WHAT IS MATCHA?
Raise your hand if you have ever heard of Matcha! If you are looking for something amazing, filled with excess nutrients to sneak into your diet and keep you on-the-go, give matcha a solid attempt.
Matcha is a trendy form of green tea gaining widespread attention more than the regular green tea and even coffee.
It is incorporated as a flavor in lattes, desserts, and savory dishes. Matcha is made from the younger leaves of Camellia sinensis, harvested, deveined, destemmed, and grounded into a fine powder. Matcha has extra nutritional benefits than regular green tea.
Matcha is a Japanese green tea grown under shade to delay it’s growing process, increase the production of chlorophyll, increase its caffeine level, give it a dark green color, and also to increase the production of theanine, an amino acid that provides a calming effect.
When preparing regular green tea, the loose leaf or tea bag is infused in hot water and discarded away.
This leaf contains trapped nutrients and antioxidants that protects and fights against diseases, instead of chewing the leaf which is practically scary, we discard the main source of the beneficial nutrients.
With matcha green tea, you get to consume the entire leaf in powder form, which of course is more potent, unique and makes it easier to reap the benefits in abundance, sounds better right!!!
Green signifies life, balance, good health, refreshment, energy, renewal, and trust me, matcha has just the perfect color, green, and can supply you with all of this.
There are three grades of matcha:
- Ceremonial grade, used in ceremonies, has the highest quality and is more expensive.
- The premium grade, high quality and is consumed by green tea lovers on a daily.
- The culinary grade, low quality and is suitable for the kitchen, chefs make use of this grade for their dishes like desserts, granola, and drinks like yogurt, smoothies.
To maintain optimum health and equip your body to fight against diseases, add matcha to your shopping list and enjoy it.
HOW TO PREPARE MATCHA
To get a good and desired taste, prepare matcha the right way. It is very easy and all you have to do is follow the step by step instructions below.
You would need:
- A teaspoon
- Chasen: This is a delicate bamboo whisk specially made to prepare matcha
- A small sifter
- A teacup
- A tea bowl
For a Thinner Matcha Tea
- Sift 1 ½ teaspoon of the matcha powder into a tea bowl to get rid of clumps and give you a smooth tea in the end
- Pour 2 ounces of boiling water in a teacup and let it sit for 2 minutes to cool.
- Pour the hot water into the tea bowl to prevent clumping
- Whisk the mixture in a zigzag motion and not in circles with a chasen for 10 -15 seconds to get a smooth and foamy tea
- Pour the tea into the teacup. Drink your tea immediately after you have prepared it since most of the tea powder sticks to the bottom of the plate. You don’t want this to happen, so gobble it all down immediately.
For a Thicker Matcha Tea
- Sift 3 teaspoons of matcha into a small bowl to get rid of clumps and give you a smooth tea in the end
- Pour 2 ounces of boiling water in a teacup and let it sit for 2 minutes to cool.
- Pour half of the water into the tea bowl and whisk in a zigzag motion and not in circles with a chasen for 15 -20 seconds.
- Pour the remaining part of the water into the tea bowl to avoid clumping and whisk again in a zigzag motion for 15 -20 seconds until it is thicker and darker.
- Pour the tea into a teacup and drink immediately.
WHAT DOES MATCHA TASTE LIKE?
This green potent powder has different taste sensations ranging from sweet to bitter to sour to savory or umami. The nicest matcha tea has a sweet and vegetal taste but balanced by a bit of bitterness and a blend of umami – a savory taste.
The first factor to determine the taste of matcha is the grade. The ceremonial grade of matcha which is the highest quality, expensive, and rarest has the best flavor and is creamy, vegetal, and sweet.
The premium grade is good too and is used for drinks, scoop it into your cup of smoothie or yogurt and just mix it in. The culinary grade is bitter and has little or no flavor. If you are looking for the best matcha to consume, I recommend a ceremonial grade.
The second factor is the temperature of the water used for the tea. Cold water matcha powder tea is extremely sweeter than hot water matcha powder tea.
Using cold water would also give you a lighter flavor but with hot water, a strong and overwhelming flavor. What’s your take? A sweet and light flavor or a bitter and strong flavor.
If your matcha has a bitter taste, you could improve it by adding honey or sugar, but, it could reduce most of its nutritional properties. Store your matcha properly in an airtight container to retain its color and flavor.
The best matcha powder has a bright green color while a bad matcha powder would have a dull brown or yellowish color.
Some best matcha powder to try out is Kyoto Dew Ceremonial Grade Matcha, Jade Leaf Ceremonial Grade Matcha, Enecha Ceremonial Grade Matcha, Mizuba Nagomi Ceremonial Grade Matcha.
These matcha powders have been tested based on color, flavor, aroma, texture, and quantity and have their origin in Japan, matcha powder tea specific producers. Japanese- made matcha has the best quality.
If you are trying matcha for the first time, just a few more cups, and you would get used to its taste.
HOW TO MAKE A MATCHA LATTE?
Matcha latte is more like the un-pure form of matcha, cream, sugar, or honey is added to a matcha green tea to improve its taste making it a matcha latte.
Matcha latte is tasty, rich in antioxidants, and caffeine and is very easy to make at home. Most people prefer matcha latte to complement the vegetal and bitter taste of matcha green tea. This form is more delicious and can be enjoyed hot or cold, to make it cold, just add a few ice cubes and voila.
Matcha latte is very easy and takes only a few minutes, let’s make a matcha latte.
- 1 ¼ teaspoon of matcha green tea powder
- 2 teaspoon of sugar, or to taste
- 2 tablespoon of warm water
- 3/4 cup of milk of your choice
- Scoop and sift the matcha green tea powder and sugar into a teacup
- Pour the warm water into the matcha powder and whisk properly with a chasen to ensure a smooth paste without lumps
- Heat the milk in a saucepan, froth with an electric milk frother, and pour into a mug.
- Add the milk into the teacup and stir, it would change into a bright green color
- Sweeten to your taste.
Very simple right! In my opinion, it is, now relax and enjoy your cup of matcha latte
DOES MATCHA CONTAIN CAFFEINE?
Of course. Regular green tea contains caffeine and matcha is actually a type of green tea. Matcha is made by grinding the entire tea leaf, all of it, into a fine powder, therefore the caffeine content is going to be so much higher than that of regular green tea.
Caffeine is not bad for you well unless you are sensitive to it. Matcha’s caffeine helps to boost metabolism, increase focus, and provide a calming effect on the nervous system. If you are a coffee lover, and always need a boost, it is best to switch to matcha.
Coffee has a high caffeine level than matcha, a high intake of caffeine can cause jittery, nervousness, an increase in headache and blood sugar level, and havoc to the mind, while a blast of matcha helps to offer total relaxation without a feeling of tiredness or drowsiness.
It is better to drink a cup of matcha than a cup of coffee, as a matter of fact, both of them contains caffeine but one has more benefits than side effects – Matcha.
An 8-ounce cup of matcha contains 70mg of caffeine which is less than a cup of coffee. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, an 8 ounce of coffee contains 95-200mg of caffeine.
Drinking coffee gives you a rush of energy only to crash it which is more like receiving the good news that keeps you so excited and alive only to receive bad news that breaks you down.
HOW MANY CUPS OF MATCHA A DAY?
Wondering how much you can gulp down a cup of matcha in a day? Many studies suggest 5 cups of matcha tea a day, but to keep it moderate, 2-3 cups a day is okay. It is ideal to consume 2-3 cups a day to avoid excess intake of caffeine.
MATCHA GREEN TEA AND WEIGHT LOSS
Matcha contains a compound called EGCG -epigallocatechin-3-gallate in high amount that boosts metabolism and burns fat and more calories. Matcha tea is low in calories which is suitable to consume without any fear of fat buildup. Matcha green tea is an amazing alternative to sugary beverage containing excess calories. So, you might want to cut down on beverages and fruit juice and drink more of matcha to burn that fat.
Drinking matcha tea aids the reduction of stress. Did you know that being stressed out leads to fat buildup especially lower belly fat? It does. Consuming matcha daily energizes, keeps you feeling relaxed and reduces feelings of stress and tiredness.
Exercising and eating healthy foods regularly would help you shed a few pounds, drinking matcha tea would make it more effective.
MATCHA VS GREEN TEA
Both matcha and green tea have some similarities They are both made from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis and their differences lies in their processing, preparation, flavor, taste, color, texture, and health benefits. Green tea comes in a teabag while matcha is in a powder form.
Green tea is made by infusing the leaves in hot water and matcha is prepared by mixing the powder in warm water. Green tea is available in tablets or as liquids.
Green tea is grown directly under sunlight and processed by sun-drying or oven drying to retain its flavor, color, and benefits. Matcha is shade-grown to increase caffeine and antioxidants production, increase chlorophyll to give it a dark green color for four weeks, and then harvested.
After harvesting, steaming of leaves, deveining and destemming occurs, then it is grounded into a fine powder.
both green tea and matcha have a vegetal or earthy taste. Green tea has notes of honey, ginger, mint, citrus and so much flavors. Matcha has a much richer flavor and can be used in lattes, yogurt, cakes, desserts.
Tip: brewing your tea the right way would enhance its flavor.
Green tea tastes bitter and can be improved with honey, sugar, or cream. A good quality matcha, says premium grade, would taste a lot better. Matcha has a blend of sweet and savory taste and has no added sugar or ingredients
Color: Matcha has an emerald green color, this is because of its high chlorophyll production. Green tea leaves are dull and have a brown color.
Texture: green tea has a rough texture, it feels gritty. Matcha is a smooth finely grounded powder.
Health benefits: matcha powder is more potent than green tea. It contains higher antioxidants, high caffeine levels, and compounds like amino acid (theanine) and EGCG, a special catechin.
The antioxidants help to fight and protect the body against diseases. Matcha is more powerful and healthier than green tea. They are both excellent energy boosters, great for dental health, aid reduction of stress and weight loss, and improves heart health.
Matcha contains 134 mg of EGCG, 94mg of polyphenols, and 45mg of amino acid while green tea contains 63mg of EGCG, 7mg of polyphenols, and 3mg of amino acid. Therefore, matcha contains 137 antioxidants than regular green tea.
The choice of which to take all balls down to you. You might prefer the taste or flavor of green tea to matcha, or vice versa. If you are sensitive to caffeine, green tea is best for you, if you prefer matcha, consume it moderately not excessively. So, relax and awaken your senses with this healthy drink experience.
MATCHA TEA BENEFITS AND SIDE EFFECTS.
- Matcha green tea powder is a powerhouse of antioxidants and other compounds that helps to lower the risk of chronic illnesses.
- Matcha is loaded with an amino acid that promotes feelings of calmness, boosts, and enhances a great mood, improves memory and thinking capacity, and helps to reduce feelings of tiredness.
- Matcha has special catechin, EGCG that delays the onset of cancer and prevents certain types of cancer.
- Polyphenols present in matcha inhibits the growth of cancerous tumor. Some studies have proven that matcha can reduce risk and prevent liver diseases.
- An analysis of 15 studies found that a decline in liver diseases was as a result of consuming green tea.
- Matcha is also a great boost for your immune system. Think of matcha as magic, when your immune system is healthy, you are healthy.
- Trying to shed a few pounds? Embarking on a weight loss journey? If yes, you are guaranteed a safe and successful trip with matcha. Matcha green tea burns calories and fat on a daily by naturally boosting your metabolism.
- For fresh breath, consume matcha, it has Flouride that strengthens your teeth and antioxidants that inhibits mouth bacteria.
- Matcha improves heart health, reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, makes you smarter and alert.
With all these benefits, I see no reason not to add matcha green tea powder to your grocery list. You need to relax and enjoy this heavenly sip.
Matcha is safe and healthy when consumed moderately. Due to its caffeine content, excess consumption may trigger insomnia or sleep disturbances, diarrhea, irritability, headache, anxiety, and constipation.
An 8-ounce cup of coffee contains 70mg of caffeine and most adults can safely consume 400mg of caffeine which is about 10 cups a day, like I said “safely”, without problems.
If you are sensitive to caffeine, don’t fail to consume it moderately so you reap the benefits and not side effects.
BENEFITS OF MATCHA FOR SKIN
You want to look all glowed up and more beautiful? Matcha is essential in giving your skin that fresh and rejuvenating look. Factors such as stress, exposure to the sun can leave your skin worn out.
Drinking matcha tea as well as applying it as scrubs, lotion or a face mask can improve your skin, you don’t even have to sip on it, make a simple do-it-yourself matcha powder face mask, I’ll leave a suggestion below just because you deserve beautiful skin.
- Matcha prevents anti-aging: a natural secret for skin aging is matcha. It is packed with catechins and minerals and vitamins that prevent and fight against free radicals that damage your skin cells, causes dry skin, aging spots, and the worst, wrinkles.
Matcha adds volume to your skin by stimulating elastin production. Now don’t you want that?
- Oily skin: your skin is not an oil producing machine and it shouldn’t seem like one. Having oily skin is great, but when your skin secretes excess oil, it gets trapped in your pores and causes acne.
Matcha contains chlorophyll and EGCG(epigallocatechin-3-gallate), these have antibacterial properties that remove excess oil, eliminates the onset of acne, and the bacteria causing acne and blemishes.
Tannins in matcha shrink the pores that produce excess oil and leaves your skin acne and spot free.
- Beautiful eyes: applying matcha powder to your eyes or even drinking it gives you a refreshed look. Most times, stress and insomnia can give dark circles, eye wrinkles, and puffy eyes which is something we all don’t want. Matcha contains caffeine and tannins that give beautiful eyes that contribute to a beautiful look.
- Skin cancer: matcha contains a powerful antioxidant EGCG that prevents damaged cells from becoming cancerous cells. EGCG does this by reducing DNA damage sustained from exposure to sun or UV.
- Matcha improves your skin complexion
EGCG is super great for your skin, it takes care of skin irritations, inflammation, redness, and chronic skin infections. Matcha gives you a baby-like skin, is gentle on the skin and that makes it good for all skin types.
MATCHA GREEN TEA FACE MASK
This face mask is simple, moisturizing, and results in a smooth face. This is for all skin types.
1 teaspoon of Matcha green tea powder
½ teaspoon of raw original honey.
Mix matcha and honey thoroughly to form a smooth paste. Carefully spread it on your face in a circular motion, avoid putting it directly in your mouth and eyes. Let it sit on your face for 15-20 minutes, remove with a wet clean cloth.
- For dry skin,1/2 teaspoon olive or coconut oil and a teaspoon of matcha powder
- For acne and aging skin,1 teaspoon of aloe Vera gel, few drops of water, and a tablespoon of matcha powder