We’ve all heard that green tea is healthy, but did you know that when you throw out your tea leaves most of the nutrients go with them? Enter matcha green tea.
Matcha is a Japanese green tea powder, made from finely ground green tea leaves. Because matcha is enjoyed mixed with water (or milk if a matcha latte is more your thing), you end up drinking the whole leaf and all of its green goodness. In fact, matcha is said to have the nutritional value of up to 10 cups of regular green tea and up to 137 times the antioxidants of regular green tea. So basically it’s green tea, but on steroids!!!
What are the health benefits of matcha green tea?
Matcha might be new to the café scene, but the Japanese have been drinking it for years, and there’s good reason.
- Keeps you fighting fit. Matcha is loaded with powerful antioxidants, including the ‘rockstar’ antioxidant catechins, linked to fighting cancer, viruses and heart disease.
- You will be a zen master. Matcha contains an amino acid called L-theanine, which has a calming effect on the body. It’s no surprise that Japanese Zen Buddhists have used matcha as a meditation aid for centuries.
- Keeps your weight in check. Drinking matcha regularly has been shown to boost metabolism and increase the rate your body burns calories. A study featured in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming matcha increased calorie burn from a normal 8%-10% of daily energy expenditure, to between 35% and 43% of daily energy expenditure…bet that got your attention!
- Be alert but not alarmed: Not ready to give up caffeine? No worries! With 25-30mg of caffeine per gram, matcha will give you that little something something without the edge you sometimes get from coffee, making it the perfect afternoon pick me up.
Mmmm…seems like this could be a ‘matcha’ made in heaven!!!
Is all matcha created equal?
All green teas, even organic ones, can contain trace amounts of lead and toxic chemicals that have been absorbed from the environment. Say whaaaaaat?
Before you take yourself off to the hospital with a case of lead poisoning, listen up. Like I said earlier, when traditional green tea is brewed, most of the nutrients (along with the contamination) stay in the tea leaves. But matcha…well that’s another story. Because matcha contains the whole leaf, you also consume 100% of any contamination.
But rest assured you can enjoy matcha without the threat of an untimely death. Studies have shown that Japanese matcha is free from any nasties. You can read more about that here.
Oh and watch out for matcha with additives and fillers like sugar and skim milk powder. The matcha based green tea latte at Starbucks has a whopping 54g of sugar…and that’s before any sweetener is added!!!
Where can you buy matcha?
You can find matcha in the tea section of your local health food store, Asian supermarket or online.
Here at You Totally Got This HQ I have been using matcha from Matcha Maiden, which is certified organic and sourced from Kyoto in Japan.
How do I make matcha green tea?
Traditionally Matcha green tea is prepared using a bowl and a bamboo whisk. Sorry, what’s that… oh you have misplaced your bamboo whisk? No worries, just add a teaspoon of matcha to hot water, stir until the powder has dissolved and wa-lah…matcha tea!
But if you’re a hipster a matcha latte is more your style, that’s easy too. Just simmer ¾ cup of milk (any type will do….my fav is almond milk) in a small pot over a medium to high heat. Then in a mug, stir 1 teaspoon of matcha with ¼ cup of hot water and once the powder has dissolved pour the milk over the top whisking as you go. You’ll end up with a thick and frothy latte that will even have coffee drinkers ‘green’ with envy.
It’s a healthy coffee alternative…
But don’t be fooled by the use of the word matcha and latte together…matcha does not taste like coffee. Matcha green tea has a strong earthy flavour… code for ‘it really tastes like freshly cut grass’. If you like green tea, chances are you will like matcha as it has the same flavour, only fuller and stronger. If you are not a green tea fan, it may not be an instant hit. But give it a couple of cups…just like grass…it may just grow on you!
You want the benefits of matcha, but don’t like the taste?
The good news is you can add matcha to just about anything…food, drinks and desserts…matcha muffin anyone? Matcha gives food a vivid green colour, without an overpowering taste. So it’s the perfect way to enjoy all the nutritional benefits of matcha, even if it’s not your cup of tea. Check out this recipe for matcha key lime slice, its seriously delicious.
Is it a keeper?
Have I lost weight, nah, do I still drink coffee…hell yeah! But I’ve still managed to form a matcha a day habit. I find drinking a cup of matcha in the middle of my work day keeps me calm and focussed, and as a green tea fan I love the fuller and creamier taste of matcha. Oh and just in case the health benefits are not enough to convince you to try it…matcha spiked recipes look great on an Instagram page. Bring on the likes baby!
Have you gone mad for matcha? Let me know how you enjoy your matcha in the comments below.
This isn’t a sponsored post, I really did find my match in matcha. Matcha Maiden is available online for $24.95 and is stocked in specialty stores all over Australia and overseas.