You may have heard of Matcha Green Tea if you’ve ever been to Starbucks and ordered a green tea latte, but this powerful tea has a lot more to offer than just a delicious frothy drink. Matcha tea packs a powerful punch when it comes to health benefits, and it’s something I would recommend everyone adding to their daily diet.
What Is Matcha Green Tea?
Matcha tea is the result of taking young green tea leaves, shading them from the sunlight 20 days before being processed, and stone-grinding them down into a fine, delicate powder. Since matcha utilizes the entire green tea leaf, it’s about 10 times more nutritionally dense than regular green tea is.
Matcha is traditionally whisked together with hot water and sipped, and has been used for centuries in many Asian cultural tea ceremonies, especially in Japan, but matcha boasts a ton of health benefits aside from just being a delicious earthy drink.
Benefits of Matcha Green Tea
1. High in Antioxidants
Antioxidants are key for detoxing the body, maintaining immune health, and protecting yourself against free radicals which lead to premature aging. ORAC, or Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, is a score given to certain foods that rates its antioxidant concentration, and its ability to fight free radicals, and Matcha green tea has one of the highest ORAC ratings ever measured in any food or beverage.
2. Amino Acid L-Theanine
L-Theanine is an essential amino acid that has recently been gaining more popularity for its healing abilities on the body. L-Theanine has been shown to stimulate alpha brain waves, which play a role in being in a relaxed state of mental clarity, and a more calm alertness. It also has the ability to help lower blood pressure, enhance memory, and even improve the quality of your sleep.
3. Can Help Fight Cancer
Green tea in general contains a specific set of antioxidants known as “catechins”, which are known to be the most potent and beneficial to our bodies. Epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCg for short, is a specific catechin known for its cancer fighting abilities, and matcha green tea happens to have over 100 times the amount of it, over any other green tea out there.
4. Improves Cholesterol
Studies have shown that people who consume matcha green tea on a regular basis have lower LDL (the bad), and higher HDL (the good) cholesterol levels. They’ve also shown that men specifically, who drink matcha green tea, are 11% less likely to develop heart disease later on in life.
5. Detoxing Chlorophyll
Matcha green tea contains significant amounts of chlorophyll, which does wonders for detoxing the body, and helps balance pH levels.
6. Calming Energy Levels
Although matcha tea does have caffeine in it, people have found that it gives off a well-balanced, calming energy boost, without all the side effects of a stimulant. This is due to the immense amount of additional nutrients at play in matcha, which help balance out mood, mental focus, and energy levels naturally.
7. Boosts Immune System
Because matcha is loaded with antioxidants and catechins, it has been shown to have antibiotic properties, as well as being packed with potassium, vitamin A & C, protein, iron, and calcium, which are all beneficial to the immune system.
What Type Of Matcha To Buy
There are traditionally two types of matcha tea: Koicha and Usucha .
- Koicha – Koicha means “thick tea”, and it’s the most commonly used form in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. It’s prepared using just a touch of water and gently kneaded until it resembles a thick paint-like consistency. Koicha is generally made from the highest quality matcha powder.
- Usucha – Usucha translates to “thin tea”, and is the most traditional form of matcha generally used in cafes or restaurants. Usucha is usually made from the second highest quality matcha powder.
The best quality matcha powder comes from Japan, specifically from the southern regions of Uji, Shizuoka, Nishio, and Kyushu. High quality matcha will have a naturally sweet, grassy taste to it, while lower quality matcha may taste more on the bitter side.
When searching for the highest quality matcha tea, look for ceremonial grade, but if you’re going to use this as an everyday drinker, the culinary grade will suit you just fine. It’s less expensive than the ceremonial grade, but still packs all the nutritional benefits as the higher grade does.
Here are the two I personally use and recommend:
- KENKO Premium Ceremonial Organic Grade Matcha Green Tea
- Jade Leaf Classic Culinary Grade Matcha Green Tea
How To Drink Matcha Green Tea
There are several different ways to use and drink matcha green tea, and I’ve summarized a few of the different ways you can drink it.
- Matcha and Hot Water – The most traditional way to drink this green tea is to sift 1-2 tsp of powder into a cup, then slowly pour 2 oz of hot water (not boiling), over the tea. Whisk together vigorously in a zigzag motion until the tea is thoroughly blended with the water, and has become slightly frothy. Sip tea straight from cup and enjoy.
- Matcha Latte – Another, more recently common way to consume matcha is to mix with milk. Prepare matcha 1-2 tsp matcha powder with 2 oz cold water into a large glass or tumbler, then add as much milk as you would like. Use a whisk or blender to make a frothy cold latte, or heat up the matcha and milk for a hot drink.
- Matcha Smoothie – If you’re just starting out with matcha, or you’re just not keen on the taste of it, you can easily add a few teaspoons of powder to any green or fruit smoothie to still get all the wonderful benefits.
- Matcha in Food – Matcha is not only for drinking, but is used for a wide variety of different food recipes. There’s a great resource of recipes just for matcha at MatchaSource.com.
- Matcha for Skin Care – Not only is drinking matcha wonderful for your health, it’s also amazing for your skin. Learn how to make a natural matcha green tea face mask here.
Do you drink green tea? Have you ever tried matcha powder?