The benefits of Matcha green tea have been reaped by generations of people in some parts of the world, but now its popularity is experiencing a massive growth spurt as people begin to realise that Matcha provides an abundance of health benefits. Of course, there are other green tea products on the market, but the key difference between Matcha and other green teas, is that you consume the whole leaf, and this makes it a more powerful nutrient source. A cup of Matcha can also contain anything up to three times as much caffeine as steeped green tea, and as much as a cup of brewed coffee, without the jitters. Continue reading to discover everything that you need to know about it.
The Roots of Matcha Tea
Matcha green tea comes from the Camellia sinensis plant, which is a woody shrub that comes from China’s southern area. As it is able to produce white, black (known as Red tea in China), green, oolong, and pu-erh tea, the type of tea that is produced is determined by the processing method, the plant variety, and the geographical location of the plant. Unlike traditional green tea, preparing Matcha involves covering the tea plants with a cloth before they are harvested. The purpose of this is to deliver improved texture and taste. After this, leaves are picked by handed, fermentation is halted through a brief steaming process, and then they are stored in a cold place for the purpose of drying and aging. The latter step also enhances the flavour of the tea. The final part of the process is the grounding of the leaves so that they become Matcha green tea powder. There are many components found within the drink that make it so beneficial and delicious. For example, the heightened levels of chlorophyll give it a softer taste, whereas the presence of theanine is believed to improve the concentration and focus of the drinker.
Preparing Matcha Green Tea Powder
The preparation and consumption of Matcha green tea powder were developed into a ritual by Zen Buddhists. Such rituals arrived in Japan around the end of the twelfth century when monks practiced the preparation of Japanese Matcha tea. There is now a global resurgence in Matcha green tea, including in China where powdered tea had slipped out of popular usage for many, many years. In Japan, it maintained its presence as an important item in Zen monasteries, becoming highly appreciated by the upper echelons of society during the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries. But, how do you prepare this delicious tea? You have two main options – Usucha and Koicha. The latter is a thick tea, which requires a full teaspoon of Matcha and about 35-40 ml of water. Usucha is a thin tea, which has a more bitter taste and lighter texture, and this is prepared with double the amount of water and half the amount of Matcha. Many experts advise whisking Usucha for a delicious froth, although this is not a requirement. You may even wish to buy a bamboo whisk if you want to have a truly authentic experience.
Health Benefits of Matcha Tea
Not only will you get a good dose of vitamins and minerals, but also green tea Matcha is rich in polyphenols. These are antioxidants that have been linked to lowering anti-aging and blood pressure as well as providing protection against some cancers and heart disease. ECGC is another important component that is found within Matcha. This has been proven to halt or stop cancer cell growth while also boosting metabolism. Surprisingly, however, this is only the start of the benefits that are associated with Matcha green tea. The preparation of Matcha is often the focus of Japanese tea ceremonies and has long been associated with Zen. The rise in popularity of meditation probably goes some way to explaining the recent surge in popularity Matcha is experiencing. If used as an element of a meditation ritual, the benefits of Matcha extend even further. Meditation in any form presents a myriad of rewards. This includes all of the following; a boost to your self-esteem, reduction in impulsive eating, reduction of inflammation, which is known to trigger premature aging and disease, and a reduction in cortisol, which is a hormone that drives appetite. Matcha also aids with digestion, but it does not substitute digestive products on the market. If you’re experiencing problems such as constipation, turn to the likes of Movicol, which has been designed to provide relief. Matcha is good for boosting overall health, but it is not to be considered a remedy of any kind.
Where to Buy Matcha Green Tea Powder
As with all teas, where you source Matcha from is important. There are a lot of low-cost alternatives that utilise low-grade tea. Tea experts warn that, with Matcha tea, quality is not only key but comes at a cost. Fresh, high-quality Matcha is expensive. Tea bearing a low price tag is often a red flag for poor quality. It is also important to purchase tea from an importer who rotates their stock in order to get only freshly produced tea. The taste of Matcha is strong and, some would say, even vegetable-like with a taste often said to be not dissimilar to spinach. Of course, this also depends on the quality and source that you use. The amino acids present within Matcha dominate its flavour. You will notice a deeper flavour and more intense sweetness with the highest grades of Matcha when compared with the coarser grades of tea, which are harvested later in the year. Because of its strong taste, Matcha may be sweetened to improve its palatability. However, a lot of people believe it is sweet enough as it is. When choosing your tea product, take this into consideration and pay attention to what you are buying. Purity levels and additives will affect health benefits and efficacy.
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