What is Matcha Tea?
Matcha is a stone-ground green tea made by using the whole green tea leaf. A traditional staple in Japan that is now making waves in the US market for its mellow taste and health benefits. Marketed for weight loss in coffee shops and juice bars, this delicious beverage has people singing its praises in comparison to regular green tea.
Now if you are wondering what makes matcha green tea so special, the answer is in its processing. Unlike traditional green tea that is dried and rolled, matcha tea is made by first drying the tea leaves and then grinding the entire leaves into a fine powder using a stone.
Origin of Matcha Tea
Although green tea originated in China, matcha which is a form of green tea originated in Japan. It is said that the green tea seeds were first brought to Japan from China by a Monk named Eisai, the same monk who introduced the Zen philosophy to Japan. He planted and cultivated the seeds on the temple grounds in Kyoto. Impressed by the calmness the tea brought him and its mellow taste, he wanted to explore the plant more. In his exploration, Essai found that when he ground the entire leaf and consumed the powdered green tea leaves, it complemented his zen better. Thus, Zen and matcha became bound together, forming the "Japanese way of tea" ceremony, a ritual that is performed even today in Japan.
Matcha Tea Benefits
This Japanese green tea is loved and favoured over other teas for its numerous health benefits. Matcha tea is a rich source of nutrients, antioxidants, fibre, and chlorophyll. The health benefits one receives from drinking matcha tea is unmatched when compared to other green teas. Why? Because matcha tea drinkers consume the whole leaf deriving all the nutrients the plant has to offer. One glass of matcha tea is equal to 10 glasses of regular green tea in terms of nutritional value and antioxidant content.
Japanese matcha tea is packed with antioxidants like EGCG, that boosts metabolism and burns calories, thereby promoting weight loss. It also makes a great detox drink. Matcha tea is said to contain amino acids like L-theanine that can relax the mind and body. This healthy Japanese green tea can also lower cholesterol levels and control blood sugar. We can say that the list of matcha tea benefits is long and amazing.
Matcha Tea Grades
Just like regular tea, even matcha tea has tea grades. These grades are dependent on the quality of the matcha tea. Traditional Japanese matcha green tea has 4 tea grades:
The ceremonial grade which is of the highest quality is sweet tasting and has a creamy texture.
The classic grade is also of good quality is creamy with a slightly bitter note.
Cafe grade which is grassy and slightly astringent.
Kitchen or cooking grade is the lowest grade of matcha tea and has more astringent than the other grades.
Matcha Tea and Weight Loss
Does matcha tea help you lose weight? The answer is a big yes, it has everything you need to encourage weight loss in your body. The EGCG concentration in matcha tea is three times higher than that of any other green tea. This helps boost your metabolism and encourage better calorie burning activities in the body, thus enhancing weight loss. Unlike regular green tea, premium Japanese matcha green tea is protected from sunlight when cultivated. This helps the plant produce very high levels of powerful antioxidants, which also helps burn fat. Matcha tea may have all the right antioxidants and EGCG concentration you may need to encourage metabolism and fat burning, but drinking matcha tea alone with not make you lose weight. Exercise along with a healthy diet and the consumption of matcha tea in combination is what you will need to follow if your goal is to lose weight.
Caffeine Content in Matcha Green Tea
We're sure that most of you'll want to know about the caffeine content in matcha tea. As matcha is a type of green, it does have caffeine. In fact, the caffeine content in matcha tea is more than what you would find in regular green tea because the whole green tea leave is used to make matcha. However, the caffeine content is still lesser than that of coffee. Matcha green tea has almost 32mg of caffeine in every serving, that's about half of the caffeine content in a cup of coffee. But don't be mistaken, although matcha green tea has caffeine, it's a rich source of many other nutrients and antioxidants that are very good for health.
How to Make Traditional Matcha Tea
As anyone who has made matcha tea before would say, there is something wonderfully ceremonial about making finely ground Japanese Matcha tea. It's an experience that is calming and exciting at the same time. The key is to enjoy the preparation process as much as the finished product. For those of you who are tying matcha for the first time, you can start by buying your matcha tea online, getting a bowl, a bamboo whisk and a stiffer or a spoon. So let's begin.
- Sift 1 or 2 tsp of matcha tea into a cup.
- Add 1 cup of hot water.
- Whisk vigorously in a zig-zag motion until the tea becomes frothy and enjoy.
It is said that the best way to drink matcha tea is straight from the bowl that is was made in.
Easy Matcha Green tea recipes
Everyone's favourite is the matcha green tea latte, easy to make and works great on the palate. So let's begin
- Stiff 1½ to 2 teaspoons of matcha powder into a cup or mug
- Stir in 1 to 2 tablespoon of hot water into the cup depending on the amount of matcha and mix well to ensure all the matcha is dissolved
- Boil milk in a pot and add a sweetener
- Once the milk is boiled, you can froth the milk by whisking it
- Pour the hot milk into the matcha decoction
- Garnish with a sprinkle of matcha on top, if desired, and drink it immediately.
Matcha green tea is said to be a mood enhancer. Being an antioxidant superhouse it has more catechins than regular green tea. When you drink matcha green tea you are consuming the entire leaf and that's how you get 100% of the plant's natural nutritional benefit. Replace your morning cup of tea with this health-promoting matcha green tea, or incorporate it into your weight-loss plan to enjoy its benefits. It is also believed that sipping on a cup of matcha tea can do wonders for your mood and even induce relaxation. Now that you know what is matcha tea and how to choose the best matcha tea, there is no reason why you shouldn’t add this nutrient-rich healthy beverage to your diet.