Matcha green tea, made by dried green tea leaves ground into powder, is a Japanese traditional tea that was recorded in literature from more than 800 years ago. This powder is dissolved in boiled water and stirred well to make foam on top to drink. The Japanese traditional tea ceremony, or Sado, is a formal tea ceremony to host the guests with the best hospitality using strictly selected room décor and tea equipment. Even for Sado, Matcha is always served for the ultimate quality of hospitality.
There are many opinions on the origin of Matcha flavored sweets. Matcha flavored ice cream was presented to the then Emperor about 100 years ago, but only about 20 years ago, a major dessert manufacturer released Matcha flavored products, and the flavor became one of the most popular flavors in Japan. It is sold everywhere including supermarkets and convenience stores and, especially at the beginning of summer when new tea leaves are harvested, some places set up a special section for Matcha flavored sweet products. There are also some time-limited or region-limited products.
Good examples of good Matcha flavored products are Uji-Matcha flavoredChoko-Ball, the ball-shaped cookies coated with Matcha chocolate (sold only at some shops such as Tokyo Okashi Land in the basement shopping center at Tokyo Station,) and Alfort Premium, cocoa cookies and Matcha chocolate put together. Matcha flavored ice cream has subtle bitterness and sweetness perfectly mixed together, and is also very popular in Japan.
Matcha flavor series of KIT KAT is known worldwide. Uji Matcha flavor, which uses the Matcha from a well-established teahouse in Uji, Kyoto, has also been released recently. Pocky also has Matcha flavor and is very popular.
The best thing about these sweets is that they are reasonably priced, have many different varieties and are beautifully packaged. They are also perfect for souvenirs as they are sold everywhere in Japan including airports.