What is Matcha? Everything You Need to Know About It!
Lately, matcha is the trendy green tea that seems to be popping up all over the place. From health influencers to celebs, everyone seems to be obsessed with matcha tea!
But, what is matcha and what makes it so buzzworthy? Is it the flavor? The health benefits? Or is it simply the hype? In this blog post, we'll explore everything you need to know about matcha, so you can find the definitive answer to all these questions and decide by yourself if the trend is worth it or just another fail.
Keep reading to reveal all the secrets about this green tea!
What is matcha made of?
Matcha is a traditional Japanese green tea powder that is made from whole, ground tea leaves that come from the Camellia Sinensis plant. Unlike other types of tea, matcha is usually shade-grown, which allows the tea plants to grow more slowly and produce higher levels of chlorophyll production *aka the component that give matcha the vibrant green color*. These leaves are then handpicked and stone-ground into a fine powder using traditional stone mills.
Because this powder is made from whole green tea leaves, it contains higher levels of nutrients than other green teas. In particular, matcha is rich in antioxidants and catechins, which are believed to provide numerous health benefits.
The frothy and foamy matcha tea that you always see everyone drinking is prepared with the powdered green tea which is mixed with hot water or milk with a milk frother or a bamboo whisk.
Where does matcha come from?
Just like anime series, traditional green tea matcha is a goodie that comes from Japan. Matcha is often used in traditional tea ceremonies, and it is also a popular flavor for chia pudding, lattes, and other healthy goodies.
The history of matcha began in China, where it was used as a medicinal herb. It eventually made its way to Japan, where Buddhist monks began using it as a way to stay awake during long hours of meditation. Over time, matcha became associated with the elite samurai class, and it eventually became a staple of Japanese cuisine.
Today, matcha remains a popular drink in Japan, and its distinct flavor can be enjoyed all over the world. In fact, there are traditional Japanese matcha kits that you can buy to recreate the ancient matcha ritual at home and feel closer to its origins.
What does matcha taste like?
Premium matcha tea leaves have a smooth, grassy flavor that's sweet without using sugar. Even though many people say that matcha is bitter and not that tasty, that actually depends on the quality of tea plants the matcha powder was extracted from.
Traditional Japanese matcha is made from shade-grown tea leaves, which gives it its distinctive grassy flavor. This is complemented by a sweetness that is often described as umami, as well as a slight astringency. When prepared properly, matcha should have a smooth, velvety texture that further enhances its flavor.
Matcha vs. Coffee: Does matcha give you energy?
When it comes to morning beverages, there are two camps: coffee and matcha. Both drinks have their ardent fans, but is it really worth it to change coffee for matcha powder?
Like coffee, matcha contains caffeine (72g of caffeine per teaspoon), but it also has additional benefits. This green tea powder, which is obtained from young tea leaves, is rich in antioxidants and has been shown to boost metabolism and improve cognitive function.
Additionally, and unlike coffee, the effects of the matcha caffeine are said to be more forgiving in matcha due to the L-theanine it contains. This amino acid slows down the absorption of caffeine, resulting in a more gradual release of energy, which also translates to no jitters, more hours of energy, and no energy crash.
So, all in all, while both coffee and matcha can help to wake you up in the morning, matcha may offer additional benefits that make it worth trying.
Matcha tea vs. Green tea: Which is better?
Though it may seem that green tea and matcha tea are identical twins because they come from the same plant, the truth is that they are totally different from each other. Yes, both beverages come from the same tea plant; however, matcha is made from the whole leaf, which is ground into a fine powder. This powder is then whisked with hot water to create a frothy beverage, which means that, when you drink matcha, you are consuming the entire leaf, rather than just the brewed water.
Regular green tea, on the other hand, is made by steeping the leaves in hot water. As a result, matcha contains more caffeine than regular green tea. It also has a higher concentration of antioxidants, which are believed to offer numerous health benefits.
When it comes to taste, matcha is often described as being more intense and slightly bitter. Green tea, on the other hand, has a milder flavor
Since it is purer, the benefits of matcha are better than those of green tea. Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean you have to ditch your green tea bags! Drinking green tea is also beneficial for the health, so, at the end, it all comes down to what you like best.
Types of matcha from A to Z
The difference between ceremonial grade and culinary grade matcha is the difference between a Rolls-Royce and a Kia. Both will get you from point A to point B, but one is a luxurious experience while the other is, well, just getting the job done.
Just like the matcha’s flavor, the benefits may vary depending on the tea bush, the way they’re grown, the soil, etc. The types of matcha you use can also make a difference:
1. What is ceremonial grade matcha?
This is the crème de la crème! Ceremonial grade matcha is made from the youngest, most tender leaves of the tea plant, which are hand-picked and shade-grown for three weeks before harvest. The resulting tea powder is bright green, has a finer texture, and is full of antioxidants.
It has a sweet, greeny flavor without requiring any added sugars and a creamy texture that makes it perfect for enjoying on its own or in lattes and other drinks.
Even though this is the best kind of matcha, you need to bear in mind that the quality will depend on the tea bushes and the way they are grown. So, always make sure to find the best matcha brands!
2. What is culinary grade matcha?
In contrast, culinary grade matcha is made from older leaves that are less tender and have a more muted color. The leaves are also machine-ground, resulting in a coarser powder.
While it doesn't have the same delicate flavor as ceremonial grade matcha, it's still delicious and perfect for baking or adding to smoothies.
Want to learn more about the difference of ceremonial grade matcha and culinary grade matcha? Read this article!
2 Tips when looking for a good quality matcha
When it comes to matcha, there are three things you should keep in mind: grade and additives
The best matcha is the Ceremonial Grade one, which is made from young tea leaves that have been shaded from the sun for several weeks prior to harvest. This allows the leaves to develop a higher concentration of chlorophyll, which gives matcha its bright green color and a sweet flavor.
So, the first thing when looking for a good ground tea is choosing Ceremonial Grade over other types of matcha.
2. No additives
A good matcha should taste sweet and smooth even without sugar. So, always check the labels to see if the only ingredient in the product is matcha powder, and no other additives.
Benefits of matcha that will make you fall in love
If you can’t stay away from matcha green tea lattes just because you’re obsessed with the flavor, let us tell you that you’re not only enjoying a delicious beverage, you’re also doing wonders for your health!
For starters, matcha green tea is richer in antioxidants than other types of green tea because it is made from entire green tea leaves. This not only means that consuming the powder can help support the immune system, but also means that it can protect cells from damage and reduce the risk of developing chronic medical complications.
In addition, this supercharged form of green tea can boost metabolism and help burn fat, making it a popular choice for those looking to slim down. One of the reasons matcha is good for weight loss is that it contains a compound called catechins. Catechins are compounds that have been shown to increase thermogenesis *aka the process in which your body burns calories* Nonetheless, it’s always important to take into account that, even though matcha health benefits can help out with weight loss, it’s not a miracle cure! So, yes, drink matcha, but also include other healthy habits like healthy food and exercise.
If that wasn’t enough, a single cup of matcha can have almost as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. Plus, unlike coffee, which can sometimes leave drinkers feeling jittery and anxious, this Japanese green tea provides a smooth energy boost that helps to improve focus and concentration.
And if you’ve been wondering: is matcha good for digestion? Yes! The catechins in this powder are thought to help reduce inflammation and protect against bacterial growth, both of which can contribute to better digestion. In addition, matcha green tea powder is rich in fiber, which helps to keep things moving along smoothly.
Finally, matcha contains a compound called L-theanine, which has been shown to promote relaxation and decrease stress levels. In addition, matcha is rich in antioxidants and nutrients that can boost your mood and overall health.
Can you have matcha while pregnant?
Drinking matcha tea while expecting: do or don’t?
It actually depends! Matcha is generally considered safe for pregnant women to consume in moderation. However, it is important to avoid consuming large amounts of caffeine during pregnancy, as this can increase the risk of complications. Therefore, it is best to stick to one or two cups of matcha per day while pregnant.
Additionally, it is important to ask your doctor or OBGYN before you start drinking tea!
How to store matcha to keep it fresh
As any tea lover knows, matcha is a delicately flavored green tea powder that should be treated with care:
- Keep your matcha in an airtight container. This will help to keep the oxygen out and prevent the matcha from oxidizing.
- Store your matcha in a cool, dark place. Sunlight and heat can cause the matcha to deteriorate quickly.
- Do not put your matcha in the fridge or freezer. The extreme temperature changes can ruin the delicate flavor of the matcha.
So, is matcha healthy?
Matcha has been all the rage lately, with everyone from health nuts to celebrities touting its benefits. But is matcha really as healthy as it's made out to be? As you read throughout our blog, the answer is a resounding yes!
Thanks to its high concentration of antioxidants, matcha is often touted as a superfood with numerous health benefits. These include improved mental focus, increased energy levels, and reduced stress levels.
So if you're looking for a healthy way to start your day, matcha may be worth a try. Just remember to enjoy it in moderation - like all good things, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing!
And, if you’re looking for the best ceremonial grade matcha, visit our store! You’ll find our delicious thin tea alongside all the tools you need to make the perfect cup of matcha!