WHAT IS MATCHA GREEN TEA?
Matcha green tea powder is the harvested leaves of the green tea plants that have been shade grown, hand picked, steamed and air dried, de-stemmed and devined (for the premium ceremonial grade), and then stone-ground into a fine powder. You are ingesting the whole leaf as a fine powder instead of brewing the leaves in water to make green tea. This is how matcha powder far surpasses regular green tea when it comes to the amount of nutrients & antioxidants ingested.
HOW DO I PREPARE MATCHA?
However you like! Matcha traditionally has been prepared with a whisk and drank simply with water.
Using the culinary grade matcha, you can add it to smoothies, pancakes, muffins, juices, etc.
IS THERE CAFFEINE IN MATCHA?
For a 1 gram serving of matcha there is about 25-30mg of caffeine. This is less than a regular coffee. However because of the large amounts of L-Theanine in matcha, the caffeine in matcha is delivered to your body over a long period – so you will get raised energy levels for much longer than coffee, and without any ‘crash’ that you can get after drinking coffee.
HOW MUCH MATCHA SHOULD I CONSUME?
There’s no strict guidelines, however if you are sensitive to caffeine then you may need to limit your intake to 1-2 servings per day. As matcha raises energy levels for quite a long period (4-6 hours), keep that in mind if you have to sleep soon.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “CEREMONIAL GRADE” AND “CULINARY GRADE” MATCHA?
Upon harvesting, the leaves are graded according to their taste, flavor and aroma properties. With a premium grade (or ceremonial grade) of matcha, only the youngest, greenest and most delicate leaves are used. This enhances the natural sweetness of the tea, leaves no traces of bitterness, and results in a more vibrant green color of matcha.
Additionally, with the higher grades, more care is taken to remove all traces of stems and veins from the tea leaves. This produces a softer, lighter tea powder that produces more froth when whisked and again more natural sweetness compared to the cooking grades.
Thirdly, with higher grades of matcha, they are stone ground using only traditional granite grinding blocks, which produce oly 30-40g of matcha powder per hour. This is the way matcha has been produced for centuries, and is still done this way today to produce matcha powders unique structure.
MATCHA VS REGULAR GREEN TEA
It’s been asked before and it’ll be asked again – what exactly is the difference between matcha green tea and regular green tea? Regular green tea yields its own health benefits and many drinkers already benefit from their daily cuppa. So why matcha?
The difference lies in the growth and production of matcha tea powder. As mentioned above, matcha plants are grown in the shade and then covered before harvest, enhancing its production of chlorophyll and amino acids. The harvested leaves are laid out to dry, de-veined and de-stemmed and finally ground to a fine powder – the final product we know as matcha.
The increased chlorophyll, amino acids as well as the concentration of green tea properties in powder form ensures that matcha is highly potent compared to regular green tea leaves.
In fact, one cup of matcha green tea has 4.3 times the amount of amino acids compared to regular brewed green tea, and the equivalent nutritional content of 10 cups of green tea.
WHY IS MATCHA EXPENSIVE COMPARED TO OTHER TEAS?
Matcha by it’s very method of production is very time consuming, and therefore a more costly tea to produce than regular tea. The shading of the tea fields takes labour, the harvesting by hand, the grading of the tea leaves after harvesting. The stone grinding on hand carved granite blocks.
All these steps require more labour, time and therefore add more cost.
When you are consuming matcha green tea, you are also getting the equivalent of 10 cups of regular brewed green tea. So if you are drinking green tea mainly for the health benefits, it works out very reasonably priced.
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT MATCHA I SHOULD PURCHASE?
With no industry standard or benchmark available, it’s hard to be certain you’re purchasing ceremonial-grade matcha, especially if you plan on drinking it purely for health benefits. A simple rule of thumb is not to go cheap.
After a lot of researching, I purchased Kenko’s Organic Premium-Grade Matcha Green Tea on Amazon for $31.99/1oz after I couldn’t find a premium grade locally. I use their culinary-grade Matcha as well. Expensive, but so worth it.
It is important to do your own research!!! You should find what’s right for you.
HOW SHOULD I STORE MATCHA?
The most important thing is to keep matcha airtight, away from direct sunlight, and in a cool dark and dry environment.
If you plan to keep your matcha for a longer period, the fridge or freezer will keep it fresher for longer.
If you consume it regularly, then a cool cupboard would be fine also.
WILL IT HELP ME LOSE WEIGHT?
Possibly. Matcha and green tea have been shown to have metabolism boosting effects, shown to increase energy levels and can suppress appetite.