It is traditional in East Asia to drink matcha, which is a finely powdered powder made from carefully cultivated and processed green tea leaves. Matcha is made from green tea leaves that have been shade-grown for three to four weeks before harvest; during processing, the stems and veins are removed. The Camellia sinensis plant generates more theanine and caffeine while it is growing in shade. Since it is floating in a liquid, usually water or milk, matcha powder is ingested differently from tea leaves or tea bags.
Matcha is prepared, served, and consumed as a hot tea as part of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, which expresses a contemplative spirituality. Modern delicacies like mochi and soba noodles, green tea ice cream, matcha lattes, and a variety of Japanese wagashi confectionaries are all colored and flavored with matcha. Ceremonial-grade matcha is used in ceremonies, which denotes that the powder is of a caliber that permits usage in the tea ceremony. Culinary-grade matcha is lower-quality matcha, however, there is no accepted definition or standard for matcha in the business.
Because the entire leaf is consumed in matcha rather than simply the infused water, it differs from other varieties of green tea. This indicates that matcha has greater levels of antioxidants, caffeine, and L-theanine, a substance that helps people relax. Matcha is also renowned for its unusual, vivid green hue and its umami-rich flavor. As a healthy ingredient to smoothies, lattes, and desserts, it has gained popularity recently.
Tea leaves were boiled and made into bricks during the Tang period (618–907) in China for commerce and storage. To make the tea, the leaves were roasted and ground into a powder, which was then brewed with hot water and salt. Making powdered tea by steaming dried tea leaves and mixing the powdered tea and hot water combined in a bowl to make the beverage became popular during the Song dynasty (960–1279).
Chan Buddhists developed powdered tea preparation and eating as a ritual. The protocol for tea ceremonies is covered in detail in the earliest existing Chan monastic canon, known as Chanyuan Qinggui (Rules of Purity for the Chan Monastery, 1103).
In 1191, Eisai brought Zen Buddhism and techniques for making powdered tea to Japan. In Japan, Zen monks began to value it as a necessary commodity, and from the 14th through the 16th century, it was much admired by those in affluent social strata.
Shade-grown tea leaves, which are also used to manufacture gyokuro, are used to make matcha. Matcha preparation lasts up to 20 days and begins several weeks before harvest. During this time, the tea plants are covered to protect them from sunlight. The growth rate is slowed, chlorophyll levels are stimulated to rise, the leaves turn a deeper shade of green, and amino acids, including theanine, are produced. Gyokuro (jade dew) tea may be produced by rolling the leaves after harvesting and drying them, just like with sencha. However, the leaves will start to crumble a little bit if they are spread out flat to dry; this is called tencha. Tencha can then be deveined, de-stemmed, and stone-ground into matcha, a fine, talc-like powder that is vivid green in color.
The mill stones must not get too heated to prevent the leaves scent from being changed, therefore grinding the leaves takes a long time. 30 grams of matcha may take up to an hour to ground.
The amino acids in matcha are what give it its distinctive flavor. Compared to the ordinary or coarser grades of tea grown later in the year, the best grades of matcha have a more intense sweetness and deeper flavor.
Since green tea leaves are not kneaded but rather are allowed to dry, Tencha refers to green tea leaves that have not yet been crushed into fine powder as matcha. Tencha tea produces a light green brew when it is brewed because the cell walls of the leaves are still present. This tea has a mellower flavor than other green tea extracts, and only the best tencha leaves can provide the richest flavor. Since tencha leaves weigh half as much as other tea leaves like sencha and gyokuro, most tencha brews call for two times as many leaves. Matcha requires an hour to ground 40 to 70 g of tencha leaves, and matcha does not stay as fresh as tencha in powder form for as long since powder starts to oxidize. The Japanese tea ceremony typically forbids the consumption and brewing of tencha.
Here are matcha tea health advantages.
High in antioxidants
Catechins, a group of plant chemicals found in tea that function as natural antioxidants, are abundant in matcha.
Hazardous free radicals, which are substances that can destroy cells and result in chronic illness, are stabilized by antioxidants.
All the nutrients from the whole leaf are included in the tea when matcha powder is added to hot water to produce tea. Compared to merely brewing green tea leaves in water, it usually contains more antioxidants and catechins.
May help protect the liver
The liver is essential for good health and is involved in digesting nutrients, metabolizing medications, and eliminating pollutants.
Boosts brain function
According to some studies, several of matcha’s ingredients may improve brain health. L-theanine, another substance found in matcha, modifies the effects of caffeine, enhancing alertness and preventing the energy slump that might occur after consuming caffeine.
Additionally, L-theanine has been demonstrated to boost brain alpha wave activity, which may aid in promoting relaxation and lowering stress levels.
May help prevent cancer
Matcha is bursting with nutrients that are good for you, some of which have been linked in lab and animal studies to the prevention of cancer.
May promote heart health
The largest cause of mortality in the world, heart disease is thought to be responsible for one-third of all fatalities in adults over the age of 35.
According to some studies, drinking green tea, which has a matcha-like nutritional profile, may help prevent heart disease.
Matcha consumption may support a healthy heart and illness prevention when accompanied by a balanced diet and active lifestyle.
Helps you lose weight
There is a strong possibility that you will see “green tea extract” included in the ingredients of any weight-loss pill you look at.
The efficacy of green tea to facilitate weight reduction is widely documented. In fact, research suggests that it may aid in accelerating the metabolism to raise energy expenditure and enhance fat burning.
Matcha originates from the same plant as green tea and should have the same effects, even though most of this research was on green tea extract.
Due to its anti-inflammatory qualities, matcha may help lessen inflammatory reactions inside the body. People who suffer from inflammatory disorders including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other similar ailments may find this helpful.
Beyond being a beverage, matcha has many other uses. The following are some more uses for matcha:
1. Culinary uses – To create a distinctive, umami-rich flavor and brilliant green color, matcha can be used in baking and cooking. Matcha is frequently used in baking, ice cream, and lattes, among other dishes. Additionally, it may be included in yogurt, smoothies, and even savory foods.
2. Skincare – Matcha is a great ingredient for skincare products because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capabilities. It may be used to serums, washes, and facial masks to make the skin seem more radiant and feel softer.
3. Hair Care – The hair may be nourished and strengthened with the aid of matcha by using it in hair care products. For further advantages, it can be added to shampoos, conditioners, and hair masks.
4. Dyeing – Matcha powder’s vivid green hue may also be utilized as a natural dye for textiles and yarns.
5. Relaxation – L-theanine, which is included in matcha, can encourage feelings of relaxation, which may be helpful for those who are anxious or stressed out.
In addition, matcha may be utilized to add a distinctive, organic look to candles, soaps, and other home goods.
Matcha has many uses, however, some of them could need handling or preparation to be secure and efficient. To obtain the greatest effects, use matcha consistently in the recommended quantity and manner.
- In comparison to normally brewed tea, matcha is 137 times more powerful.
- Compared to coffee, matcha has more caffeine.
- Matcha enhances focus without giving you hiccups.
- L-theanine, an amino acid found in matcha, soothes the mind and relaxes the body without making one drowsy.
- Matcha increases metabolism and helps you burn calories, according to studies. Regular matcha drinkers have metabolic rates that are 35–40% greater.
- Bad breath may be treated with matcha.
- Due to the dietary fiber present in matcha green tea, it may help maintain normal blood sugar levels.
- Due to the high quantities of antioxidants in green tea leaves, particularly catechin, which may combat free radicals, matcha may reduce the aging process.
- Matcha includes catechins that block angiotensin, which may promote healthy blood pressure because it supports healthy blood pressure.
- Although many are a part of the latte trend, milk neutralizes the action of catechin, preventing certain advantages. Matcha is better without dairy.
In conclusion, matcha is a distinctive and adaptable green tea powder that has been loved for generations in Japan and is becoming more and more well-known worldwide. Matcha is an intriguing and pleasurable product that provides a variety of ways to consume it as well as a wide range of benefits.