It was back in 2016 when India for the first time started making its own matcha. A tea garden in Upper Assam become the first in the country to make matcha, though it may not quite match the original Japanese one. Matcha, which literally means ‘powdered tea’ is from Japan and is drunk as tea or used as an ingredient in recipes. Its health benefits exceed that of other green teas, it has 137 times more antioxidants because matcha drinkers ingest the whole leaf and not just the brewed water.
Originating from the Chinese Tang dynasty, matcha was brought to Japan by a Buddhist monk over 900 years ago. Matcha has been a key component of Zen Buddhism philosophy ever since, especially in tea ceremonies.
According to Grand View research, Matcha green tea consumption will grow from $2.6 billion in 2017 to $5.6 billion by 2025. Matcha is already a fitness superfood in the US and European countries, but it is still a new and unaware product in India. But the good news is that green tea consumers in India are already tripled. With the rising health care cost and change in people’s mindset about organic products, pushing the green tea market to beat the black tea market by 2025. In recent years, this trend has caught on in India as well, with a growing number of consumers opting for Matcha tea over traditional tea varieties.
Another much-in-demand variant for Matcha is Matcha Coffee is also known as the matcha latte. It has a unique flavour that is slightly bitter and earthy, with a hint of sweetness. It is also known for its vibrant green colour, which comes from the chlorophyll in the tea leaves. Matcha coffee is often marketed as a natural energy booster, which appeals to India’s young and busy population. It is also a popular drink among fitness enthusiasts and people following a plant-based or vegan diet, as it is dairy-free and contains no animal products.
One of the key reasons for the rise of Matcha tea and coffee in India is its numerous health benefits. Additionally, Matcha contains caffeine, which helps to increase energy levels and improve focus.
Restaurants and cafes across India have capitalised on this trend, adding Matcha tea and coffee to their menu. Many have even created speciality drinks and desserts featuring Matcha as a key ingredient. These items have become popular with consumers looking for unique and healthy food and drink options.
When Fig At Malcha and Fig at Museo introduced Matcha tea and Coffee in their menu, it was much loved among the patrons in no time. “Ranging from hot tea to iced and hot latte, green tea exudes immense qualities of taste, health, and aftermath. We have seen a surge of milk preferences in the lattes, where our guests are open to experimenting with coconut and oat milk, which honestly elevates the taste profile and the experience of a diner. Since Matcha has a gradual spike of caffeine, it’s a great alternative for anyone taking a break from their coffee,” Sureena Dalal, the brand manager at FIG commented.
Dalal suggests trying Matcha in its truest form – Hot Matcha Tea. At the same time, Fig At Malcha has re-engineered its Matcha lattes with alt milk options, and that’s something only a few cafes regale.
At Delhi-based Japanese restaurant, Kampai, customers often express excitement when they see Matcha offerings on the menu. “Additionally, Matcha’s visually appealing green colour can be eye-catching and Instagram-worthy, which can generate social media buzz and attract customers who are interested in visually appealing food and beverages,” Avantika Sinha, founder & managing director of Kampai stated.
At Kampai, guests are enjoying their newly launched Matcha Cake, which is a decadent dessert that features a smooth and creamy Matcha-flavored cake filling on a crunchy cookie crust.
Apart from standalone cafes and restaurants, f&b chains have also started introducing Matcha in their menu. One example of a restaurant that has successfully incorporated Matcha into its menu is Starbucks, which has introduced a Matcha Tea Latte in India. This drink has become a popular alternative to traditional coffee and tea options, with many consumers raving about its unique taste and health benefits.
Pratishtha Rawat, founder of Glow Glossary, one of the prominent suppliers of Matcha tea in India commented that there is a gradual rise in demand definitely for high-quality Matcha. People are aware of the health benefits of good quality Matcha and are integrating it into their lifestyles. So quality is important and cafés can no longer benefit from keeping commodity-grade tea anymore.
“Increase in demands and has resulted in an increase in the supply from the plantations, and once it reaches the café, you can notice it being consumed as lattes. Iced, for sure, but hot lattes are also gaining popularity,” Rawat added.
Experience and exposure are the major driving factors for the demand for Matcha. Matcha is an acquired taste, and it demands patience, whether in preparation or making it your go-to drink. “At Fig we are getting the ceremonial grade Matcha, the experience by default gets better. The tea is delicately sweet, unlike the ones that are commercially sourced,” Dalal commented.
Chef Akshat Parihar feels that Matcha tea is not only visually pleasing but also has a unique taste that can be enhanced by combining it with complementary ingredients and flavours. “For example, a vanilla-based cookie soil or a soft scoop of Matcha in a dessert can add flavour and texture to the drink, making it even more delicious. When paired with the right ingredients, Matcha can become an enjoyable and palatable drink,” he shared.
The presentation of Matcha tea is also essential to its success. The way it is presented and served can have a significant impact on how it is perceived by people. “A beautifully crafted Matcha latte with latte art can be enticing and inviting. The way Matcha is served and paired with other flavours can also add to the overall experience of drinking it,” Parihar further added.