Matcha, Matcha Man, Brandon Chow is the Matcha Man

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Photo by Qiao Liu

What’s healthy, equivalent to coffee and green all over?

Matcha! And entrepreneur Brandon Chow has got it by the truckload.

When I first started this “Matcha Madness” escapade I had no idea what the wonderful green substance was, admittedly.

“The main difference that people don’t realize is that for green tea you just dip the leaf in the water. But with matcha you’re actually consuming the entire leaf — which ends up giving you a higher concentration of all the health benefits too.”

The health benefits of matcha are immense, so after learning about what exactly it was I was eager to try. I met Chow at Balzac’s coffee, where I had my first matcha latte. I thought it was brilliant, but Chow assured me there was better out there — specifically, his own from Shiba Matcha.

“I was really unhappy with the different options [of matcha] out there. Some places like David’s Tea, Teavana or Costco offer matcha. But if you look deep into where the matcha is coming from and how it tastes, it’s usually a lower grade.” Chow explained.

“I ended up buying like eight-hundred dollars’ worth of matcha from these different places to see what was good. I managed to get one of my friends who spoke fluent Japanese to call some of the tea-farms to get samples from them too … we all saw this as a new opportunity.”

There’s recently been an obvious shift in the way we view health. In the past, living a healthy lifestyle was viewed as a struggle worse than Sisyphus’, but now I think it’s safe to say that things are changing. Even McDonald’s is jumping on the health train with their endless salad options.

That’s why matcha becoming more wide-spread in North America. Let’s look at some of the health benefits; packed with antioxidants, boosts your metabolism, naturally detoxifies your body, lowers cholesterol and is a natural mood enhancer.

“I’m pretty into the health community. One of the things that I found was that I wanted to get that kick in the morning, but I didn’t want to take anything I would classify as ‘bad for you’. So, tea was a great alternative and I eventually found matcha. A friend had told me about the health benefits, for me it’s like coffee but without that crash later. There’s no additives in it; it’s natural,” Chow explained.

Basically, matcha is the superman of green tea. Which is why Brandon wanted to share it with everyone.

“I started selling matcha online, mainly to really introduce people to something that’s a much healthier alternative to coffee,” Chow said.

On Nov. 18, Chow held a popup event called “Matcha Madness” where he and his team demonstrated how to make matcha the traditional way; with a bamboo whisk. They also demonstrated different uses for the powder, such as a pre-workout drink, or even for baking.

“I try to cook with matcha as much as I can, but I’m not that good of a chef,’ Chow admitted.

“I’ve made brownies and cookies before [and] I’ve also made sriracha fries. But my favourite thing is matcha ice-cream and matcha macaroons.”

Chow orders his matcha straight from Japan, and is in the habit of travelling North America to find the best matcha café’s. I asked Chow if he would consider opening his own matcha café in Waterloo, but he told me that, until the demand for this green powder grows higher, Shiba Matcha will be a strictly online store.

Matcha Cookies

 

½ cup of softened butter

⅞ cup of granulated sugar

1 cup and 2 tablespoons of flour

2 eggs

1¼ tablespoons organic matcha

a pinch of salt

 

  1. Cream butter and sugar in large bowl and gently incorporate eggs one at a time when creamed
  2. Sift together the dry ingredients and add them into the wet ingredients while folding or gently mixing
  3. Chill dough for at least an hour or overnight
  4. Preheat oven to 325F and roll the dough into a ping pong ball shape and place on a non-stick cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes and then cool on a rack

 

Matcha Macarons

 

Macaron Shells:

1 tablespoon organic matcha

1 cup almond flour

2 cups powdered sugar

a pinch of salt

4 egg whites

¼ cup of granulated sugar

 

  1. Sift matcha powder, almond flower, powdered sugar together in a bowl
  2. In a separate bowl, separate eggs and add egg whites into a mixing bowl
  3. Use a hand mixer on medium high for 4 minutes. At 4 minutes, slowly incorporate the sugar for another 4 minutes where stiff peaks will form
  4. Add a pinch of salt to the mixture and add one third of the dry ingredients into the beaten eggs and sugar
  5. Fold 20 times before adding another third, folding another 20 times, adding the final third and folding another 20 times
  6. Pour mixture into a piping bag and pipe over parchment paper on a baking tray and tap hard against the table
  7. Preheat oven to 300F and let sit for 30 minutes. After, bake for 20 minutes. Once you take the macarons out, let cool and add the cooled ganache

 

Ganache Filling:

½ cup of whipping cream

¾ cup of semisweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon softened butter

 

  1. Heat whipping cream until it is about to boil
  2. Remove from heat, add semisweet chocolate chips and mix
  3. After a minute, add the butter and mix until glistening

 

 

 

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