New health food trends, I love them! We’ve had acai, chia, kombucha and now matcha! I’m sure everyone has heard the buzz about the ‘new’ powered, green tea that has definite superfood status and I’m eager to try it and to find out what people actually think about this variety of tea.
I am a huge tea drinker, not so much your standard black tea, I like white, fruit and herbal varieties. I find them so much more refreshing and beneficial than a cup of Assam or Oolong. I drink green tea occasionally but find it can be really bitter and drying sometimes. Apparently the same can be said of Matcha, and is often served with a sweetener or milk.
So, what is matcha I hear you cry……
Well, Matcha and standard green tea both come from the Camellia sinensis plant, which is native to China, however, Matcha is grown differently to standard green tea as the bushes are covered for about a month prior harvest, to prevent contact direct sunlight.
The shade stimulates an increase in chlorophyll levels, which turns the leaves a darker shade of green and increases the production of amino acids. It’s these amino acids that create matchas high levels of antioxidants, on average one cup of matcha, made from half a teaspoon of powder, generally has the equivalent of about 3 cups of standard green tea.
After harvesting, the stems and veins are removed from the leaves. They are then ground into a fine, bright green powder, known as matcha. Because the whole leaf powder is ingested, instead of just water infused through the tea leaves, matcha is also higher in caffeine than standard green tea. One cup of matcha, again, made from half a teaspoon of powder, generally contains about 35 mg of caffeine. This is slightly more than a cup of regular green tea.
Like most tea varieties matcha can be very beneficial to your health, most of its health benefits stem from its levels of antioxidants as these are such a powerful weapon against free radicals in the body. Studies have also shown that consuming matcha (as well as other teas) can reduce the risk of heart disease, aid weightloss, encourage relaxation, and (somewhat contradictory) can increase alertness.
Matcha is usually served in the traditional Japanese way using a bamboo spoon, called a shashaku, to measure it out in to a heated cup called a chawan. 2 ounces of boiling water is then added and it’s whisked using a bamboo whisk called a chasen until it becomes smooth and frothy on top. However, having done a quick search on both Google and WordPress a lot of people are discovering matcha not only in its traditional form but introducing it in to their diets in many exciting and unique ways. Below are a few examples of people getting creative with matcha 🙂