientific evidence — a healthier alternative to coffee drinks.

‘More and more popular’
Ratib Anani, co-founder of Syrup, an Amman coffee house, told Jordan News that, since the cafe’s opening in July of 2020, matcha has always been on the menu, in both drink and cheesecake form. “We were already huge matcha fans and consumers before opening the cafe,” he said.

At Syrup, baristas prepare both a pure matcha brew, which is matcha powder brewed traditional style in hot water, and a classic matcha latte with steamed milk. The cafe’s signature matcha latte is prepared with coconut milk and sugar-free vanilla syrup.

“The signature drink and its variations are the most popular ones,” Anani said.

Syrup’s patrons are big matcha fans, and “once people taste them, matcha beverages continue to become more and more popular”, the business founder explained.

He also noted that the bright-green beverage, since it contains caffeine, is “a perfect replacement for coffee if you’re looking for something else”.

Outside the capital
In Zarqa, few people are adamant matcha drinkers, with some teenagers and youth ordering the beverage, according to Nader Mustafa, a barista and owner of Culaccino Coffee House in Zarqa. However, the drink is beginning to gain some traction.

“In 2019, matcha started to become popular in Jordan, and we added matcha drinks to our menu that same year,” Mustafa said. He noted that one of the reasons for the spread of matcha in the Kingdom is popular anime movies.

For Zarqa patrons, the preferred mode of matcha consumption is to drink the powder blended with ice and milk and flavored with vanilla syrup, he said.

But of course, matcha is a tea, and, in the barista’s opinion, can never serve as a pure replacement for coffee. “Personally, there is nothing better than coffee.”

Sweet as honey
Ghazal Fawaz, a matcha lover, described the taste of the tea as “sharp, strong, and a hint of sweetness.” Fawaz had first tried matcha when she was younger. At the time, she was certainly not a fan, so it was only recently that she discovered her love for the green beverage when she gave it a second chance at an Amman coffee house. The experience led her to change her previous mindset.

She gave Jordan News her favorite recipe for the perfect matcha drink: two small spoons of the bright-green powder, a cup of full-fat milk, and 30g of honey.

“That’s it — nothing more, nothing less. Simple, but with great flavor,” she said, adding that she prefers not to add sugar or any syrup to the drink, but that honey adds sweetness to the tea.

“Most days, I drink matcha instead of my morning coffee,” Fawaz said. Since green tea contains antioxidants and has less caffeine than coffee, “it’s a nice amount (of caffeine) to consume in the morning to give the body some energy”.

“Matcha gives me the strong flavor that I love, and with an extra touch of honey instead of sugar, I feel healthy,” Fawaz said.

For the green-tea enthusiast, matcha and coffee are two completely different things. Both have beneficial qualities; it just comes down to preference.

“For me, it depends on the mood. Some days, all I want is a good cup of coffee, and some days I need my matcha cup to fix my troubled mood,” she said. “I can’t give up either of them.”

‘Love’ at first sip
Samar Al-Daoud, another matcha lover, described the flavor of matcha as “earthy”.

“The taste is bitter and creamy, with deep flavors at the same time. This is my favorite part: it’s not too sweet yet it’s not too bitter — and so delicious with milk,” she said.

When Daoud first tried matcha in 2018, she “fell in love with the tea, and never looked back”. She prefers it iced with soy milk and “a tiny bit of vanilla syrup”.

The matcha lover said the drink “provides me with energy and makes me feel wonderful, without giving me a caffeine crash”. It is “incredibly reviving”, getting her day off to “a wonderful start”.

“It gives me a very progressive energy boost that is neither too sudden nor too powerful,” she said.

Daoud prefers matcha over coffee for a few reasons: in her opinion, it tastes better, and it does not leave her feeling dehydrated, as coffee normally does.

“I don’t crash a couple of hours after drinking it,” she said. “It also just feels better for my body in general.”

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