Matcha tea growing in popularity

NEW YORK -- A growing number of people are turning to tea rather than coffee, and one tea quickly becoming popular is called matcha.

Matcha has actually been around for a very long time, but it was usually only sold at tea shops and health food stores.

It's made from a particular tea plant that grows in the shade and now matcha is having its moment.

Michelle Gardner first had matcha in Asia where it's much more common, and now the tea made from green powder is the focus of her new cafe called Chalait in the West Village.

"I wanted to give it a fresher look, make it non-intimidating, westernize it somehow," Gardner said.

Matcha is served in espresso cups or as lattes.

"I always ask people how they take their coffee and that that's how I recommend they take their matcha," Gardner said.

There are also matcha infused treats to choose from and matcha to make at home.

At Matcha Cafe Wabi in the East Village you can also find matcha treats, and lattes, but the ceremonial matcha is a big draw. The green powder is whisked with hot water until it's frothy.

With the ceremonial tea you're supposed to take in the color and the fragrance with every sip.

And Williamsburg now has its first matcha spot; MatchaBar is the creation of Max and Graham Fortgang. The two brothers fell in love with matcha because it helped them stay awake during college.

"We're feeling so uplifted, energetic, but calm, why is this?" Max Fortgang said. "Matcha is sustained energy over a longer period of time than coffee; it's much gentler on your system, helps immunity with the antioxidants," Fortgang said.

So there's reason to drink it. And there they like to serve their matcha with hemp or almond milk, or in a cold drink with pressed cider.

They also sell matcha to make at home and they plan to sell a bottled matcha product by the end of the year.

"The way we see our signature drinks into pure matcha," Fortgang said. "If you're a little uncertain about matcha, a matcha covered donut hole may be the best way to ease in."

And matcha drinks are on par with coffee drinks when it comes to price, but again, matcha has less caffeine, but the caffeine lasts a little longer.
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