This history of matcha dates back nearly thousands of years when China was in the midst of dynasties and Japan was ruled by Shogun clans. In Japan, it is common for foreigners and locals alike to attend a Japanese Tea Ceremony. This ritual is called “Chado” or “Sado”, meaning “the way of tea”. A Zen student named Murata Juko was the first put together the formalized ceremony and a Zen Master named Sen Rikyu that popularized Juko’s concept. This master created four pillars of the tea ceremony:
- Harmony (Wa)
- Respect (Kei)
- Purity (Sei)
- Tranquillity (Jaku)
Today, modern concepts of matcha can be seen everywhere in Japan aside from tea drinking to snacks. We went to Don Quijote in search of as much matcha snacks we could find.
Matcha Snacks WE’ve Found
Matcha isn’t just limited to ice cream and chocolate flavours- you can have it in your liqueur too! Kahula is actually a Mexican brand, known for making a coffee-flavoured liqueur. But there’s a catch- this is only available in Japan. So come and stock up on some exclusive matcha-coffee liqueur when you stop by in Japan. This drink was created in the thought of a (non-alcoholic) drink a popular drink in Japan- coffee milk. There are currently quite a few recipes out there using the matcha liqueur such as Kahlúa Matcha Milk, Frozen Matcha Parfait, and many more.
KitKat Adult Sweet オトナの甘さ
The brand also included a matcha version of “adult” KitKats. It has a more bitter & stronger matcha flavour with a crisp aftertaste. Compared to more sweet matcha KitKats they have, this one has more of an earthy punch to it.
Alfort Matcha Biscuits アルフォート抹茶
This biscuit is made out of whole wheat and covered in creamy matcha chocolate goodness. You might recognize this brand as it has been sold for over 20 years, but the Uji Matcha flavour is pretty recent- since 2017. Many people love these cookies for the crunchy biscuit in conjunction with soft and chewy chocolate.
Matcha Mochi 抹茶もち
This Matcha Mochi has the sweetness of chocolate, the bitterness of matcha, and the chewiness of mochi. Try this out for a different texture than most of your snacks outside of Japan.
Green Tea Brownies クリーム玄米ブラン
This calorie bar, made of brown rice, is a balanced nutrition snack for busy mornings or for your diet. It contains the necessary amount of dietary fibre, which is hard to consume in your daily diet. Complete your balanced diet with this calorie bar!
Sasha Matcha 紗々抹茶
This matcha chocolate is a limited edition during the summer, and Lotte recommends you to enjoy this snack chilled! The crisp & delicate texture is will be maximized by refrigerating.
Matcha Snacks We’ve Tried
1. Matcha Caramel 抹茶キャラメル
Morinaga is a pretty popular sweet brand in Japan. Many people recommend this candy for those who aren’t a fan of matcha. This caramel tastes more like green tea latte, as it is sweet and milky. There is no bitterness to the sweets at all and is for all those sweet tooths out there. Please try this chewiness goodness if you ever come to Japan! The taste is similar to a green tea latte- but sweeter (unless you put 6 pumps of classic syrup into your GRTL). The caramel sticks to your teeth obviously, but it doesn’t stop it from tasting delicious.
Our rating: ★★★★☆ ( 4 / 5)
2. Matcha KitKat – Powers of Green Tea Flavour 抹茶のちから
Matcha is so popular in Japan that Nestle (owner of KitKat) created various levels of matcha KitKat flavours. This one in particular that we tried has quite a strong bitter aftertaste. It is also marketed as a Polyphenol and Lutein product – which are both derived from green tea. These two things carry health benefits and are often credited to antioxidant and antibacterial effects. There are many studies that lutein plays a role in age-related eye diseases. If you are a “true” matcha fan, this will probably float your boat: it’s quite bitter and strong in matcha taste/smell.
Our rating: ★★★☆☆ ( 3 / 5)
3. Chocolat Lubera Matcha ショコラルーベラ抹茶
This wafer roll is wrapping matcha-flavoured chocolate. The wafer part is really crunchy, so both of us really liked it. It has weaker matcha flavour than Matcha KitKat, but more sweet and sugary.
Our rating: ★★★★☆ (4 / 5)
4. Japanese Matcha Choco Pie 和の CHOCOPIE 抹茶黒みつ
Lotte Choco Pie is actually a Korean product but popularized in the vast majority of East and Southeast Asia. Choco Pie is made up of two small circular cakes with a marshmallow filling in the middle. Japan has a matcha flavoured edition available. Unfortunately, it tastes less than subpar. When biting into it, the cake snack somehow tasted like alcohol. The chocolate coating is too overpowering, rendering the matcha flavour essentially useless; you can’t really taste it. The alcohol undertones give a weird sensation on the roof of your mouth and the back of your throat that lasts for a few minutes after finishing the snack. Neither of us was able to finish just one round.
Our rating: ★☆☆☆☆ (1 / 5)
5. Matcha Candy (Kanro) 金のミルク濃い贅沢抹茶
There are two variations to this candy. One contains milk in it while the other is exclusively matcha. We bought the kind with milk in it, which was less bitter and sweeter. It has a very rich and creamy taste due to the milk that can be quite pleasing.
Our rating: ★★★☆☆ ( 3 / 5)
This blog post was written by Jioh and Lena, Seibo Japan/Mobal Japan’s interns from South Korea and Texas.