Matcha literally means “powdered tea” in Japanese. Here are some things you should know about matcha:
- Matcha is a unique form of green tea. The main difference between matcha and green tea is that with matcha, you are drinking the leaves because they are grinded into powder while for green tea, leaves are infused into hot water and will be discarded later. Matcha is also harvested differently because the tea plant is covered with cloth before they are harvested which promotes the leaves retaining deep flavors, textures, and nutrients.
- Matcha has a lot of health benefits because it is rich in antioxidants like polyphenols, which protects you from having heart disease and cancer, reduces blood pressure and promotes anti-aging; and another type of polyphenols called EGCG, that helps to boost metabolism and prevents cancer cells to develop further.
- Matcha contains caffeine, three times higher compare to a normal cup of tea. Matcha have a substance called l-theanine which induces relaxation. But don’t consume matcha at least six hours before you sleep to have a good night’s sleep.
- Matcha has been an integral part of Japanese tea ceremonies, a type of meditation. Meditation has been shown to decrease the stress hormone called cortisol, reduce blood pressure, and boost self-esteem and compassion.
- The flavor of matcha is strong, as people describe it as having a grass or spinach-like scent along with an umami taste. Some opt to buy sweetened versions of matcha but matcha experts don’t recommend this because it may affect the quality, freshness and pureness of matcha.
- Tea leaves contain lead even though they are grown organically. For matcha grinded from tea leaves, most of the lead isn’t fully removed from the product unlike green tea where the leaves are infused in water, hence less lead deposits are in the drink. Experts thus recommend drinking only a cup of matcha a day and to avoid serving it to children.
- Matcha is a very versatile ingredient and as you can see, many restaurants have been incorporating it into their menu. You can incorporate matcha in deserts like muffins, brownies and puddings, or in savory dishes.
Ultimately, you should only buy high quality organic matcha which ensures the flavor, freshness and consumption safety. Enjoy matcha, but always in moderation!