Matcha tea is green tea that has been ground into a fine powder. It goes through unique and special production processes.
2-4 weeks prior to harvest, tea plants are covered and grown in the shade, which causes the plants to produce extraordinary amounts of chlorophyll and L-theanine, giving matcha its unique, vibrant green color and special aroma.
High quality matcha tea is made using exclusively the youngest tea leaves, which are hand-picked, sorted, dried and then ground to a fine powder.
Since we consume the entire, finely ground tea leaf, we reap all the health benefits of green tea. With regular tea consumption, we get merely 10% of the nutrients from steeping the leaves.
Thus, consuming 1 cup of matcha is equal to the health benefits of 10 cups of green tea (antioxidants, vitamins, minerals).
Antioxidants are vitally important compounds that fight free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive atoms in our bodies that may contribute to cancer and they may be responsible for accelerating the aging process and skin damage as well. They can also weaken your immune system and cause damage to DNA and other parts of human cells.
Well-known antioxidants include vitamin A, C and E, beta-carotene, flavonoids, isoflavonoids, phenols, selenium or coenzyme Q10.
The Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity value indicates the antioxidant capacity in foods. Studies have found that 100 grams of coffee has the ORAC value of 2780, while the same amount of matcha has the ORAC value of 137.400!
According to a study conducted by the American Journal, thanks to the high amounts of catechins, matcha has a thermogenic effect (which is just our bodies' natural ability to burn calories), thus consuming matcha tea regularly can increase your daily energy consumption from 8-10% to 35-43%.
A different study by the National Institute of Health found that green tea consumption increases fat burning capacity by 17%. (25%, if consumed right before a workout). This is because the main antioxidant found in matcha tea can help inhibit an enzyme that breaks down a special hormone. Consequently, as the level of this hormone increases, it promotes fat loss.
Moreover, matcha contains extraordinary amounts of chlorophyll that aids detoxification. It also contains easily absorbable dietary fiber, which stabilizes your blood sugar too.
All these properties promote natural weight loss and help you maintain an ideal body weight. You can read more about how matcha can help you lose weight here.
One cup of matcha tea (prepared with 1 gram of matcha powder) contains only 35 milligrams of caffeine, while your average cup of coffee has 95 milligrams.
Thanks to the presence of L-theanine in matcha, caffeine is released gradually into the bloodstream, thus providing you with sustained energy, without a caffeine shock.
L-theanine also has a calming effect, this is called the state of calm alertness. :)
Related article: Matcha or coffee?
When consuming matcha for the first time, it is worth experimenting with how our bodies react to it. It depends on our own personal sensitivity and how well our systems can handle caffeine. We recommend drinking matcha in the morning (not on an empty stomach though), or perhaps in the early afternoon. Start with a serving of 1 or 2 grams of matcha powder.
Find out how to prepare matcha tea the traditional way here. Note that matcha does not dissolve in water on its own, you have to mix intensely, using a bamboo whisk. Alternatively, you can use a shaker, a blender or an electric milk frother. You want to mix until there are no lumps. Sifting your matcha powder first can also help with this.
It is recommended that you drink 1 or 2 servings of matcha per day, 1 serving being 1 or 2 grams of matcha powder.
The secret here is L-theanine. It stimulates the brain’s alpha waves, which causes you to feel focused, conscious and relaxed at the same time. The presence of alpha waves promotes better concentration, you will be more alert and sense the feeling of calmness spreading over you.
High quality matcha tea is made with the utmost care and its production is rather costly. There are limited quantities of matcha available, each year only 2500 tons of matcha is produced, it is as unique and rare as saffron or truffles. It is also super popular in Japan, which means there is less to export.
The price of matcha tea is highly influenced by what type of tea leaves is used and which tea plantation it is from. There is an extremely huge gap between low grade and truly high quality matcha.
Simply put - as with everything else - you have to pay for quality. The same goes for matcha. Don't fall for matcha that is cheap, because you will most likely sacrifice quality. The good news is that 1 gram per day is absolutely enough to reap all the health benefits.
Read this for 5 tips on how to tell if your matcha is good or bad quality.
Origin — Japan
Aroma — fresh, "green-ish"
Color — vibrant green
Price - not too cheap
Label — 100% Japanese matcha tea
Flavor — pleasant, without a bitter aftertaste
Find a detailed comparison here!
Keep matcha tea properly sealed in a cool place - such as the refrigerator - because heat and direct sunlight can deteriorate its quality. Think of it as if it were a fresh vegetable.
According to some studies, cow's milk can inhibit the absorption of the beneficial nutrients and antioxidants of matcha. If you choose to consume matcha as a latte, we recommend some kind of plant milk such as rice, coconut, almond or hazelnut milk, either hot or cold. You can absolutely froth plant milk too if it is heated to the right temperature.
M Matcha teas are all original Japanese matcha tea powders that go through a number of quality assurance processes. They are inspected by EcoPro Research Co.,Ltd., Falco Life Science ltd, Eurofin Sofia GMBH and Saishunkan Reassurance and Safety Lab, the detailed results of which can be found here.
We would like to stress the importance of acquiring matcha powder from a trusted source only, as matcha that comes from dubious sources (such as China or Korea) may be contaminated, for example by lead.