Table of Contents:
Fact 7. Matcha powder is made entirely from green tea leaves
Fact 6. Matcha is packed with health benefits
Fact 5. Matcha contains the perfect balance of caffeine + L-Theanine
Fact 4. Matcha has been around for centuries
Fact 3. Not all matcha is the same – table of grades
Fact 2. Caution! Some matcha has been contaminated by lead
Fact 1. You can add matcha to almost any recipe
Over the last couple of years, matcha has become one of the hottest trends amongst health nuts, foodies, celebrities and tea drinkers alike, and for good reason. This powdered green tea is packed with health benefits and known for inducing a calming caffeine kick that provides a serious energy boost without any anxiety or irritability so it’s easy to see why so many people are hopping on the matcha tea train. Although it’s been around for centuries, matcha has just recently stepped into the limelight as the new “it” ingredient and cafes are serving up signature creations from San Francisco to New York. While this might seem like just another fad, there are plenty of reasons to get a daily dose of this delicious green stuff, from its subtly sweet taste to the energy and antioxidants it provides. Here are 7 awesome facts about everybody’s new favorite antioxidant-packed energy booster …
7. It’s made entirely from green tea leaves
Matcha literally means “powdered tea.” A regular cup of green tea is made by steeping tea leaves in hot water but with the powdered version, you’re drinking the whole leaves which have been stone-ground into a fine powder so it dissolves in liquid. To make a traditional cup of (ceremonial), you whisk a teaspoon of matcha (using a bamboo whisk) with a cup of hot water until it froths, but there are many other ways to get your fix. More on that below!
6. It’s packed with health benefits
Research suggests plenty of health benefits to drinking matcha, including regulation of cholesterol, blood sugar, and harmful blood fats, as well as protection against kidney damage. Some studies also suggest that it may prevent age-related cognitive impairment, reduce the risk of stroke and diabetes, keep blood pressure in check, strengthen bones, and help prevent several forms of cancer. In addition to the long list of health benefits, just 1 teaspoon gives you a focused and calm energy boost that lasts longer than coffee and doesn’t produce any of the unwanted side-effects. Which brings us to #5 …
5. It contains the perfect balance of caffeine + L-Theanine
One of the most alluring features of matcha powder is the sustained energy boost it provides. But, despite packing a powerful energy boost, it actually contains less caffeine than coffee. One serving (1 teaspoon) contains about as much caffeine as a serving of brewed green tea. Even if you’re using 2 teaspoons, you’re still getting less caffeine than the average drip brew coffee. In addition to caffeine, it also contains an amino acid called L-Theanine. When combined, caffeine and L-Theanine work together to provide a calm and focused energy boost (like a powerful coffee buzz without the jitters or caffeine crash). In fact, the mix of L-Theanine and caffeine work so well together that they’ve been touted as the new “smart drug.”
4. It’s been around for centuries
People are drawn to the vibrant green color, savory sweetness, health benefits and energy boost, but many are also drawn to the ritual. Preparing a traditional cup of this tea requires active participation in measuring and whisking. The preparation lends itself to a moment of focused meditation, which is the very reason Buddhist monks created meditative rituals around its preparation centuries ago. Matcha may be the newest fuel for our daily hustle, but people all over Asia have been communing with it for centuries, making it both the newest health craze and an age-old tradition. This is great news for people who are reluctant to jump on the bandwagon. While it may be the beverage of the moment, it has already proven itself to be so much more than a passing fad.
3. Not all matcha is the same
There are a few things to consider if you want to get the best stuff. What brand should you buy? What grade should you choose? Should you choose organic? When deciding on where to buy matcha, you should follow 2 basic rules: buy organic so you get the purest taste, and make sure you purchase it from a company that tests their product for lead (more on that in a second).
Choosing a grade comes down to how you plan to use it. For straight cups of tea, a high-quality ceremonial grade matcha powder is essential. Ceremonial grade is made from the leaves at the top of the plant, which are the youngest and contain more chlorophyll. This gives it a bright green color and sweeter smoother flavor.
If you’re going to use it as an ingredient, or you want to add it to your smoothies or protein shakes to give them an extra boost, culinary grade matcha is ideal. Culinary grade is made from more mature green tea leaves and has a stronger (slightly more bitter) flavor that works well in combination with other flavors. There is also vitamin-infused matcha available if you want the extra boost of added vitamins, as well as Matcha Capsules if you don’t like the taste of green tea but you want the health benefits.
2. Some matcha has been contaminated by lead
Many of the matcha powders available on the market are contaminated by lead, so you have to be extra cautious and choose your brand wisely. Lead contamination is especially dangerous when it comes to powdered green tea (as opposed to tea leaves) because you’re consuming the whole leaf. When you drink regular brewed green tea, the majority of contaminants that might be present remain in the discarded leaves after brewing, but when you drink matcha you drink the whole leaf and any contaminants it may contain. So you should always try to buy 100% organic matcha, and you should always make sure it has been tested by a 3rd-party lab to ensure it’s free of harmful chemicals.
1. You can add it to almost anything
Chlorophyll and amino acids give matcha its unique taste: an initial vegetal, astringent taste, followed by a lingering sweetness. When added as an ingredient, the taste becomes subtler and adds the flavor and color of green tea to your creation. It’s seriously yummy. So yummy, in fact, that you can find a matcha recipe for almost anything from cornbread to curry to cupcakes. Health nuts may swear by matcha for its long list of benefits, but foodies are passionate about its flavor. As an ingredient, culinary grade matcha can add a unique savoriness to a range of recipes as it compliments almost any dish. With over 2 million posts on Instagram, #matcha is a testament to its growing popularity, highlighting the hundreds of ways foodies are enjoying, and experimenting with, their new favorite ingredient. Those who love it are not only using it as a coffee replacement, they’re throwing it in everything from desserts to soups to salad dressings and sauces.