Updated: Aug 19, 2019
This shade-grown, Japanese green tea has become quite popular due to its many health benefits.
Matcha is the oldest variety of shade grown Japanese green tea ground into a very fine powder, and has been part of Zen Buddhist culture for over 800 years. In fact, matcha was even drunk by Buddhist monks to help them maintain focus and clarity during long periods of meditation. Not surprising, since matcha contains high amounts of L- theanines (natural amino acids) and theophylline, which are strongly believed to provide increased energy and mental clarity.
Matcha contains high amounts of L- theanines (natural amino acids) and theophylline, which are strongly believed to provide increased energy and mental clarity.
Matcha’s unique properties call for it to be prepared differently than other teas. Because it is a finely powdered tea, its tiny particles are dispersed throughout the water or other liquid it is mixed with rather than being infused, like regular tea leaves. This preparation method is what helps to make matcha so nutritious: because the entire tea leaf is consumed, you will take in 10 to 15 times the nutrients found in regular green teas.
Matcha green tea is the healthiest natural beverage known thus far, containing over 10-15 times the overall nutrients found in traditional black, green, oolong, white, rooibos, and yerba maté teas. Surprisingly, matcha has very high levels of nutrients when compared to many fruits and veggies as well.
Matcha contains the highest concentration of antioxidants compared to all known natural fruits and vegetables known thus far. The ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity) test is a scientifically controlled set of experiments developed by the USDA to determine the antioxidant potency of foods and beverages. Results for the latest ORAC tests have shown that one gram of matcha contains 1384 ORAC Units. At this level, matcha’s ORAC units are much higher than other antioxidant rich fruits’ and vegetables’ units.
With these benefits, no wonder the tea has become a go-to fave.
Use and preparation
Matcha can be used in a variety of recipes, from ice cream, to frappés, to chocolates, to scones. And, of course, matcha may be consumed straight, the traditional way, from a tea ceremony bowl (chawan) or a bowl of your choice.
For a traditional bowl of matcha tea, two small scoops using a curved bamboo teaspoon (called a chashaku) are placed into your teabowl. A small amount of slightly cooled boiled water is poured over the matcha, and using a bamboo whisk (chasen), a thick paste is made to remove any small clumps of powder. Once the paste is smooth, additional water (about 4 oz. or to taste) is poured into the bowl, and the tea is whipped to a frothy consistency. The tea is immediately drunk straight from the bowl in a few sips, because if left to sit, the suspended tea particles will eventually settle.
Prepare to be energized and refreshed!