It is possible to consume matcha-flavored, matcha-infused, supplemented-by-matcha products from morning til night.  I know because I tried.

One might think that to procure all these matcha-flavored, matcha-infused, supplemented-by-matcha items, multiple trips and roving inside markets occurred.  Not really.  The purchases were made without intent and hassle – that’s how prevalently matcha goods exist in the marketplace, at least in SoCal.

We who live outside of Asia should realize that the merchandise could be Asia’s surplus – left-over.  Matcha originated in Japan and its products are being refined and perfected in Asia.  Elsewhere, selections — both homemade and manufactured — are limited and unlikely of the highest quality.

RADIUS’s Organic Matcha Mint Gel Toothpaste is no longer listed on the company’s ALL PRODUCTS webpage.  Has it been discontinued?  This gel in brown tastes more coffee than tea, thus not so refreshing.  I am a fan of all dental hygiene products by Tom’s of Maine which has yet to introduce a matcha toothpaste. Let’s see how much longer Tom’s of Maine resists the “matcha bandwagon.”

Photo of a pile of matcha-infused products

Last year I grab and paid for a tube of the limited-edition Hello Kitty Uji-Matcha Kintoki Facial Wash by Rosette without checking the expiration date.  The usage instructions are entirely in Japanese.  The bromide in English, printed below the Hello Kitty motif, reads “Matcha is a powdered green tea that has been cherished in Japan since ancient times.”  Its scent does exude a hint of matcha, and the pearly green reminds one of fully-kneaded toy slime.  This very affordable product can still be found online.  The question that must be asked before purchase is how long ago it was produced – no expiration or production date stamped anywhere on the tube I bought.

Surprisingly, all of the products mentioned in my written-in-haste 2012 Tea & Skin Care post are still available today. (My “voice” was quite inhibited back then.)  100% PURE now carries Matcha Oat Milk Nourishing Mask, sold out online though.  Elizabeth Arden’s Green Tea Lavender Eau de Toilette Spray is probably instilled with that elusive “green tea extract” not matcha – what an unremarkable scent; as unremarkable as L’occitane’s Thé Vert (Green Tea) collection.

One skin care product I have wanted to try but kept forgetting to order is 11:11 ANGEL ORGANICS’s GRACE cream.

I enjoyed smelling Calbee’s Matcha Frugra® Fruit & Granola more than chewing it.  If you are at a supermarket picking up breakfast cereal and see this product, give it a chance.  Kashi or Kellogg or Cascadian Farm or General Mills will never create a matcha-flavored cereal for the U.S. market.  Never say never?

Photo of packages of matcha fruit and granola
Photo of a bowl of udon soup with matcha-colored noodles

At SoCal’s Santa Anita Shopping Center, both Tsurumaru Udon Honpo and Uncle Tetsu Japanese Cheesecake opened their second North America locations, next to each other and across the hallway from the perpetually bustling Taiwanese dumpling restaurant Din Tai Fung.  When the wait time at Din Tai Fung becomes unbearable, diners settle for the next closest eateries: Maybe a bowl of matcha udon at Tsurumaru Udon Honpo and for dessert, a matcha cheesecake from Uncle Tetsu’s.

I shouldn’t have frowned when asking the kitchen staff why the matcha udon didn’t have any matcha flavor and tasted exactly the same as the regular noodle.  The color was more soothing than Tiffany Blue, so was matcha added only to enhance presentation?  The kitchen staff might have wanted to remind me of my decaying taste buds, but instead they emphasized their generous use of premium matcha powder. I would have rolled my eyes if they commented on matcha’s health benefits.

Asian supermarkets often go out of their way to promote matcha by displaying related products — together and conspicuously — on spacious shelves.  Addicts could snack non-stop on matcha macaroons, matcha jelly, matcha mochi, matcha mocha ice cream, latte, mille-feuille, waffles, wafers, marshmallows, pudding, crackers, Hawaiian Host Matcha Chocolate, Sparkling Green Tea Canada Dry…  (So what is incompatible and must not be flavored with matcha?  Nothing?) 

Photo of some matcha mochi on a decorative plate
Photo collage of various different matcha products
Photo collage of various matcha snacks
Photo of Uji Matcha package

Among the myriad of matcha sweets Uji Matcha Puchao earns extra points!  This chewy soft candy with gummy bits is not only flavored with “real matcha powder” but also contains tiny pieces of tea leaves.  (How is “fake” matcha produced?)  What’s more is it is not getting marketed as an otona no aji (adult, grown-up flavor) item, which seems to have caused some confusion and annoyance in the West.  Earlier this year Puchao distributed free samples at a festival. A child returned to Puchao’s booth to exchange his Uji Matcha piece, the flavor of which he must have found disagreeable.  I made a purchase just to receive a free gift, and of course I chose the Uji Matcha Puchao shopping bag.

Who could remember the last green and matcha tea consumed?  NishifukuSeiCha’s Yame Gyokuro (八女玉露) and Maeda-en’s Organic Sencha blended with both tea leaves and matcha powder are two of the more memorable green teas I enjoyed in recent years.  Food fairs are the better places to acquire these showcased items, air-flown just for the occasion.

The cannabis industry also has not forgotten matcha.  During my first visit to a dispensary last year, I bought KIVA Confections’s PETRA Matcha Mint – yet another limited-edition fad thing.  Long-awaited legalization enables curious citizens to experiment. I have no plan to cultivate a new hobby, and shouldn’t have to endure a pungent smell to reap the benefits.

COVID-19, not this post, prompted me to purchase a copy of The Matcha Cookbook. Culinarily-challenged, I ended up browsing the photos, not the recipes.  Savory dishes such as matcha mushroom spelt risotto and trout with matcha pistachio crumb look quite delectable, but it’s always easier to boil a pack of matcha noodles, even when the end result tastes as insipid as Tsurumaru Udon Honpo’s matcha udon bowl.
When it comes to health matters, I ponder disheartening findings, for example epidemics like opioid abuse and antibiotic resistance.  Spending a minute reading another study on the boon of wine, of coffee, of matcha is a waste of time as there is always another camp ready to discredit, to contest.  When appraising matcha products, my focus will be on aroma, flavor, and color only.

Images provided and copyright held by author