Matcha tea is the new “in” drink. Its new-found popularity is well earned. Matcha provides all of the health benefits(confirmed and/or only suspected) of regular green leaf tea, but supercharged.
Why is Matcha tea different?
Matcha is made from the same leaves used for green, white, black and pu erh. The whole, fresh tea leaves are dried and then ground to a fine powder to make Matcha tea. All other varieties of tea require various degrees of steaming, fermenting and/or molding to produce. Matcha is much less processed. This all makes Matcha a great addition to every healthy whole food diet.
With Matcha, the tea contains 100% of the leaves, not just what dissolves out during the steeping process. The result is a cup of tea with more fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than regular leaf teas. Matcha provides up to three times the amount of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an important catechin in the polyphenol family.
The leaves selected for Matcha tea are partially shaded for a few weeks before they are picked and dried. Restricting the amount of sun induces more chlorophyll production. Chlorophyll has many proven health benefits. The shading also causes higher L-theanine production in the leaves, an amino acid associated with an alert but relaxed state of mind.
What are the benefits of Matcha tea?
Many studies have been done on various teas and almost all have shown health benefits for regular tea drinkers. Matcha tea multiplies the health benefits of leaf teas with its higher content of important nutrients. Some of the health benefits associated with regular tea drinking are: lower cholesterol, better regulation of blood sugar levels, lower incidence of heart disease and some cancers, and weight loss. Many also suspect overall lower levels of illness due to tea’s anti-viral qualities. Better mood and mental state is widely reported but not scientifically documented.
Is brewing Matcha tea different?
Brewing Matcha tea is not the same as brewing regular leaf teas. Matcha totally dissolves in the brewing water and does not need to be steeped. Hot, but not boiling, water should be used for Matcha to protect the antioxidants. 150-170 degrees is the ideal water temperature. Because Matcha is fresher and less processed, it has a much stronger flavor than leaf teas. Use only half to one teaspoon of Matcha powder per cup of tea.
Place the Matcha tea powder in a cup. Pour in the hot water. Mix well to dissolve, either with a traditional Japanese bamboo whisk made for the purpose or with an ordinary spoon. Drink immediately for best flavor.
Why do I like Matcha tea?
I first tried Matcha several years ago when a local natural foods store started stocking it. I was curious about how different a “ceremonial” tea would be and whether the higher price would be worth it. At the time, Emperor’s Gunpowder loose green tea was my favorite. My normal routine is to drink 3-4 cups of tea per day because I like tea and also for the health benefits. Variety is good and every day will be a mix of green, black and herbal varieties.
With its ease of brewing and great flavor, Matcha is now part of my every day tea rotation. It is very much worth the price, especially considering how little it takes to make a cup. I also like the lack of extra packaging and that no tea ball or filter is needed.