What is matcha Tea? What is the difference between matcha tea and normal green tea? Where to buy it? How to make it? And the list of questions can go on. Not so long ago, my lovely client asked me whether she can substitute coffee with matcha tea? I had to excuse my answer until I did my own research into the product, making sure that it is not one of those ‘commercial superfoods’ that has a placebo effect. Fortunately, my assumptions were invalid and matcha tea is indeed a super drink with super health benefits!
I am a huge fan of green tea, especially knowing the health benefits on the skin, heart, immune system and I also love it for the anti-aging properties. Perhaps that is why you would never give me the age I actually am! Having then discovered matcha, I learnt that one cup of matcha is equivalent to 10-20 cups of high quality brewed green tea (not your ordinary tea bag). This super product from Japan may just have the potential to make me look forever young!
Do you ever wonder why the Japanese have the longest life expectancy? Now it is no longer a nation secret, Matcha is their weapon and we certainly need to catch up on sipping this high quality green tea.
Unlike other tea, matcha is a finely ground powder made from stone-grinding green tea leaves grown under unique conditions. Prior to the spring harvest, matcha fields in specific areas of Japan are gradually covered to reduce the amount of sunlight exposed to the leaves. This process increases the natural amino acid and chlorophyll content in each leaf, which results in matcha’s rich green color, flavor and nutritional value. After this shading process is complete, the leaves are handpicked, each leaf is de-veined from its stem, and the meaty part of the leaves are then steamed, dried and then ground by granite stone mills into the ultra-fine powder that is matcha. What process do you think does your Lipton green tea bag undergo…? (Pun intended).
The lengthy and detailed process makes the product on the market rather pricey compared to any other high quality tea. Furthermore, the harvest of the leaves only happens once a year in May, therefore limited supply increases the price even further.
What are the benefits of this pricey tea then?
Because you are consuming the whole leaf, you are consuming 100% of the nutrients. In comparison to normal green tea, after it has been dried, fermented, steeped only 10%-20% of the nutrients are consumed. Matcha is therefore a nutritional powerhouse with tremendous benefits: 100% pure leaf = 100% nutrition + 100% natural energy.
Immune System Boost and Anti-ageing effect
Due to various studies, matcha contains approximately 137 times the catechins found in regular green tea. Catechins are a type of antioxidant, which have an antiviral and antibacterial effect on a variety of sickness-causing microbodies. Therefore drinking matcha tea can help eliminate various infections, moreover the antioxidants provide protection from harmful free radicals, which are the molecules responsible for aging, tissue damage and even some inflammatory diseases. Antioxidants are also known to increase metabolism, control blood sugar and lower cholesterol.
Healthy and Happy Heart
The catechins found in matcha tea help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and can help fight atherosclerosis. Matcha relaxes the blood vessels, allowing a less constricted flood thus protecting the heart from various diseases.
Improves Cognitive Function
Matcha contains a large number of important amino acids. L-theanine in particular is an amino acid that stimulates the production of alpha wave activity in the brain, resulting in a state of calm alertness. This duality of L-Theanine naturally promotes relaxation while heightening concentration. The amino acid is also known to reduce anxiety and enhance mood. When combined in matcha, L-Theanine and caffeine work together to produce a sustained and focused energy, lasting up to six hours.
Matcha’s lush color is due to its abundant chlorophyll, which is known to be a natural detoxifier. Chlorophyll increases the blood's capacity to deliver oxygen and other nutrients to cells within the body. Therefore, it regenerates and cleanses the body at the molecular and cellular levels. Matcha also contains dietary fiber, a detoxifying agent that controls blood sugar and appetite, as well as eases digestion.
Say Bye to Stress!
L-theanine, an amino acid found in large quantities in matcha, stimulates the body’s production of dopamine and tryptophan, which reduce stress and anxiety. Drinking coffee does have its own stimulation effect, however a person may experience a moment of “lull’ which encourages another cup of coffee. This is not experienced after drinking matcha, and you will enjoy a state of ‘calm alertness’ for up to 6 hours.
Now that we are totally convinced matcha is the way forward,
where to buy and how to make it?
I have been advised by many to be very careful when purchasing matcha tea, due to the increasing popularity there is an increasing number of placebo products. We need to make sure it is a ceremonial grade, organic, radioactive tested and obviously produced in Japan. Below are the links where you may consider purchasing your tea:
Alternatively, if you live in Dubai, you can purchase it at the Organic Food & Cafe store for AED 37. This is where I purchased mine, and I am very happy with the quality!
All you need is:1tsp of Matcha tea, 60ml of water, a milk froth for whisking and voila your longevity drink is ready!
I love you so Matcha! Enjoy!