Matcha tea is the most popular natural drink nowadays. To the point that the main international celebrities also drink it. Find out all its properties and where does it come from.
Unlike the rest of green tea types, matcha has the main feature of using the whole tea leaf for its production.
In fact, other teas use part of the leaves which are soaked in water and then strained. On the contrary, matcha requires the whole natural leaf which is processed until it becomes a natural powder.
But there is another big difference which lies in the proportion of health elements. Actually, matcha has a higher nutrient content by using the entire leaf and not discarding a single part.
Origin and cultivation
Currently, the main country that cultivates and produces matcha is Japan, although it is native to China. It started growing there, but the techniques for its care and production were developed in the former country.
Nevertheless, there are many countries that also cultivate and specially sell matcha now. This is due to its growing popularity as an alternative to coffee or green tea.
Matcha farmers follow a technique that was developed in Japan decades ago. They cover the crop with big cloths in order to delay its growth. Consequently, this will enhance the flavor of the leaves considerably.
Its harvest by hand takes place in the month of May. Then, they dry the leaves, a process that can last up to six months. As we said previously, the only parts of the plant used to make matcha powder is the leaf.
PreparationThe cultivation follows the traditional method, and we can also follow the traditional preparation at home. In fact, we can follow the advice from different experts.
In fact, we could say that making Matcha tea is a ritual in eastern countries since ancient times. This is not an exaggeration, since it is regarded as such in many oriental festivities.
It has its own utensils:
- Chashaku to measure the amount of tea.
- Chawan a wooden bowl used to mix the matcha tea powder with water.
- Chasen a kind of whisk made of bamboo that will help us blend the matcha tea with the water. It will help us obtain a drink without lumps and a thin layer of foam.
Finally, the resulting matcha tea has to be strained and served in a glass or cup. Then, you can enjoy its flavor and texture.
Traditionally, there are two ways of taking green matcha tea depending on the amount of powder we use:
- Usucha, or light, made with two grams of matcha tea.
- Koicha, or concentrate, made with four grams. Therefore, it has a thicker consistency.
Matcha tea has been studied in the last few decades due to its properties and benefits.
However, the specialists suggest drinking a small amount of this green tea per day.
Unlike green tea leaves that we can use at home, matcha has a higher caffeine content. Once again, this is due to the fact that the powder comes from the whole leaf. In fact, the specialists claim that a tablespoon of powder can double the amount of caffeine from a normal green tea bag.
That is why many people have replaced their morning coffee for a cup of matcha tea. Actually, the studies have proven how the latter can enhance your metabolism in a 40% (supporting weight loss). Moreover, it also regulates the blood sugar levels.
Benefits of Matcha Tea
Said elements contribute to stabilizing the free radicals which can damage the cells from our body.
The main reason why it has a high antioxidant content is the fact it comes from the whole leaf, unlike other teas.
Weight loss support
Green tea varieties are known for supporting weight loss. In fact, they produce a thermogenic effect that stimulates the fat burning processes of our body. So much so that many studies show how we can lose weight by combining daily physical exercise with green tea.
Blood sugar levels control
It is purer than green tea, which is why it has an enhanced effect when it comes to controlling the blood sugar when compared to green tea. Actually, the studies have proven that it can lower the blood sugar between a 15 and 20%.
Other aspects: disease protection
Although there are no studies on humans, some of them have been conducted on animals to see if it can prevent cancer.
One of them concluded that matcha tea slowed down the growth of breast cancer cells in rats.
Dose of Matcha
Even if there are no serious interactions, the experts advise a moderate intake of matcha tea. This is due to its caffeine and theine content.
Possible side effects of Matcha
These are some of the side effects. Although these tend to appear with excessive amounts of Matcha tea.
Matcha in recipes
Due to its growing popularity, some people have experimented with matcha in the kitchen, coming up with interesting recipes.
There are many desserts that use matcha tea to decorate and even cold or hot drinks that also use it.
- Bonuccelli G, Sotgia F, Lisanti MP. Matcha green tea (MGT) inhibits the propagation of cancer stem cells (CSCs), by targeting mitochondrial metabolism, glycolysis and multiple cell signalling pathways. Aging (Albany NY). 2018 Aug 23;10(8):1867-1883. doi: 10.18632/aging.101483.
- Willems MET, Şahin MA, Cook MD. Matcha Green Tea Drinks Enhance Fat Oxidation During Brisk Walking in Females. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2018 Sep 1;28(5):536-541. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.2017-0237. Epub 2018 Jun 19.
- Dietz C, Dekker M, Piqueras-Fiszman B. An intervention study on the effect of matcha tea, in drink and snack bar formats, on mood and cognitive performance. Food Res Int. 2017 Sep;99(Pt 1):72-83. doi: 10.1016/j.foodres.2017.05.002. Epub 2017 May 5.
- Weiss DJ, Anderton CR. Determination of catechins in matcha green tea by micellar electrokinetic chromatography. J Chromatogr A. 2003 Sep 5;1011(1-2):173-80.
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