|Matcha Green Tea|
|How To Prepare Matcha Green Tea|
|Benefits Of Drinking Matcha Green Tea|
|Matcha Green Tea Nutrition Facts|
A long standing tradition of Japanese culture, Matcha green tea is the highest quality powdered green tea available. Made from the nutrient-rich young leaves picked from the tips of shade-grown Camellia sinensis plants, Matcha is steamed, stemmed, and de-vined before being stone-ground into very fine powder. The powder is then stored away from light and oxygen in order to preserve its brilliant green color and antioxidant properties.
Matcha is renowned for numerous health benefits. It is rich in nutrients, antioxidants, fiber and chlorophyll. The health benefits of matcha exceed those of other green teas because matcha drinkers ingest the whole leaf, not just the brewed water. One glass of matcha is the equivalent of 10 glasses of green tea in terms of nutritional value and antioxidant content.
Matcha contains L-theanine, an amino acid known to relax the mind. For this reason, matcha is also known as a mood enhancer. Buddhist monks drank matcha to assist in meditation, as matcha’s amino acids, combined with caffeine, offer a sustained calm alertness over time. Amino acids are also what gives matcha is distinctive taste. They contribute to what is known as the fifth taste, or umami, characterized by a rich creamy mouth feel.
Chlorophyll and amino acids give matcha its unique rich taste, an initial vegetal, astringent taste, followed by a lingering sweetness. Matcha made in the traditional Japanese style, whisked with water, is a full-bodied green tea. The intensity of the experience compares to one’s first taste of dark chocolate or red wine. When added as an ingredient, the taste of matcha becomes subtler. It adds the flavor and color of green tea to your creation, be it a smoothie, latte, savory sauce or pastry.
I heard that matcha shots were the “it beverage” at New York Fashion Week, and many dedicated coffee lovers are ditching java in favor of matcha. If you’re curious about this trendy beverage, here are things you should know about matcha
It's a special form of green tea
Matcha literally means "powdered tea." When you order traditional green tea, components from the leaves get infused into the hot water, then the leaves are discarded. With matcha, you’re drinking the actual leaves, which have been finely powdered and made into a solution, traditionally by mixing about a teaspoon of matcha powder with a third cup of hot water (heated to less than a boil), which is then whisked with a bamboo brush until it froths. Unlike traditional green tea, matcha preparation involves covering the tea plants with shade cloths before they’re harvested. This triggers the growth of leaves with better flavor and texture, which are hand selected, steamed briefly to stop fermentation, then dried and aged in cold storage, which deepens the flavor. The dried leaves are then stone-ground into a fine powder.
It offers health benefits
Because matcha is made from high-quality tea, and the whole leaves are ingested, it’s a more potent source of nutrients than steeped green tea. In addition to providing small amounts of vitamins and minerals, matcha is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols, which have been tied to protection against heart disease and cancer, as well as better blood sugar regulation, blood pressure reduction, and anti-aging. Another polyphenol in matcha called EGCG has been shown in research to boost metabolism, and slow or halt the growth of cancer cells.
It contains caffeine
Because you’re consuming whole leaves in matcha, you may get three times as much caffeine than a cup of steeped tea, about the amount in a cup of brewed coffee. Matcha aficionados say that compared to the caffeine buzz from coffee, matcha creates an “alert calm” due to a natural substance it contains called l-theanine, which induces relaxation without drowsiness. Still, I do believe it’s best to nix all forms of caffeine (including matcha) at least six hours before bedtime, to ensure a good night’s sleep.
It traditionally involves meditation
The preparation of matcha is the focus of Japanese tea ceremonies, and it has long been associated with Zen. This is likely one reason it’s becoming so popular, as meditation is becoming more and more mainstream.
The powders may be sweetened, and the quality varies
The taste is of matcha is strong. Some people describe it as grass or spinach-like, and it has an umami taste. Because of this it may be sweetened to improve its palatability. One client was thrilled to tell me that he was drinking matcha, but instead of traditional matcha powder, he was drinking a powdered mix. The first ingredient was sugar, and it also contained powdered milk, so it was essentially like hot chocolate—but with cocoa swapped for matcha—something I wouldn’t recommend. Tea experts also warn that with matcha quality is key, and it comes at a cost. In other words, high quality, fresh, pure matcha is expensive. A low price tag can be a red flag for a poor quality product.
- Step one: Sift 2 teaspoons of Matcha powder into a bowl using a small sifter.
- Step two: Add 20 ounces of hot water (just below boiling point).
- Step three: Whisk using a bamboo whisk in a zigzag manner until frothy.
- Step four: Drink your tea directly from the bowl.
High in Antioxidants
We’ve all read this word before. Antioxidants are the magical nutrients and enzymes responsible for fighting against the negative effects of UV radiation, giving us younger-looking skin, and preventing a number of life-threatening maladies. Antioxidants are something that all health-conscious individuals seek from such foods as raw fruits, green veggies, and (let’s not forget) dark chocolate. Matcha Green Tea is that just one bowl provides over 5 times as many antioxidants as any other food – the highest rated by the ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) method.
EGCG, found in high concentrations in Matcha, has been shown to increase the rate of burning stored fat as energy, as well as decreasing the formation of new fat cells. Other studies have shown that the catechins in Matcha increase the body’s rate of calorie burning each day and offered additional fat burning benefit during exercise.
Loaded with Catechin, EGCg
You may have already heard that not all antioxidants are created equal. Green tea contains a specific set of organic compounds known as catechins. Among antioxidants, catechins are the most potent and beneficial. One specific catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg) makes up 60% of the catechins in Matcha green tea. Out of all the antioxidants, EGCg is the most widely recognized for its cancer fighting properties. Scientists have found that Matcha contains over 100 times more EGCg than any other tea on the market.
A 2011 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that the catechins in green tea had a significant effect on lowering LDL cholesterol. A 2013 Cochrane review also showed that regular green tea consumption was associated with lower blood pressure and an decreased risk of stroke.
For over a millennium, Matcha green tea has been used by Chinese Daoists and Japanese Zen Buddhist monks as a means to relax and meditate while remaining alert. Now we know that this higher state of consciousness is due to the amino acid L-Theanine contained in the leaves used to make Matcha. L-Theanine promotes the production of alpha waves in the brain which induces relaxation without the inherent drowsiness caused by other “downers.”
The L-Theanine in green tea is known to help stimulate alpha brain waves. These waves are known for their ability to help increase focus and concentration.
Boosts Memory and Concentration
Another side-effect of L-Theanine is the production of dopamine and serotonin. These two chemicals serve to enhance mood, improve memory, and promote better concentration – something that can benefit everyone.
The process of shading the Matcha leaves creates an increased amount of Chlorophyll, which some preliminary research has shown may help the body eliminate heavy metals and other harmful buildup. Research is still lacking in this area, but many alternative doctors recommend Chlorophyll for this purpose.
Increases Energy Levels and Endurance
Samurai, the noble warriors of medieval and early-modern Japan, drank Matcha green tea before going into battle due to the tea’s energizing properties. While all green tea naturally contains caffeine, the energy boost received from Matcha is largely due to its unique combination of other nutrients. The increased endurance from a bowl of Matcha Green Tea can last up to 6 hours and because of the effects of L-Theanine, Matcha drinkers experience none of the usual side-effects of stimulants such as nervousness and hypertension. It’s good, clean energy.
The same antioxidants that make green tea protective, including epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), may also help support skin health by reducing inflammation and free radicals that accelerate skin aging. This green tea facemask is a great example of that.
Detoxifies the Body
During the last three weeks before tea leaves are harvested to be made into Matcha, Camellia sinensis are covered to deprive them of sunlight. This causes a tremendous increase in chlorophyll production in the new growth of these plants. The resulting high levels of chlorophyll in Matcha green tea not only give this tea its beautiful vibrant green color. Matcha is also a powerful detoxifier capable of naturally removing heavy metals and chemical toxins from the body.
Fortifies the Immune System
The catechins in Matcha green tea have been shown to have antibiotic properties which promote overall health. Additionally, just one bowl of Matcha green tea provides substantial quantities of potassium, vitamins A & C, iron, protein, and calcium. Further studies have even suggested that the nutrients in Matcha may have the ability to inhibit the attacks of HIV on human T-cells.
Researchers aren’t entirely certain how Matcha green tea has such a positive effect on cholesterol, however studies of different populations have show that people who drink Match on a regular basis have lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol while at the same time displaying higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. Men who drink Matcha green tea are about 11% less likely to develop heart disease than those who don’t drink Matcha.
Matcha Green Tea Nutrition Facts
There is no denying that matcha is one of the most nutritious foods available today. To give you a better idea of the other health benefits matcha green tea has to offer, take a look at its nutrition facts
Organic Matcha Green Tea Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 1 tsp
|Amt. Per Serving||% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat||0 g||0%|
|Saturated Fat||0 g||0%|
|Polysaturated Fat||0 g||0%|
|Monounsaturated Fat||0 g||0%|
|Trans Fat||0 g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrates||0 g||0%|
|Dietary Fiber||0 g||0%|
A teaspoon of matcha also contains 15 times more than the amount of antioxidants in pomegranates and blueberries, and 60 times more than the antioxidants found in spinach.