Over the past several years, Matcha has become very popular, and is now found in beverage shots, fancy lattes, and creative desserts. Matcha comes from the same plant as green tea. Matcha, however, is grown much differently that other green teas. Its vibrant color comes from the fact that it is grown in the shade. Covering the leaves before harvest preserves more chlorophyll and adds a bright green hue. This shade process makes the leaves softer, sweeter, and brighter. After harvest, the tea leaves are quickly stemmed, dried, and put into heated ovens. Once harvested, the leaves are stone ground into a fine bright green powder. Overall, a fascinating tea making process, that is different from any other green tea.
Matcha is very common in China and Japan. Tea ceremonies are often centered around the art of preparation and presentation, rather than consumption.
Matcha retains the nutrients and benefits of the entire tea leaf, outweighing traditional green tea that is in contrast, brewed in bags which are thrown out prior to consumption.
Matcha is on par with coffee when considering caffeine content, but the naturally occurring L-theanine in matcha lets you enjoy the energy boost without the jitters.
Matcha is full of antioxidants. In particular, a unique antioxidant called catechins has been shown to help prevent disease and aging and protect our immune system. Matcha is also rich in L-theanine, an amino acid that has shown to help with memory, learning, and relaxation.
A few ways to enjoy this bright green treasure is to whisk a teaspoon or 2 with almost boiling water or add it to your favorite milk type beverage: cow, goat, soy, oat, almond and so forth. Add it to your favorite smoothie, granola, or yogurt, just remember that a little goes a long way. A few tips on using matcha:
- It stays fresh for 8-9 months after purchase.
- Its color should be bright green
- Remember to buy the powder form and not the regular tea bags.
In summary, Matcha is a wonderful source of nutrients and a delicious tasting, easy to make, caffeinated tea. Moderation is key and there is no single superfood that delivers all the health benefits. Allow yourself to explore new options, try this new twist on caffeine, but remember to focus on a super diet and not a single superfood. If you are feeling creative, explore some of the above beverages and make sure to check out our matcha green energy bite recipe for a healthy on the go snack.