Matcha Tea Benefits
We are continuing our ‘healthy January’ with Matcha Tea Benefits, a beverage that has been in the spotlight for some time now. Matcha Tea can help you lose weight. And there’s proof of it too. Yet before this new, amazing craze was sweeping the nation (and the entire world for that matter), Matcha Tea was a humble beverage with close ties to ancient Japanese culture.
This still rings true today, although its recent resurgence has meant that Matcha has had to adapt to a new social climate. Its adapted well, in fact. However, to fully understand this tea, we must first explore it in its entirety. This means travelling back over a thousand years to when it was first created and then moving through the ages as this delicious brew changes with time.
What is Matcha Green Tea?
It could be argued that Matcha Tea isn’t a ‘tea type’ in its own right. It is, in fact, Green Tea. But this Green Tea is unique, it has taken on different characteristics owing to its processing method. In order to make a quality Matcha Tea, the Camellia sinensis plant must be shade grown for at least two weeks before harvesting can take place.
This, in turn, allows the leaves to produce larger quantities of amino acids and chlorophyll. These are vital compounds found in Matcha. The leaves are then picked, dried, and ground into fine powder, although it’s also important to note that Matcha uses the whole leaf, unlike regular Green Teas. This means that all the nutrients and antioxidants of the leaf are ingested.
Amazingly, the antioxidant strength of Green Matcha Tea is said to be 137 times more than that of standard Green Tea, the most important antioxidant compound is epigallocatechin gallate, but we’ll get to that later.
History of Matcha
Matcha Tea has long been a staple ingredient closely associated with Japanese Tea Ceremonies. However, it actually originated from China, not Japan. This dates back to at least the 10th Century CE, although records are scarce. In fact, the mystery surrounding this brew is very similar to numerous other teas including Sencha Green Tea, Earl Grey Tea, and Lapsang Souchong, and this is just to name a few.
But what we do know about this delicious beverage is that, sometime during the 12th Century CE; perhaps in 1191 CE according to some records; Green Tea was brought from China to Japan by a Zen Monk called Eisai. It is said that Eisai was the first to experiment with Green Tea in powder form, an experiment that eventually took the world by storm. The now-world-renowned Zen Monk was famous for saying that Matcha Green Tea is:
“The ultimate mental and medical remedy and has the ability to make one’s life more full and complete”. We couldn’t agree more.
Matcha Tea Ceremony
Considered a quiet celebration performed with grace and beauty, the Matcha Tea ceremony was a popular pastime in 17th Century Japan. The aim of a Matcha Tea ceremony was, and still is, to find one’s spiritual balancing; cleansing the body and the mind. Yet you don’t need to go back in time to practice this.
The Matcha Tea ceremony still remains an integral part of Japanese culture today, and can be appreciated in the comfort of your own home providing you follow these steps:
- First, everything must be cleaned. This includes all the utensils used during the ceremony, as well as the room itself, which is known as the ‘machiai’.
- Once everything is clean, formalities may begin. To start, guests are greeted with a single bow from the host. Following this, the guests are asked to advance towards the host. It is not uncommon for the ground to be covered in dew as part of a cleansing ritual, symbolising the removal of dust from the world.
- Following on from the cleansing side of the ritual, both the host and the guests must wash their hands and face in a stone basin for the art of purification. Extra care is taken when cleaning the mouth.
- This is followed by a small amount of hot (but not boiling) water.
- The brewing can then, and only then, commence. The host will begin this by gracefully adding one to three scoops of Matcha Green Tea per guest into an often-homemade group bowl.
- If traditional wagashi sweets or even a meal is not offered beforehand, which sometimes occurs at this stage of the ceremony, then the host will once again check that all the utensils are clean and ready for use.
- The host will then stir the Matcha Powder with a Matcha Bamboo Whisk until the bright green liquor is almost, but not quite ready for consumption.
- When the matcha powder reaches the right consistency, additional hot water is added and then whisked once more, producing a thick, rich Matcha Green Tea.
With formalities largely complete, both the host and the guest may enjoy their tea at their leisure.
"When it comes to the utensils used during this Japanese Matcha Tea ceremony, it is important to know each one by its ceremonial name and at what point you should use it."
- First, we look at sieves, which are used to get rid of clumps in the fine powder. Meanwhile, wooden spatulas help to force the powder through the sieve with greater ease.
- Then you have the ceremonial bowl, as mentioned above, which is called a Chawan. This is often made of wood or even stone.
- Taking the prepared matcha to the ceremonial room requires the use of a chaki, a specially designed caddy.
- Next, you have a Chashaku, this item is essentially a bamboo scoop used to measure the exact amount of Matcha to be added to the Chawan.
- Finally, make sure you have a Matcha Bamboo Whisk to be used when dissolving the powder into the hot water. Once you have all of these utensils, you can then try hosting your own Matcha Tea ceremony.
Matcha Tea Benefits
We are all busy these days, and as nice as it sounds, many of us might not have time for ceremonial preparations of Matcha Tea. But that’s okay, because spirituality aside, this beverage is renowned for its incredible medicinal qualities. As stated previously, Matcha Tea contains high concentrations of EGCG, an antioxidant well-known for combating free radicals in the body.
Free radicals are unpaired electrons and are also the product of human oxidation. When left unchecked, free radicals can wreak havoc on the body, increasing the risks of complications such as heart disease and even cancers. While the Jury’s still out on the potential anti-cancer properties of Matcha Tea Benefits, it is, on the other hand, a known fact that this wonder brew can improve cardiovascular health. This is thanks to our little friend, EGCG, which can neutralise the pesky free radicals known for ravaging the cardiovascular system.
Furthermore, when consumed as part of a healthy and active lifestyle, this beverage can do so much more. According to science, Matcha Tea Benefits is something of a ‘miracle supplement, and this is why.
Haven’t dared go on the scales since Christmas? Be more confident with Matcha Tea at your side. A research paper published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition stated that just one cup of Matcha a day.
“might be useful in the prevention and improvement of lifestyle-related diseases, mainly obesity”.
Intricate research from many other scientific institutes has suggested that the EGCG content found within Matcha Green Tea may have the ability to boost the metabolism during moderate exercise routines. This, in turn, enhances the body’s capacity for weight loss. One particular study suggested that Matcha Powder drinkers increased their fat burning capabilities by 17% during a cycling exercise that lasted 30 minutes. Another study established that consuming Matcha Green Tea can increase thermogenesis (the body’s own rate of burning calories) from a normal 8-10% of daily energy expenditure to between 35% and 43% of daily energy expenditure.
So, providing the consumer eats healthily and remains active in his or her life, Matcha Tea Benefits may be the answer to finally getting that desired ‘summer body’.
Increased Mental Alertness
A common question we are asked is: does Matcha Tea contain caffeine? The answer is yes, just like regular Green Tea. Except, much like almost every other quality of this beverage, there is a slight difference. Matcha actually has higher concentrations of caffeine owing to the processing method applied to the making of this tea. However, this processing method likewise offers equally high concentrations of a natural substance known as theanine.
Combined, these two components release energy at a much slower rate. Ultimately, this means that one cup of Matcha can maintain your energy levels throughout the day without the crash so commonly experienced with coffee consumption. It should also be noted that, unlike coffee, Matcha Green Tea Powder rarely causes side effects such as jitteriness and sleeplessness. In fact, Matcha drinkers have often described their experiences with the brew as ‘calm, but alert’. As a result, many people are already making the switch.
Reduced the Risk of Type II Diabetes
This particularly special Matcha Tea Benefit is not just associated with Matcha Tea, but with all green teas in general. This is following a 2006 Japanese Study which established that people who consumed up to 6 cups of any green tea variety a day were 33% less likely to develop Type II Diabetes. This was supported by another study which clearly stated that
“the frequency of Green Tea and Matcha Tea consumption was inversely associated with a lowered risk of Type II Diabetes”.
Furthermore, yet another study conducted at the Toyama University Comprehensive Chinese Medicine Research Institute found that Matcha Tea was better at lowering blood sugar than normal green tea.
This was due to chemical compounds found in Matcha which are also aided by higher amounts of fibre. However, The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company await further research before fully endorsing the use of matcha tea for reducing the risk of Type II Diabetes. Until more is known, we recommend you seek a medical consultation prior to consuming Matcha Tea for this reason.
Immune System Health
Still trying to shake off a Christmas cold? Take the fight to your system with Matcha Green Tea Powder. A wonderful cocktail of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, this beverage can not only boost the immune system during times of illness, but likewise strengthen it, thus reducing the likelihood of getting unwell so soon after your initial recovery.
Matcha Tea contains calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamins A and C. Together with the EGCG content found in this brew, you will be back to your normal self in no time at all!
Where can I get Matcha Powder?
Right here, of course. What’s more, The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company have a wide range of different Matcha Tea Powders to suit varying tastes.
We have our traditional Matcha Powder; a brew that offers everything you’d expect from reading this blog, or perhaps even more. We also have our China Organic Taishan Matcha Tea for those who prefer Chinese Matcha over Japanese Matcha. This particular tea comes from the Tai Shan Tea plantation located to the north of the Zhejiang Province. It is known for its robust character with tart notes. If you would instead like to go down the slightly herbaceous route then please consider our Peppermint Matcha Tea. Alternatively, there is Bombay Chai Matcha Tea for an extra spicy kick!
Want something a little different? Why not try our Matcha Genmaicha? This tea is a blend of Matcha, Sencha, and toasted rice kernels (yes, you read that correctly). It is known for its sweet, nutty notes and produces a unique cloudy-green liquor. Next, we have our White Kenya Matcha Tea for anyone sensitive to high quantities of caffeine. White Kenya Matcha, like many other Matcha Teas, boasts fresh, grassy, and mildly earthy notes. However, unlike other similar brews, it contains much less caffeine thanks to the use of powdered white tea instead of powdered green tea.
Last but certainly not least, we have our extremely popular Organic Yerba Mate Matcha Tea. Yerba Mate, be it powdered or regular leaf form, is said to have around 90% more antioxidant strength than green tea, making this particular beverage a great choice for any of our especially health-conscious customers.
How to Make Matcha Tea
Now that you’ve chosen which Matcha Tea you would like from our selection, it’s finally time to brew up and enjoy. The simplest way to enjoy this tea outside of a ceremony involves whisking the Matcha with hot water and serving it in a bowl or, more commonly these days, a regular cup.
Consider it a Matcha Tea ceremony without the ‘ceremony’ bit! This makes a smooth and frothy drink with a natural sweetness that isn’t bitter or harsh.
- Add a scoop of Matcha to your bowl (½ a teaspoon).
- Add a small amount of warm water (not boiling or it will burn the leaves).
- Whisk it using a traditional bamboo whisk or an electric handheld whisk until frothy.
- Top up your Matcha beverage with warm water.
- Sit back, relax, and enjoy your delicious Matcha Tea brew.
Don’t limit yourself to just using Matcha as a tea! There are numerous recipes that can use matcha for added flavour. Consider adding it to your porridge, cereal, or yoghurt. Other ideas involve cakes, ice creams, and biscuits, the choice is endless. However, our favourite will always be brewed Matcha Tea. We think it’ll be yours, too.