I became interested in Matcha Green Tea or ” fine powder tea ” a couple of years ago, when I paid a short visit to my friend Gina who lives in London. As we all know, British people are well- known tea lovers and drinking tea in the afternoons has been a part of their tradition for centuries.We have all probably heard about the strong antioxidant properties of regular green tea.
I have recently discovered that Matcha Green Tea is 100 times richer in antioxidants than regular green tea. Matcha green tea has become very popular recently due to its immense heath benefits and a unique flavor. I was surprised to discover that Chinese people used it in its present form as early as in the 10th century, although the best quality matcha actually comes from Japan, where it is widely grown and cultivated.
How is Matcha Tea produced and how does it differ from other sorts of tea?
Like other true sorts of tea, Matcha is also made from the Camellia Sinensis plant but the way it is grown, harvested and produced differs from other green teas, giving it a very special taste and unique health benefits.
Unlike other teas, the best quality matcha is hand- picked in spring, only once in a year, most commonly in May. The tea fields are shaded from the top with black vinyl sheets, straw or bamboo approximately 40 days before harvesting.
This procedure slowly limits the amount of sunshine in order to boost the process of photosynthesis in the leaves. As a result of this, the amounts of chlorophyll and amino acids increase in the leaves, giving them a dark green color. These new leaves grown in the shade are very delicate and thin and they are high in glutamates, substances that give them a rich, intense aroma. This high quality matcha has a sweet taste and it is not bitter whatsoever.
Only the youngest, most tender and finest leaves are picked, followed by the long and laborious process of de-stemming and de-veining. After this, the leaves are steamed to maintain the precious nutrients and the rich green color. At this stage, the tea leaves are called tencha.
They are completely dried using heated blowers, then refrigerated before the final product is obtained. The last stage is grinding of tencha, which is done with the help of huge, granite, slowly rotating wheels. That is how we get a very fine powder that we know as macha, or literally translated “ground tea”. In order to get 30 grams of this precious powder, the worker has to grind laboriously for more than an hour.
Health Benefits Of Matcha
It is super rich in antioxidants
Antioxidants are nutrients that protect our skin and internal organs from the health-damaging free radicals that can cause a number of serious diseases.
Furthermore, macha tea contains a special type of antioxidants, called catechins, that are famous for their anti-cancer properties. Actually, matcha contains 100 times more of these nutrients than any other tea.
It helps us feel calm and relaxed
This property of Matcha Green Tea has been known to Chinese and Japanese monks for centuries. They have been using it to achieve a high level of consciousness and inner peace while being mentally alert at the same. How is this achieved? Actually, it is the L-Theanine amino acid that helps the production of alpha waves in the brain. This promotes the feeling of inner calm without drowsiness.
It improves memory and focus
Another characteristic of L-Theanine amino acid is that it also produces serotonin and dopamine, two hormones that improve our mood and memory and increase our concentration.
It increases our energy and endurance
Matcha green tea is also known for boosting our energy levels. The ancient Japanese warriors Samurai, drank it before battles. This property of matcha is due to its caffeine content, but also to the specific blend of other nutrients. It is said that a bowl of Matcha green tea can increase strength and energy levels up to 6 hours. Unlike other stimulants, there is no hypertension and a nervous feeling with Matcha due to the calming effects of L-Theanine.
It helps us lose weight
Matcha green tea increases our metabolism by burning fat four times faster than normal, without the negative side-effects.
It flushes out toxins from our body
The high content of chlorophyll in Matcha Green Tea provides powerful detoxifying properties. This means that toxins and heavy metals will be naturally flushed out of our system by drinking this tea.
It strengthens the immune system
The catechins, or special type of antioxidants contained in Matcha Green Tea, have antibiotic properties that contribute to our health.
Matcha is also has a high amount of Vitamins A and C, protein, calcium and potassium that promote the health of our bones, skin, eyes and cardiovascular system.
It lowers cholesterol levels
Studies have shown that regular intake of Matcha Green Tea lowers the levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol.
It has a unique taste
Good quality Matcha has a very specific, deep, herbal aroma by itself and it is also naturally sweet, so it not necessary to add anything to it to improve its taste. You can drink it hot or cold, or you can extend your culinary imagination by mixing it into cocktails, lattes and cookies and adding Matcha Green Tea to savory dishes. I would just like to give you a piece of advice regarding tea: let the boiling water sit for 5 minutes before adding it to Matcha Green tea to obtain the best flavor.
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