What is Matcha?
Matcha tea comes from Japan and is a very common drink among Asian cultures. In fact, it is the tea of choice during traditional ceremonies. What makes matcha, a brightly colored green tea (thanks to chlorophyll), unique is that the entire leaf is ground into a fine powder to make the tea; with other forms of tea, you steep the leaves, discard, and drink the remaining water. However, with matcha, because you’re consuming the entire leaf, you’ll consume more nutrients that deliver health benefits such as:
One of the biggest perks of matcha tea is a catechin known as EGCG, which acts like an antioxidant that may help prevent cancer and heart disease. Matcha has three times more antioxidants than other forms of green tea.
The caffeine content of matcha will vary depending on the type and the amount that is used in each cup. A suggested half to 1 teaspoon of powder per serving will provide with somewhere between 34-70 milligrams of caffeine. That means that matcha has half the amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee. The powder also contains the amino acid L-theanine, which has a relaxing effect on the mind. Furthermore, research suggests that L-theanine paired with caffeine may also have mood-boosting properties.
Matcha Preparation Tips
To make a cup of matcha, you will need just a bowl, tea (bamboo) whisk, and a teaspoon. Measure out your desired amount of matcha powder, and add it to the bowl. Heat up either water or milk, and add a small amount of the hot liquid to the bowl. Whisk until a thick paste forms and no clumps remain. Pour this paste into the pot you used to heat the liquid, and continue to whisk until you reach a smooth, frothy consistency. Pour into your mug and enjoy.
Don’t feel limited to just tea as you can incorporate matcha powder in a lot of things, like smoothies, cakes, cookies, and ice cream. Here are a few creative ways to use this powder:
• Make homemade matcha ice cream. Combine reduced-fat plain yogurt (don’t use nonfat as the fat helps prevent ice/water crystals from forming) with some honey or syrup in a bowl. Whisk in some matcha and sprinkle in a dash of cinnamon. Mix well, and pour the mixture into a bread pan, cover, and place in the freezer overnight.
• Jazz up your breakfast by making matcha oatmeal. Simply add one teaspoon of matcha to half a cup of oats and prepare as usual with milk or water. Finish it off with the topping of your choice, like chopped almonds or pecans, berries, or shredded unsweetened coconut.