What’s All the Hype About Matcha?!
Matcha is only the latest trend in America, but don’t be fooled it has been long revered in the Eastern hemisphere. The now “it” powder was first discovered in China, and in the 11th century was brought to Japan by a Japanese Buddhist Monk, Eisai. Along with the tea seeds, he brought the Zen Buddhist methods of preparing the powdered green tea.
Since then, Zen Buddhists have refined the method for cultivating the green tea plant. Thus, forming the Japanese Tea Ceremony. The traditional tea ceremony which includes the cultivation, consumption, and ceremony of the idolized tea was formalized by a Zen student, Murata Juko. Zen Master, Sen-no-Rikyu, who is well known for popularizing the Zen student’s method has formed the basic principles of the Japanese Tea Ceremony called “Chado” or “Sado” (meaning “The Way of Tea.”)
These four basic principles are:
(Read more about the history of match here)
Now that we have delved into the history of matcha, acknowledge it’s background and meaning— we can proceed to why this long traditional beverage has become the latest craze.
What is Matcha?
It is a type of green tea, that instead of steeping the leaves into hot water — the tea leaves are harvested in the shade (to preserve its nutrients) and ground up to a fine powder. The finest matcha comes from Japan, where it has been grown for centuries.
What are the benefits of Matcha?
Because matcha is a form of green tea, it contains many of the same benefits.
Here are the following benefits of Matcha
Matcha is full of antioxidants, specifically, EGCG
Contains L-theanine which helps to reduce anxiety and prolong energy throughout the day
Like coffee it contains caffeine and provides an “alert calmness”, but unlike coffee you don't get that jittery feeling or find yourself crashing midday
Boosts metabolism and promotes weight loss
Rich in fiber, chlorophyll, and vitamins such as vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc, and magnesium
Helps fight cancer cells
Lowers bad LDL cholesterol and blood sugar which helps prevents heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
What are the risks of Matcha?
Like everything in life, there are always risks.. Too much consumption can trigger headaches, insomnia, irritability, diarrhea, and heart burn. Limit yourself to one to two cups a day to reap the benefits.
Because matcha involves ingesting the entire tea leaf, the origin of the matcha powder that you purchase is extremely important for your safety.
The highest quality matcha comes from the southern regions of Japan — and it is traditionally safe to buy matcha that originated in Japan.
Matcha that is bright, vivid green, and has a fine powdery consistency is said to be good-quality, anything that has a yellow tint and course will not only taste bad, but most likely unsafe.
Good quality matcha will cost you over $25 for a standard 30 gram tin, and because it has become so popular in the US, some are prepared with lots of added sugar so be mindful when picking out your matcha
How to Prepare…
Heat 1-2 cups of almond milk (or your milk of choice or even water will do) over the stove — remove right before it starts to boil.
Pour the heated milk into a blender
Add 1 tsp of (ceremonial grade) matcha powder into the same blender
(optional) for a little added sweetness, add 1 tsp maple syrup
Pour in your favorite mug, and enjoy.