I like to drink Green Tea for its health benefits but would prefer not to drink it to avoid the harmful affects on my teeth. I understand that Matcha is just powdered Green Tea leaves. Does that mean I could buy whole tea leaves (green or black) and grind them to make a powder? Would tea from tea bags work as well (I have a giant box I got from Amazon)? Would a food processor work or do I need a nut and seed grinder? I'm thinking of adding it to recipes in place of Matcha (smoothies, ice cream, etc), which is expensive and doesn't come in the decaf variety.
Yup. matcha is just powdered tea leaves and plenty of people eat it - I have even seen matcha green tea smoothies at Starbucks. I say just buy some matcha -its incredibly finely ground, which would be hard to replicate. They keep it behind the counter as my local asian market and its not very expensive. But, you could experiment with some on your own too. I would guess that anything bigger than powder would reconstitute when wet into a little leaves of slimeness.
As far as I know, matcha is made by drying and abrading the leaves (usually by tumbling them in a mesh cylinder) until the flesh of the leaves disintegrates into the powder leaving behind the veins and other fibrous bits. But those bits are just that: fiber. No problem. Eat em up.
Yeah, I would just got for buying the matcha, I tried grinding up tea leaves once (apparently it was a slow day at work...), and it was the hugest pain in the world. Tried to mortar and pestle it, but that got old fast, switched over to the spice grinder, and that got it to the texture of chunky-sand I would say. I never got the proper texture, so it was like drinking chunks of soggy plant when I mixed it in water. The matcha is prepared the proper way, and is definitely worth it to buy.
I blend matcha into my coconut milk smoothie (coconut milk, spinach/kale, berries, banana, cocoa powder, cinnamon, raw egg), and it is really nice for kind of a bitter-savory flavour. I used to make a matcha ice cream with local dairy, and served it with a raspberry reduction, it was super awesome.
You can definitely eat tea leaves, but they're not easy to grind up.
Not what you asked, but an alternate way to get tea while protecting your teeth from staining would be to use a straw. These are pretty cool http://simplystraws.com/ reusable, glass, sterilizable. (I'm not affiliated I just saw them at a tradeshow and thought they were cool)