What makes matcha tea so special?Matcha tea is a high-quality green tea that is covered before picking to accentuate the color, then stone-ground after being picked and before being sealed into small tins. Matcha tea is enjoyed in many ways. In Japan it is a very important part of the tea ceremony, and in both Asia and the West, people drink it because they like the taste and the ritual. Now some people are drinking it because of the reported health benefits.
The taste is strong and vegetal - some people would say spinachy, others would say grassy and with an umami character. This will also of course depend on the quality and source that you use. The tea used to make matcha tea is important; there are many cheaper imitations that use low-grade tea.
As with all teas, where you get it is important. You want to purchase your tea from an importer who moves through their stock so that you get fresh product. You should use about a teaspoon in a bowl with a third of a cup of hot water and heated to less than a boil. Then agitate it with a bamboo whisk and you are ready to drink it.
Some more articles on Matcha
Matcha Green Tea Benefits
Nutritional Benefits of Matcha Green TeaMany people know about the benefits of Green tea, but Matcha Green tea provides even more health benefits. Some of the advantages of Matcha tea over other teas include:
- rich in nutrients
- very high in antioxidants (higher than blueberries, gojiberries, pomegranates, orange juice, and spinach)
- contains fiber
- High in chlorophyll
- Sugar-free (great for diabetics or people who enjoy low sugar diets)
|Nutrient||Per 1g Matcha|
|Total Amino Acids||34 mg|
|Vitamin A||291 units|
How Matcha Green Tea achieves it’s high antioxidant and nutrient count
Matcha Green tea, like all other types of traditional tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. In fact all black tea, oolong tea, green tea and white tea are made from the Camellia sinensis plant however different harvesting and preparation is used to make Matcha tea VERY high in anti oxidants and nutrients
Matcha Green tea is produced only in Japan. The rich green color is achieved by shading the tea bush before harvesting which causes them to turn a rich green color and become filled with chlorophyll. After the leaves are harvested they are steamed and then air dried. Keep in mind that when producing Matcha tea everything is done by hand. After the tea leaves are harvested and dried they are hand sorted depending on the grade. The leaves are then de-stemmed and de-veined.
Once the leaves have reached this stage they are known as tencha, the tencha is then ground by stone into a fine powder which you know as Matcha. There are different grades of Matcha, the tea grade Matcha is ground by stone into a fine powder however the industrial grade tea is ground by machine. The stone grinding will produce a different shaped powder which has an impact on the texture and taste.
Health Benefits of Drinking Matcha Green TeaNow that you know what is in Matcha tea it will be easier to understand the Matcha green tea health benefits. I will outline some of the most noteable benefits of drinking matcha tea below.
High antioxidant count – If you watch Oprah or any health show, or read any health magazine you should have heard of the benefits of antioxidants. If not here is a quick summary for you “Antioxidants are substances that may protect your cells against the effects of free radicals. Free radicals are molecules produced when your body breaks down food, or by environmental exposures like tobacco smoke and radiation. Free radicals can damage cells, and may play a role in heart disease, cancer and other diseases” you can read more on the National institute of Medicine antioxidant page
Antioxidants are measured with ORAC or Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. The ORAC rating of matcha is 1300 units/g, compared to 105 units/g for pomegranates and 91 units/g for wild blueberries. Matcha green tea has a higher antioxidant count than any other super fruit including goji berries, acai, cranberries, raspberries or blueberries (plus it is a pleasure to drink in the morning)
EGCG – EGCG is the most abundant catechin in most notably tea (highest count in Matcha Green tea), among other plants, and is also a potent antioxidant that may have therapeutic properties for many disorders including cancer. EGCG has been reported to help prevent cancer, HIV, and other disorders, you can read more here
Amino acids – Amino acids are very important for the health and wellness of a person and play many roles in metabolism. One of the most important functions of amino acids is to act as the building block of proteins. Amino acids can link with other amino acids in different sequences to make up a number of different proteins. This helps the body get the proteins it needs and easily take them in and use them.
Other nutrients include fiber, Vitamin A, C and Potassium, you can see that just drinking a little bit of tea each day can help improve your health. Besides the nutrients there are also other health benefits of Matcha green tea.
Matcha Green tea is calming and aids in relaxationThe Japanese have been enjoying Matcha Green tea for many many years, possibly as far back as the year 1191. They drink Matcha tea because it helps them relax, as well as focus and achieve a deeper state of meditation. The Japanese drank it because it worked, but here in North America we need proof so we conducted studies. Studies show that Matcha green tea contains the highest amount of L-Theanine over any other type of green tea, and L-Theanine can be very helpful to aid in relaxation. Consider the results from this research paper
L-Theanine: How a Unique Anxiety Reducer and Mood Enhancer Increases Alpha Waves and Alertness