- How To Use Matcha Powder in Everyday Foods
- Why are people going crazy over matcha?
- What exactly is matcha powder?
- How to Use Matcha Powder in Your Daily Diet
- The Ultimate Guide to Cooking with Matcha
- Shopping Cart
- Does green tea help weight loss?
- What are the other matcha health benefits?
- Should You Drink Matcha Tea?
- What is matcha tea?
- What are matcha tea benefits?
- How does matcha compare to green tea?
- Thank you!
- What does matcha taste like?
- Should you be concerned about lead in matcha tea?
- How do you make matcha tea?
- Are there side effects from matcha tea?
- What Exactly Is Matcha and Why Is Everyone Talking About It?
- How Is Matcha Tea Different?
- What Does Matcha Tea Taste Like?
- What Are the Health Benefits of Matcha Tea?
- Does Quality Matter?
- 3 Ways to Choose A Good Matcha Tea
- When Should You Drink Matcha?
- Final Word: Should You Try Matcha Tea?
How To Use Matcha Powder in Everyday Foods
You’ve probably heard of matcha, a type of green tea that has been around since the 12th century, but only recently gained significant popularity. Matcha-infused recipes have become the trend nowadays. But what exactly is this bitter, green powder, and what can it do for your health and diet? Read on to find out why matcha green tea deserves all the hype that it gets.
Why are people going crazy over matcha?
It’s simple, Matcha is good for you. The 21st century has been fueled by a major push to include healthier food, consuming more water, and being more active in our daily lives. Matcha fits right in! It was traditionally used in meditation and medicine because of its health benefits.
What exactly is matcha powder?
A cousin to green tea, Matcha powder is actually grown from the same plant. To produce matcha leaves, which later will be dried and finely ground, the green tea plants are moved to shade for the last 4 weeks before harvest and the stems and veins are removed before processing leaving only the nutrient rich leaves behind.
Health Properties Include:
- Rich in antioxidants, which are known to protect against heart disease and cancer
- It regulates blood sugar and reduces blood pressure
- Boosts metabolism
- Has anti-aging properties
How to Use Matcha Powder in Your Daily Diet
If you have never used matcha powder before, try these seven ways of getting more matcha in your diet.
1. Make matcha tea. The traditional preparation of matcha is a simple green tea. To make matcha tea, simply combine two teaspoons of matcha with hot water in a mug and stir to dissolve. Many like to add a sweetener like honey or agave to combat the bitter flavor of raw matcha powder.
2. Put it in your baked goods. As it is powder, matcha can be easily incorporated into baked goods like muffins, scones, healthy cookies, and more. Replace a small amount of flour with matcha powder. Try making matcha pancakes or waffles for breakfast. The powder will color your baked goods green, which can be fun for kids or for special occasions.
3. Mix it in your morning oatmeal or bowl of granola. One of the easiest ways to add matcha to your diet is to simply stir some into your breakfast.
4. Use matcha noodles. Find premade matcha noodles (or look up recipes to make your own) to use in soups, noodle salads, or other fun recipes for a unique and healthy meal.
5. Give a boost to your green smoothie. It’s already green, so why not make it greener? Adding a few teaspoons of matcha powder to your green smoothie recipe will make it even healthier and enhance the flavor. You may even feel an energy boost as matcha contains natural caffeine.
6. Make a matcha latte. Place a few teaspoons of matcha powder into a cup. Fill about a quarter of your cup with hot water, then top the rest off with steamed milk (try non-dairy options like almond or coconut milk if you prefer).
7. Put it on your popcorn. If you are looking for a fun and healthy snack for movie night, sprinkle a little matcha powder onto your popcorn.
Get started taking advantage of the many health benefits of matcha today. Buy it here to experiment with different recipes to find your favorite. Matcha powder can be included in almost any meal, so it is easy to start a new healthy habit with this powerful super food.
The Ultimate Guide to Cooking with Matcha
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Unless you’re living under a hermetically sealed rock in the Baltics, you know that matcha, the shade-grown green tea powder popular in Japanese tea ceremonies, has captured the imagination of the American market. Consumed mostly as a brewed iced or hot drink and alternative to coffee, matcha is flaring up regularly on cocktail and dessert menus. The matcha market is expected to near a staggering $5 billion by 2025, but it’s not only the drink and desert category that green tea and matcha are looking to encroach on. With a roasty, earthy flavor profile and numerous health benefits, green tea—and its trendy spawn, matcha—have chefs contemplating savory applications too.
Beyond an earthy, slightly sweet flavor, Instagram-friendly vibrant green hue, and healthy dose of caffeine, matcha is one of the most widely consumed antioxidants, containing more free-radical-fighting chlorophyll than traditionally brewed green tea. Drinking matcha is known to improve brain function and lower the risks of certain cancers, while providing alertness with few reports of the jitters associated with coffee.
As popular as matcha and green tea have become here with yogis and yachters alike, it’s consumed at an astoundingly higher clip in Asia. With this thousands-year-old cat out of the bag, it’s perhaps no surprise that chefs, like Rachmat Ridwan Hakim, who heads up Blue Matcha Kitchen and Art at the Blue Karma Oasis on the popular destination of Bali, Indonesia, has been working the green tea powder into recipes for a full matcha menu, launched earlier this year. Hakim, originally from West Java and trained in molecular gastronomy, shared some of his inspiration, technique, and recipes for cooking with matcha and green tea.
There are several basic ways to use matcha and/or green tea in savory cooking. Matcha, a ground green tea powder made from pulverized shade-grown green tea leaves, can be used in the way any spice would be or added to spice mixtures. Matcha can also be brewed and incorporated into savory recipes in its liquid form as a broth, base for a sauce, or mixed into marinades. Hakim cautions that matcha flavor can be overpowering in some recipes, and not all brands are processed with the same intensity, so first-timers incorporating the green tea powder into unfamiliar dishes should do so carefully.
How to Brew the Perfect Hot Matcha
- Use roughly 10 ounces of hot water for every teaspoon of matcha powder
- Ensure the matcha is finely sifted into a cup or bowl
- Slowly add the correct amount of just barely boiling water
- Whisk vigorously until the liquid is frothy and has no trace of matcha powder
Matcha as a Dry Ingredient and Seasoning
Because matcha is produced into a fine green tea powder, you can use it as one would any spice, simply dusting it over crepes and other dishes, as Hakim does with several menu items at Blue Matcha Kitchen and Art. The powder can also be added to other seasoning mixes and blends. It plays especially well with other earthy, nutty spices like nutmeg and cardamom, or subtly sweet ingredients like coconut.
As a dry ingredient, matcha can be easily added to blended smoothies, shakes, and breakfast bowls for an instant added boost of green tea flavor and antioxidant properties. It can also be mixed into flour, and added with other dry ingredients to baked goods like cakes and bread.
Blue Karma Oasis
Matcha In Sauces and Risotto
One of Blue Matcha Art and Dining’s most exciting dishes (and uses of matcha) is a smoked pork belly with paprika and soy, served over matcha and sliced almond risotto. Hakim first brews matcha as he normally would with hot water whisked into a few teaspoons of matcha powder to ensure a smooth creaminess, and then incorporates it slowly into the risotto as you would chicken stock.
Blue Karma Oasis
Matcha can be incorporated into sauces both sweet and savory. “The trick,” says Hakim, “is to brew a smooth and creamy matcha first” so as not to be left with any residual grainy bits of matcha powder. From there it is easy to whisk matcha into recipes, sauces, curries, marinades, and more.
Brewed matcha can make for a flavorful broth in soups like Japanese ramen and traditional chicken soup. A great option for vegans and vegetarians, the green tea flavors goes especially well with other Asian ingredients like soy, ginger, and coconut milk. If the matcha flavor is too strong on its own, matcha or green tea can be cut with a traditional chicken or vegetable broth.
At Blue Matcha Kitchen and Art, Hakim creates a whimsical matcha jelly by mixing green tea matcha powder with water and gelatin and letting it set. Though firm to the touch, the visually unique jelly cubes melt in your mouth and add a creamy earthiness to salads, parfaits, and desserts.
Blue Karma Oasis
Looking to add more antioxidant-rich green tea or matcha to your routine? If you can’t make it to Bali and Blue Matcha Kitchen and Art, may we suggest some of our favorite recipes to try at home?
Raspberry Matcha Muffins
The tartness of raspberry and the earthy sweetness of matcha are a winning combination and calls for almond flour for all your gluten-free guys and gals. Serve/eat them warm with some homemade whipped cream for best results. Get our Raspberry Matcha Muffins recipe.
Green Matcha Chicken Curry with Lime
Fine Dining Lovers
Matcha’s sweetness blends perfectly with the heat of this green curry. If not brewing the matcha first make sure the powder is VERY finely ground as not to create lumps and clumps in the sauce. Get the Green Matcha Chicken Curry with Lime recipe.
Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream Sandwich with Vegan Ginger Molasses Cookies
These ice cream sandwiches have to be one of the fastest ways to make friends. As pretty on the eye as they are delicious when eaten with unusual flavors that go perfectly together. Get our Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream Sandwich with Vegan Ginger Molasses Cookies recipe.
Green Tea Ramen Soup
A Mindful Mom
This is the ultimate flu-flighting soup. With green tea, garlic, ginger, and vegetables all in one vitamin-packed recipe. Substitute matcha but adjust for the intensified flavor of the broth. Get the Green Tea Ramen Soup recipe.
Matcha and Pistachio Crusted Cod
Dishing out Health
As Chef Hakim mentions, matcha pairs especially well with nuts. Pistachio and the green tea powder team up for a unique crust or fresh cod, halibut or your favorite white fish. Serve alongside sautéed greens or a fresh salad. Get the Matcha and Pistachio Crusted Cod recipe.
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Most mornings, I like to start my day with a Matcha Gree Tea. It’s my go-to health tonic which simply combines Healthy Chef Matcha and hot water into an emerald green elixir that is full of antioxidants and makes me feel energised for the busy day ahead.
When I get to work, I’ll often make a hot pumpkin seed milk matcha latte or matcha infused protein-rich smoothie, which is so creamy and dessert-like it’s hard to believe it is for breakfast! This smoothie satisfies my cravings and keeps my blood sugars stable so I don’t crave anything sweet during the day.
Unlike regular green tea where you steep green tea leaves, Organic Ceremonial-Grade Matcha is a more potent and concentrated form of green tea. It is made from the leaves of a young green tea plant that are hand-picked, steamed, dried and ground into a fine green powder. When you make it, you mix the powder with hot water so, essentially, you are drinking the entire leaf.
Matcha has the ability to boost your immunity, control your stress and assist with weight loss all from one simple drink.
Matcha works as a fat blocker. A compound in matcha called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) has been shown to boost metabolism and stop the growth of fat cells. EGCG is an antioxidant catechin abundant in green tea. EGCG is also found in black teas and oolong tea.
Matcha tea is my smart swap for coffee and milky lattes, which can often play with my blood sugar, leading to weight gain, especially during the winter months when I’m craving more warming drinks. A 2005 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that participants who drank catechin-rich green tea daily dropped almost twice as much weight in 12 weeks as participants who didn’t.
LONGER – LASTING ENERGY
Since matcha tea has both regular caffeine and also the amino acid theanine, it produces a relaxed but alert mental state, boosting alpha waves in the brain. These alpha waves provide a pleasant clarity, so your energy boost is sustained over time.
Unlike regular green tea where you steep green tea leaves, matcha is more potent and concentrated form of green tea. Matcha is made from the leaves of a young green tea plant that are hand-picked, steamed, dried and ground into a fine green powder.
To obtain all its benefits, choose Healthy Chef Ceremonial Grade Organic Matcha. Ceremonial Grade Organic Matcha is high in antioxidants and recognised as the highest quality matcha tea in the world as it uses the young leaves of the green tea plant.
THE TEA EVERY WOMAN SHOULD DRINK
One amazing benefit of Matcha Green Tea is its ability to gently support weight loss. According to a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, consuming green tea increased thermogenesis, that is, the body’s rate of burning calories, from 8-10% to 35-43% of daily energy expenditure. The researchers concluded that green tea may play a role in the control of body composition because of its high catechin polyphenol content and thermogenic properties.
Consuming green tea increased thermogenesis, that is, the body’s rate of burning calories, from 8-10% to 35-43% of daily energy expenditure.
Another study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that green tea with caffeine significantly lowered body mass index (BMI), body weight and weight circumference compared to caffeine-free green tea. This is because the decaffeination process significantly reduces the amount of the flavanols and antioxidants that can assist with weight management.
THE REMARKABLE EGCG COMPOUND
Matcha is an excellent source of the polyphenol, EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which is a plant-based compound with powerful antioxidant properties. Matcha contains significantly higher levels of EGCG than regular green tea, increasing its metabolism boosting and thermogenic effects in the body.
In fact, according to a recent review published in Molecules, EGCG has been shown to have beneficial effects against obesity. This is because EGCG has been found to have the highest biological activity among green tea molecules.
Matcha is an excellent source of the polyphenol, EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which is a plant-based compound with powerful antioxidant properties. It’s my ultimate solution to shredding body fat and feeling energised all day.
More specifically, in a randomised, double-blind trial, 115 women with central obesity were randomly assigned to either a high-dose green tea extract group or a placebo group. Those treated with a high dose of green tea extract for 12 weeks resulted in significant weight loss, reduced waist circumference, and decreased plasma levels of total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein.
Of course, matcha isn’t a replacement for an unhealthy diet, but it’s a natural way to raise your metabolism and gently support weight loss. Personally, I love a hot cup of Healthy Chef Matcha Green Tea to start my day – it’s such an energising drink that gets me going. I also love to enjoy a few cups during the day as it boosts my concentration and keeps me alert for when I’m on a hectic schedule.
HOW TO MAKE TRADITIONAL MATCHA TEA
To make matcha the traditional way, I like to heat filtered water to about 80°C – not quite boiling. Then combine 1 cup of the water with a small scoop of Matcha (about 1/2 teaspoon). Whisk the powder using a bamboo whisk in a ‘W’ shape until you have a bit of foam then sip slowly and enjoy.
Personally, I love a hot cup of Healthy Chef Matcha Green Tea to start my day – it’s such an energising drink that gets me going. I enjoy matcha about one to three cups a day (and if you’re sensitive to caffeine, I recommend to stop by 2 P.M. so it won’t interfere with your sleep). Matcha has become a part of my life – a part of my daily wellness routine and I love how it makes me feel.
Does green tea help weight loss?
Share on PinterestGreen tea is thought to aid weight loss by boosting the body’s metabolism.
The processes that allow the body to convert food and drink into usable energy are collectively known as the metabolism. Green tea may be beneficial for weight loss by helping the body’s metabolism to be more efficient.
Green tea contains caffeine and a type of flavonoid called catechin, which is an antioxidant. Research suggests that both of these compounds can speed up metabolism. Catechin can help to break down excess fat, while both catechin and caffeine can increase the amount of energy the body uses.
A review published in 2010 found that green tea supplements, containing catechins or caffeine, had a small but positive impact on weight loss and weight management.
A more recent review investigated the clinical use of green tea to stimulate weight loss in people who were overweight or obese. While it found green tea to have a positive impact on weight loss, the result was not significant, and the authors concluded that it was unlikely to be of clinical importance.
There is a theoretical basis to the benefit of green tea for weight loss, and some empirical evidence has been found to support these claims outside of clinical settings.
However, research studies in this area tend to use doses that contain a higher proportion of catechin or caffeine than would be found in a typical cup of green tea.
It is important to note that any benefits of green tea for weight loss are likely to be very small. The impact of green tea is not as beneficial as other healthy weight loss methods, such as exercise, that have far greater metabolic benefits.
Regularly exercising and eating a healthful diet with plenty of vegetables are highly effective weight loss strategies. Green tea used alongside these methods may increase their positive results.
What are the other matcha health benefits?
The rich poly-phenol compounds found in matcha and other plant foods in your diet help lower the risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, osteoporosis and cancer; they also help keep your brain healthy as you age. And, plant polyphenols are often cited for their role in heart health; they fight against hardening of the arteries, known medically as “atherosclerosis,” according to a review published in the Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity journal in November 2009. Atherosclerosis causes arteries to narrow and become clogged, which may cause heart attack or stroke. Other ways polyphenols may protect your heart is by increasing good cholesterol, reducing inflammation, and improving circulation in your arteries by preventing your blood from clotting.
Furthermore, in another study published by the American Society of Clinical Nutrition, it was reported that frequent consumption of quality green tea enhances the efficiency of the human body in utilizing energy. The research showed that the daily energy expenditure rate of adults increases 35-45% with regular consumption of green tea. So matcha green tea actually can increase your body’s ability to burn energy by up to 45%!
There is a huge number of studies outlining similar findings that green tea – especially matcha – assists with weight loss and the prevention of weight gain.
It is important to buy matcha from a high quality source so it contains the full health benefits. Our matcha green tea powder is premium grade, from Japan and is both fresh and vibrant green. This ensures you are getting the maximum nutritional and antioxidant profile.
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Should You Drink Matcha Tea?
While green tea has long been a recommended part of a healthy diet, another brighter shade is becoming increasingly popular: matcha. Here’s what you should know about the beverage.
What is matcha tea?
Matcha is a type of green tea made by taking young tea leaves and grinding them into a bright green powder. The powder is then whisked with hot water. This is different from regular green tea, where the leaves are infused in water, then removed. Drinking brewed green tea “is a bit like boiling spinach, throwing away the spinach and just drinking the water,” says Louise Cheadle, co-author of The Book of Matcha and co-owner of the tea company teapigs. “You will get some of the nutrients, but you’re throwing away the best bit.” With matcha, you’re drinking the whole tea leaves.
Matcha leaves are grown on green tea bushes kept under shade. The shade increases the amount of chlorophyll content in the leaves, which is what makes them bright green and full of nutrients. The leaves are picked by hand and the stems and veins are removed. According to Cheadle, the leaves are traditionally ground by granite stones into a super fine powder. “It takes an hour to grind the leaves, and it’s done in the dark to protect the nutrients,” she says.
“The finest matcha comes from Japan, where it has been grown for centuries and forms part of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony,” she adds.
What are matcha tea benefits?
Matcha, like other green teas, contains a class of antioxidants called catechins. Matcha is high in a catechin called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which is believed to have cancer-fighting effects on the body. Studies have linked green tea to a variety of health benefits, like helping to prevent heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer, and even encouraging weight loss. However, it’s important to note that much of this research isn’t from clinical trials that show green tea causes a benefit. Instead, it’s largely from population-based studies, where researchers look at groups of people who drink green tea and compare their health outcomes to groups that don’t drink it. Studies have shown associations between tea and better health, but causation is not yet proven. Matcha is even less studied than brewed green tea.
Still, there have been some interesting findings. A 2014 study looked at 25 randomized controlled trials on the link between tea and blood pressure and reported that when people drank tea—especially green tea—for 12 weeks, their blood pressure dropped significantly. A 2011 study reported that drinking green tea appeared to be linked with lower levels of bad LDL cholesterol, but more research is needed. Because matcha is a type of green tea, they may share similar benefits, but there’s not enough research to make that claim.
How does matcha compare to green tea?
Both regular brewed green tea and matcha contain caffeine, but less than coffee or black tea. Matcha appears to contain more caffeine that regular brewed green tea.
It also appears to contain more EGCG. ConsumerLab.com, an independent testing group, tested matcha products in 2015 and found that matcha provided 17 mg to 109 mg of EGCG per serving. By comparison, the average brewed green tea provides 25 to 86 mg per serving. While matcha powders contained more catechins per gram than brewed green tea, it was substantially more expensive: The lowest cost matcha powder was available at the time for $2.31 for 200mg of EGCG, compared to 27 cents for the same amount from brewed green tea. Compared to the powders, matcha in tea bags provides significantly less EGCG.
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“Part of the whole aura is that it’s an experience,” says Dr. Tod Cooperman, the president of ConsumerLab.com. “But you are paying a premium for that nice experience.”
What does matcha taste like?
“A good quality matcha is bright green and smooth. An average matcha will be yellow and grainy to touch—the tougher leaves of the tea bush,” says Cheadle. The quality of leaves impacts the taste. “A good matcha will not taste bitter at all; there will be a slightly sweet taste.”
Should you be concerned about lead in matcha tea?
Lead in green tea has been a concern. “Green tea is like a sponge for lead, ” says Cooperman. “It’s not surprising we have found over the years reasonably high levels in green tea.”
But ConsumerLab.com’s testing has found that even if lead is found in the leaves used in green tea bags, it doesn’t appear to be absorbed into the water. Cooperman says his team was concerned about lead content in matcha, because people consume the ground green tea leaves directly rather than in bags. However, their testing showed that among the six popular matcha brands they tested—DoMatcha, Encha Organic Matcha, Rishi Teahouse Matcha, Teavana Imperial Matcha, Kirkland Signature Green Tea and The Republic of Tea Double Green Matcha Tea—the powders were not contaminated by lead or other metals, and also did not contain pesticides. As of now, Cooperman says he doesn’t believe lead exposure is a risk in the matcha currently sold in the United States.
“You can ingest without worrying,” says Cooperman. “We haven’t tested every brand out there, but the premium brands we have tested have been clean.”
How do you make matcha tea?
Matcha powder and hot water should be whisked together. It’s recommended that you use a tea strainer to sift the matcha into a bowl to avoid clumps. Then, add warm water and whisk it. (Traditionally this is done with a called a bamboo whisk called a chasen.) The whisking creates a foamy tea that can be poured into your cup. Some people add the powder to other hot liquids, like milk, to make a bright green latte. Here’s a video of how to make traditional matcha tea.
Cheadle says she brings powders with her so she can shake it into a drink like water or a smoothie. It can also be added to other foods, like breads and pastries, for its color and flavor.
Are there side effects from matcha tea?
Drinking green tea and matcha are considered healthy and safe, but people sensitive to caffeine should be aware that both contain decent amounts of the stimulant. In 2016, the World Health Organization also linked the consumption of hot drinks, like coffee and tea, to a higher risk of cancer of the esophagus. However, the risk is much lower than the risk of cancer from other causes, like smoking.
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What Exactly Is Matcha and Why Is Everyone Talking About It?
Meet matcha, the current darling of the tea world. This finely milled green tea powder — the staple ingredient upon which traditional Japanese tea ceremonies were built in the 12th century — has seen a surge in popularity recently thanks to its visual appeal, purported health benefits, and beautiful, distinct flavor. Matcha is essentially processed green tea leaves that have been stone-ground into a delicate powder. The powder is then sifted and whisked with hot water. Because of the laborious process required to produce matcha, the tea is generally pricier than others.
Matcha leaves are grown in a number of places and, in fact, the practice of milling tea leaves into a fine powder and then whisking in water originated in China around the 10th century. But, the best matcha comes from Japan and the most popular growing regions are in the southern half of the country: Uji, Nishio, Shizuoka, and Kyushu. What most distinguishes matcha from other green teas is that matcha bushes are covered for up to
…The best matcha comes from Japan and the most popular growing regions are in the southern half of the country…
20 days prior to harvest to shade the leaves from direct sunlight. This is done to boost the plants’ chlorophyll levels (which turns the leaves a darker, vibrant shade of green), and increase the production of L-Theanine, an amino acid that occurs naturally in the tea plant and certain types of mushrooms. Notice how tea has a tendency to both calm and stimulate at the same time? That’s thanks to L-Theanine.
Workers only pick the best buds, and depending on whether the leaves are rolled out flat before drying or whether they are laid out to dry will result in two different green teas. If the leaves are rolled out they become a premium green tea named Gyokuro, while the leaves that are laid out to dry become Tencha. Tencha is the leaf used for making matcha. Once the leaf is de-veined, de-stemmed, and stone-ground it becomes the fine powder known as matcha.
In contrast to contemporary matcha culture (it’s as easy as grabbing a green tea latte from a nearby Starbucks), traditionally, Japanese tea ceremonies (called chanoyu) centered around the preparation and offering of matcha. Where everything counts. From the beautiful hand-painted matcha bowls made by local artisans to the art of serving and receiving the tea.
Matcha is usually made in two forms: usucha and koicha. Usucha translates to “thin tea,” and is the most common preparation. Generally what cafes and restaurants serve. Koicha is “thick tea.” It’s made with half the amount of water and twice the amount of matcha powder as usucha. Instead of quickly whisking, the tea is gently kneaded using the chasen or bamboo whisk. The result is a very thick (imagine the texture of paint) tea. Koicha is usually prepared during traditional tea ceremonies and is made from the highest quality of matcha powder. As compared to usucha which is made from the second highest grade of matcha powder. And the matcha powders used to make usucha and koicha can’t be simply interchanged.
To prepare usucha, matcha powder is sifted into a bowl and whisked with hot water until frothy. The entire tea leaf is consumed in contrast to “regular” tea, which is a brewed beverage of processed tea leaves steeped in hot water. Matcha is also tea. But instead of a brew, it is a suspension. The matcha powder is whisked and suspended in the water. Let that bowl of matcha sit for too long and it will separate unlike a brewed/steeped beverage.
Equipment is an essential part of the experience and key to making great matcha. Start with a chawan, the tea bowl which is used to make and drink the matcha. Also necessary is chashaku, a traditional bamboo tea spoon used to scoop the matcha into the chawan. Also important, the chasen, and a tea sifter to break up all the clumps, which develop because of static in the matcha powder.
The flavor of matcha depends on the quality of powder used and the region from which it comes.
Start by using the chashaku. Sift a teaspoon of matcha powder into a chawan. Gently pour in three ounces of 175°F water. Using a chasen, whisk rapidly in an MW/zig-zag motion until frothy. The result is a hot, frothy (the goal is to get only small bubbles on the surface, not big ones) concoction that is all at once sweet and grassy, occasionally with a hint of bitterness. The flavor of matcha depends on the quality of powder used and the region from which it comes. Some prefer matcha that is a touch sweeter, others might prefer a more umami-rich matcha. There are clear distinctions between good and bad quality matcha (powder that tastes unpleasantly bitter), but once a powder is in the realm of good and above, it’s primarily about personal taste preference.
In addition to drinking matcha both warm and cold, there’s no shortage of creative uses for the powder: infused into cocktails, whipped into lattes, dusted atop savory dishes, and mixed into any number of sweets from macarons to mochi, and cakes to doughnuts. The naturally sweet, grassy notes adapt well to food and drink making it a memorable flavor to showcase in a wide range of creations.
Matcha has also recently been making waves in the health and beauty sectors because the green tea leaves are believed to be high in antioxidants. Regular steeped green tea is considered healthy because the leaves contain antioxidants, but water can only extract a small about of the leaves’ nutritional properties. In the case of matcha, one consumes the entire leaf, making it exponentially more healthful.
Matcha consumed in America is done so in a causal way. But keep in mind the traditional Japanese tea ceremony from which the matcha ritual stems. At its root is the notion of mindfulness and ichi-go ichi-e (“one time, one meeting”), the idea that every encounter is unique and can never be reproduced. In terms of drinking tea, this means that each particular occasion and experience, each cup of matcha, can never be replicated and should thus be treasured.
Is matcha tea good for you? How is it different than other green teas? And are some types of matcha better than others? Get answers and discover some incredible health benefits of drinking matcha tea.
Edited by Ocean Robbins • A version of this article was originally published on Pique Tea.
Matcha tea comes from the same plant that originates all green, white, and black teas: the camellia sinensis bush. The name “matcha” literally means “powdered tea.”
The process of turning tea leaves into a powder is not new. Matcha was the primary way to consume tea in China during the Tang Dynasty (600-900 AD).
In the 1100s, a huge transfer of knowledge and culture from China to Japan occurred, and that’s how matcha made its way across the ocean. Matcha and Zen Buddhism flourished together, and the two were often considered inseparable.
By the 1500s, matcha took hold as part of the formal Japanese tea ceremony, which celebrated stillness and simplicity. It grew in popularity in Japan, even as it lost its appeal in China.
How Is Matcha Tea Different?
We know tea may be the world’s healthiest beverage — and green tea seems to be the most healthful of all. But what makes matcha special?
The matcha process begins while the green tea leaves are still growing. The plants are shaded before harvesting to increase chlorophyll and amino acid content (particularly L-theanine) and to improve the appearance and flavor of the tea. This gives matcha its brilliant green color.
A cup of matcha has about three times the antioxidants of regular green tea.
Once the leaves are harvested, steamed, dried, and blended, they are ground up into a fine powder that you mix into hot or cold water.
The result? You’re actually drinking the entire tea leaf! With traditional green tea, in comparison, you’re only drinking the dissolvable elements that the leaves infuse into the water.
So matcha can give you the health benefits of green tea, and then some! In fact, a cup of matcha has about three times the antioxidants of regular green tea.
What Does Matcha Tea Taste Like?
Most people find typical matcha teas have a strong, grassy flavor — similar to wheatgrass or even spinach.
But premium matcha teas have balanced flavors, with layers of unfolding creaminess, umami, fresh-cut grass, and roasted notes.
What Are the Health Benefits of Matcha Tea?
Why might you want to drink matcha?
Here are six science-backed benefits you may get from sipping matcha:
1. Matcha Supports Heart Health
Green tea catechins contribute to a healthy cardiovascular system. And matcha is the most potent type of green tea.
A 2001 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the catechins from tea may reduce the risk of heart disease mortality.
And a 2009 study published in Stroke found that drinking three cups of green (or black) tea every day could prevent stroke.
There’s also a link between green tea and healthy cholesterol levels. A comprehensive analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2011 concluded that green tea resulted in significant reductions in LDL cholesterol (the bad type of cholesterol).
Plus the powerful antioxidants found in green tea, especially EGCG, have shown to be helpful in maintaining healthy arteries.
2. Matcha Prevents Cell Damage
Studies have shown that drinking matcha regularly reduces the damage caused by free radicals.
This has anti-aging implications plus it’s excellent news for building a stronger immune system!
3. Matcha Supports Brain Health
Studies show that consuming matcha can help support healthy cognitive function.
Researchers in a 2014 study published in the journal Nutrients found that green tea consumption may be effective in improving cognitive function and reducing the progression of cognitive dysfunction. Participants drank green tea powder every day for three months.
In another 2017 study published in Food Research International on healthy adults, those who consumed matcha demonstrated better performance in reaction time, memory, and attention when compared with a group given a placebo.
4. Matcha Supports Healthy Metabolism
It turns out that matcha may help you lose weight by increasing your metabolism and helping you burn more fat.
In one fascinating 2005 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that regularly drinking matcha can result in an increase in your body’s rate of thermogenesis (the rate at which you burn calories) from 8-10% (without matcha) to 35-43% (with it)!
That same study also showed the possibility of a significant reduction in body fat from drinking matcha.
In a 2018 study published in Human Kinetics, women drank a cup of matcha before a 30-minute brisk walk. Scientists learned that consuming the matcha tea led to an increase in how much fat broke down and turned into energy during the walk.
5. Matcha Helps Improve Mood and Mental Focus
Matcha contains higher levels of amino acids (the building blocks of protein) than any other tea. And it turns out to be highest in one of the most prized amino acids, L-theanine.
What does L-theanine do for you? It can put you in a calm and meditative state.
The effect of drinking matcha is commonly described as “relaxed alertness” because caffeine helps the brain focus and stay alert while L-theanine helps it relax.
L-theanine is also why the caffeine in tea may not give you the same jitters as the caffeine in coffee does. It acts as a complement to caffeine, balancing the jitters or anxiety you might typically feel, while still providing you with calm energy.
While all green tea contains L-theanine, the levels found in matcha are unmatched. Most green teas have four milligrams of L-theanine per serving, but matcha has 20 milligrams!
Fun fact: One of the earliest uses of matcha was as an aid to the meditation practice of Japanese monks. Drinking matcha would help them sit alert and calm for hours on end.
Even if you’re not big on meditating, most of us could do with a little more calm alertness.
6. Matcha Assists in Detoxification
Chlorophyll, the chemical responsible for the lovely green color in plants, is a proven aid in detoxification. It helps flush away heavy metals, toxins, and chemicals from your body.
Because matcha tea leaves are shade-grown they gain higher levels of chlorophyll than other green teas, making matcha the most potent source of chlorophyll.
Does Quality Matter?
Here are five tangible benefits of high-quality matcha teas:
- The holy grail for great matcha is umami flavor. Umami flavor comes from the high amino acid content. So if you’re tasting a lot of umami — the savory flavor of foods such as miso, shiitake mushrooms, and the highest quality soy sauces — you’re probably getting a potent dose of amino acids, including calming L-theanine. Highly regarded tea cultivators use a specific method for increasing umami: They shade the tea leaves before harvest to prevent photosynthesis while overfeeding the plants with nutrients. This enables tea plants to produce and keep a higher level of amino acids, which increases umami flavor.
- The best matcha teas come from the first flush or the first pick of leaves in the year during the spring. This is when plants have been resting all winter and produce the most nutrient dense and flavorful leaves filled with chlorophyll, L-theanine, and catechins. Lower grade matcha teas are harvested in the summer and fall when plants are fatigued and leaves are less nutrient dense.
- Higher quality matcha teas are grown with fewer pesticides and fertilizers, even if they are not organic. (And this is a great place to go organic, too!) The last thing you want is to increase your exposure to toxins when you drink something you thought could benefit you.
- Better grinding techniques used to produce high-quality matcha teas generate less heat, which preserves more nutrients and antioxidants.
- Higher quality matcha teas also just taste better — they are less bitter and grassy. And if you enjoy the taste of something, you’re more likely to keep drinking it regularly, right?
Matcha is one of those things where, more often than not, you get what you pay for.
Because of the way leaves are grown, shaded, harvested and processed, the price of the matcha tea reflects the quality. After all, the harvest of high-quality matcha takes place only once each year.
So if you find inexpensive matcha, there’s a good chance that the leaves are of a lesser quality without proper processing — which means fewer health benefits. That doesn’t mean it’s not a good thing. But matcha is one of those things where, more often than not, you get what you pay for.
3 Ways to Choose A Good Matcha Tea
How do you decide which matcha tea is a good one to choose?
There are three main ways you can judge a matcha’s quality:
- Flavor — Due to the umami flavor (discussed above), quality matcha teas will have a harmony of creamy, savory, grassy, and roasted flavors.
- Color — What you want is a beautiful bright and vibrant green. If your matcha is on the yellow side, that means it’s of a lesser quality and comes from leaves harvested later in the year instead of during the spring.
- The Appearance of Froth — The traditional method of drinking matcha involves whisking it with a bamboo whisk to create a frothy foam. If the bubbles are large and irregular, this means the matcha powder is coarsely ground and of lesser quality. The highest quality matcha, on the other hand, is finely ground and creates foam made of tiny, uniform bubbles when whisked with skill.
When Should You Drink Matcha?
Due to its caffeine content, morning or afternoon is the best time to consume matcha.
People with sensitive stomachs might experience discomfort when drinking matcha on an empty stomach. If you are one of these people, you might have better results if you wait until after you’ve had breakfast or lunch to drink your matcha.
Final Word: Should You Try Matcha Tea?
No food or beverage, no matter how many benefits medical studies may find, is right for everyone at all times. Matcha contains caffeine, and not everyone responds well to caffeine. If you find that it doesn’t work for you — no problem. You’ll find some other fabulous, health-boosting beverages, here.
But for many people, quality matcha is worth a try. You can take a little time out of your day to savor the experience and let yourself bask in the rich flavors and calming energy it brings.
After all, we can all enjoy a little bliss now and then.
Tell us in the comments:
- Do you drink matcha tea? What kinds do you enjoy?
- Have you noticed any health benefits from drinking matcha tea?
- Have you ever enjoyed a matcha ritual?
- 8 reasons why tea may be the world’s healthiest beverage