Although the green Matcha tea powder contains the whole leaf of the tea bush, tea is not the only ingredient in the blend. Americans tend to prefer at least a trace amount of sugar in their foods and beverages. If all sweeteners were omitted from our foods, a lot of people would be surprised just how many things would taste different! As a matter of fact, the global output for cane sugar production in 2007 is estimated at 1,591 million metric tons. Those bags of sugar went into many foods we all eat and yes, a little bit of that went into your Matcha blend as well.
Cane Sugar is indigenous to tropical South Asia and Southeast Asia. In the United States, sugar cane is grown in Louisiana, Texas, and Florida as well as Hawaii.
Globally, it is currently grown in over 110 countries. In addition to the white refined table sugar that we are all familiar with, other products derived from the sugarcane would include Falernum, molasses, rum, cachaça (the national spirit of Brazil), and ethanol.
During the process of refining harvested sugar cane into a food commodity, the non-edible parts of the cane are separated out and referred to as ‘bagasse.’
The bagasse can be used for many other purposes such as to heat homes and provide electricity and power for the very sugar mill itself, and because it is earth-friendly it is also being used as a raw material for paper, cardboard and eating utensils. Raw sugar is yellow to brown in appearance.
Traditionally, sugarcane processing requires two stages. Mills extract raw sugar from freshly harvested cane. This is called “mill white” sugar for local consumption. Refineries, often located nearer to consumers in North America, Europe, and Japan, then produce refined white sugar, which is 99 percent sucrose.
Most of this information was gleaned from a much larger and more in-depth article on Wikipedia. For those who are curious for more information, here is the link, and in fact I’ll even insert another clip here for your enjoyment. Many of you who read this blog are actively developing your own Matcha recipes, and with that in mind I’ll present a culinary morsel ~ just one sample of many interesting reports available free courtesy of Wikipedia:
In most countries where sugarcane is cultivated, there are several foods and popular dishes derived directly from it, such as:
* Raw sugarcane: chewed to extract the juice
* Sugarcane Juice: Combining fresh juice, extracted by hand or small mills, with a touch of lemon and ice to make a popular drink, known variously as ganne ka rass, guarab, guarapa, guarapo, papelón, aseer asab, Ganna sharbat, mosto and caldo de cana
* Cachaça: The most popular distilled alcoholic beverage in Brazil. Is a liquor made of the distillation of sugarcane
* Jaggery: Solidified molasses, known as Gur or Gud in India, traditionally produced by evaporating juice to make a thick sludge and then cooling and molding it in buckets. Modern production partially freeze dry the juice to reduce caramelization and lighten its color. It is used as sweetener in cooking traditional entrees, sweets and desserts.
* Molasses: as a sweetener and as a syrup accompanying other foods, such as cheese or cookies
* Rapadura: a sweet flour which is one of the simplest refinings of sugarcane juice
* Rum: especially in the Caribbean
* Syrup: a traditional sweetener in soft drinks, now largely supplanted (in the US at least) by high-fructose corn syrup, which is less expensive
* Rock candy: crystalized cane juice