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Matcha Green Tea Review
Matcha green tea is a popular health product prized throughout Asia. Find out everything you need to know about drinking and buying matcha green tea today.
What Is Matcha Green Tea?
Matcha is a finely ground powder that is created by processing special blends of green tea. The green tea leaves used to create matcha have to be grown, harvested, and processed in a unique way.
The green tea plants have to be shade-grown for about three weeks before harvesting, for example, and the stems and veins need to be removed prior to creating the matcha powder.
Matcha has played a central role in Japanese tea ceremony for centuries. In Japan, matcha is also frequently used to flavor and dye certain foods – including green tea ice cream and soba noodles.
Matcha actually has its roots in ancient China. The Tang Dynasty (618 to 907 CE) roasted and pulverized tea leaves to create a powder. Eventually, these methods spread to Japan.
Today, there is a global resurgence in the popularity of matcha tea – due largely to its health benefits, which we’ll talk about below.
Benefits Of Matcha Green Tea
One serving of matcha green tea is purportedly equivalent to drinking 10 cups of regularly brewed green tea. That’s because matcha lets you ingest the entire leaf and retain its entire nutrient profile. As a result, matcha powder also has 137 times more antioxidants compared to regularly brewed tea.
Some of the prized health benefits of drinking matcha green tea include:
-A rich profile of vitamins (like vitamin C)
-Healthy servings of minerals (including selenium, chromium, zinc, and magnesium)
-Reduced risk of disease, including a possible reduced risk of cancer
-Healthier cholesterol and blood sugar levels
-Detoxifies the body
-Calms the mind and relaxes the body
-Boosts metabolism and burns calories
-Packed with antioxidants, including one super powered antioxidant called EGCg
-Boosts energy and concentration
How Does Matcha Green Tea Achieve These Benefits?
Ultimately, matcha is nearly calorie free, making it a healthy and effective weight loss aid. Like regular green tea, it also boosts your metabolism and encourages your body to burn more calories.
The high levels of amino acids (particularly L-theanine) have also been shown to boost concentration and focus. L-theanine is a rare amino acid that promotes a state of relaxation in the mind by raising alpha wave levels. Alpha waves neutralize beta waves, which are associated with stress and agitation.
Have you ever wondered why matcha is green? Matcha is green because it’s rich with chlorophyll. The rich green color of chlorophyll does more than just make matcha look unique: it’s also associated with cleansing because it acts as an antioxidant.
The antioxidants in matcha green tea also lower LDL cholesterol and have anti-aging effects on the body. They neutralize free radicals in the skin, for example, which leads to cleaner, fresher, more radiant-looking skin.
Perhaps the most intriguing benefit of matcha green tea is its cancer prevention properties. Matcha is rich with catechins, which are some of the most powerful antioxidants available in food. Catechins scour your body for free radicals. In one 2003 study from the University of Colorado, researchers found that drinking 1 cup of matcha green tea per day gave participants 137 times the level of antioxidants as drinking ordinary green tea.
Like most other teas, matcha also contains caffeine. Since matcha contains whole tea leaves, you typically consume more caffeine with matcha than you would with standard brewed tea. An average cup of matcha contains three times as much caffeine as a cup of steeped tea, which is about equal to the amount you would find in brewed coffee.
Types of Matcha
Matcha is classified into different grades based on its perceived level of quality. Grade qualities are associated with things like:
-Location on the tea bush: Higher grades of matcha use the soft, supple leaves on the top of the bush.
-Treatment before processing: The highest quality leaves are called tencha leaves. Processing these leaves involves drying them outside in the shade and never exposing them to direct sunlight.
-Stone grinding: Proper stone grinding prevents matcha from becoming burnt and degraded. Higher quality matcha will be stone ground using specialty-designed granite stone mills, while
-Oxidation: Matcha exposed to oxygen can become compromised and develop a weird coloring and flavor. Too much oxygen, for example, gives matcha a distinctive hay-like smell and a dull brownish-green color.
How to Buy Matcha Green Tea
Typically, matcha is more expensive than other types of tea – especially if you’re buying higher grade varieties of matcha.
Nevertheless, matcha can still be found for reasonable prices online. Amazon, for example, sells 100% USDA certified organic matcha green tea powder for about $20 to $30 for a 113 gram supply.
How to Prepare Matcha
Making matcha tea is a little more labor-intensive than making your traditional tea.
First, there’s the Japanese ceremonial way to make matcha. As Teavana.com explains, Japanese tea ceremony “is a spiritual experience that embodies harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility.” In Japanese tea ceremony, hosts often prepare extensively for events and make the tea with flourishing hand movements and special motions.
You can read a guide on how to make matcha tea in Japanese ceremonial style here. Making everyday matcha green tea, fortunately, is a little easier (although it’s still more labor intensive than traditional tea varieties). Follow these steps:
Step 1) To brew a cup, scoop 1 ½ ladlefuls of matcha powder into a strainer
Step 2) Sift your matcha powder into your tea bowl, swirling the powder around the strainer with your ladle. This prevents the tea from clumping, creating a smoother tea drinking experience.
Step 3) Pour boiling water (approximately 2 ounces of water) into a teacup, then let the water cool to about 180 to 190 degrees, which should take about a minute. Then, pour the hot water into the bowl with the matcha powder.
Step 4) Whisk your tea to combine it. Your whisking style will vary according to your personal preference. Some matcha drinkers like using an M or W shaped motion, while others prefer a gentle, circular motion.
Step 5) Pour your matcha into a teacup. The resulting liquid should be foamy and very green. Over time, the powder will settle at the bottom of the cup.
Traditionally, matcha is consumed without milk or sugar. However, new matcha drinkers (and even some experienced drinkers) may prefer drinking matcha with ice to give it a creamy, more palatable sweetness.
Eating Matcha as a Food
Matcha is more than just a tea. You can also add it to your food. It’s a popular additive to both sweet and savory dishes. You can find recipes for matcha muffins, brownies, and puddings online, as well as matcha soup and even matcha guacamole.
How to Buy Matcha
Matcha is widely available at health food stores and online retailers. Amazon, for example, sells a 113 gram package of organic matcha for about $25. Retailers like Swanson Vitamins sell a similar 50 gram powder package for $4.19 online.
Ideally, the matcha you buy will be certified organic. This ensures it comes from a trusted source committed to purity.
However you choose to consume it, matcha has proven health benefits and has been popular in Asia for centuries. Today, matcha is becoming more popular throughout the western world.