I am a huge fan of hot drinks. Nothing can beat sipping on a mug of your favourite hot beverage on a cold rainy day, feeling the warmth wrap around your body like a cozy blanket! I don't drink coffee all that much, so teas are often my go to beverage of choice, but I can get bored pretty easily. Lately, one of my favourite things to sip on has been a very non-traditional turmeric and matcha latte.
It is a great combination of two really delicious drinks, one from India and the other from Japan. It's got just the right amount of sweetness, earthiness, and spice. Plus you get a nice dose of caffeine from the matcha, and who doesn't love/want that? Not only is it super tasty, but you also get loads of health benefits from these two powerhouse plants.
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a widely popular plant belonging to the ginger family, that has been used in India for centuries. Its botanical name is Curcuma longa. This coveted spice has been thought to cure everything from depression to the common cold. "Haldi doodh" which literally translates to turmeric milk in Hindi, has been a cure-all for generations. The traditional drink is made by simmering milk, turmeric powder, and sometimes a hint of black pepper.
I was introduced to it while working at an amazing Indian restaurant. Do I ever miss eating those post-dinner rush family meals every day!
History of Turmeric:
The use of turmeric dates back 4000 years to India where it was used as a culinary spice and for religious ceremonies. It then made its way to Asia, Africa, and later Jamaica and is now cultivated throughout the tropics. It was often used as a dye, and is one of the earliest plants ever recorded to be used in medicine. A few of its uses were to heal wounds, as a digestive, and to treat menstrual irregularities.
It was brought to the western world in 1280 by Marco Polo, who called it "Indian saffron" due to its bright yellow hue.
Extensive research has been conducted on turmeric and its use in modern medicine. Studies have shown links to turmerics benefits with treating cancer, alzheimer's disease, heart disease, and arthritis. Other research has shown it to be rich in antioxidants, and and anti-inflammatory. Today you can find blogs dedicated to the prized spice, and countless recipes from a multitude of cuisines.
Benefits of Turmeric:
- Is a known anti-inflammatory
- is full of antioxidants
- Can improve brain function and lower risk of brain disease
- Can lower risk of heart disease and cancer
- May help prevent and treat alzheimer's disease
What is Matcha?
All teas come from the same plant camellia sinensis, but what makes green tea different is that it is unfermented. Matcha, a type of green tea, literally means "ground tea" in Japanese, and the highest grade of matcha is grown almost entirely in the shade by the time harvest hits. Due to less sun, the leaves produce higher amino acids and chlorophyll. There are varying degrees of grades, but a high grade matcha should be sweet with no bitterness as a result of high amino acids. The young leaves are picked, steamed to preserve colour, and then dried with heated blowers.
History of Matcha:
Matcha's history actually originates from Chinese monks, who would break off pieces of previously pulverized and dried green tea, and whisk it into hot water. But for some reason, this style of powdered tea didn't become popular in China. Rather, it was brought back to Japan along with Zen Buddhism by Eisai Myoan. There, it became popular in monastaries largely for its ability to keep people awake while meditating, and for its medicinal properties.
Benefits of Matcha:
- Is full of antioxidants
- Contains cancer fighting properties
- Enhances memory and concentration
- Increases energy
- Increases metabolism
- Is full of chlorophyll
- May improve skin health
Both matcha's and turmeric's popularity have become widespread, and we have these cultures to thank for some seriously amazing beverages!
This recipe happened on a whim. I had recently received some really great matcha (linked below), and I had been making Haldi doodh at home, so I decided to incorporate the two ingredients into one tasty treat!
TURMERIC + MATCHA LATTE RECIPE:
- 1 cup of your choice of milk (we used almond)
- 1 tsp. matcha green tea (our favourite is from Matcha Ninja, a local Toronto company)
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
- 1 tsp. maple syrup (or your sweetener of choice)
- dash of black pepper
- dash of cinnamon (optional)
- dash of cardamom (optional)
Place all ingredients in a small pot on low heat, gently whisk using a bamboo whisk until frothy and hot (about 155º F). Consume immediately!
*Note: Alternatively, you can heat up milk and place all ingredients in a blender until smooth and frothy.
If you try our recipe, please comment below! And if you post on instagram, be sure to use the hashtag #urbanalchemist.