Over 800 years ago, Zen Buddhist monks in Japan began drinking matcha green tea (also referred to as green tea powder) to help them maintain focus during long hours of meditation.
The monks believed that matcha powder possessed powerful health properties because it was in finely-powdered form. Scientists have confirmed that matcha and green tea in general are indeed beneficial to health.
According to a study conducted by the University of Colorado, matcha, which consists of ground tea leaves, contains 137 times more antioxidants than regular green tea. Yet, it is important to note that this study compared green tea bags with high-grade matcha tea.
While it’s not certain that matcha is superior to regular green tea, several scientific studies confirm that it is indeed very healthy.
It is believed that because the entire leaf is consumed when one drinks matcha, a higher concentration of antioxidants and vitamins are consumed.
The reported health benefits of drinking matcha include:
The best matcha comes from the prefectures of Kyoto, Shizuoka, Aichi, and Kyushu in Japan. Matcha is expensive compared to regular green tea because it is made with fine, shade-grown tea buds that are hand-picked.
It takes one hour to grind only 30 grams of matcha and it is traditionally ground by stone.
Factors that affect the price and quality of matcha include the cultivation location, treatment, grinding method, and oxidation. Matcha leaves should never be exposed to direct sunlight and must be dried in the shade.
Oxidization should be avoided because it gives the matcha a hay-like smell and a brownish-green color. High-grade matcha has a vibrant green color and a rich, slightly sweet flavor.
Traditionally, matcha is whisked in hot water until it is frothy and then served. In addition, you can find matcha used as an ingredient in different foods.
In Japan, matcha is used to add color and flavor to foods including ice cream, soba noodles, mochi (pounded rice), and traditional sweets.
People who want to experience the health benefits of green tea but do not enjoy regular green tea can incorporate matcha into smoothies, desserts, and even lattes.
Matcha may be more expensive than regular green tea but it doesn’t mean that it is necessarily a healthier or superior product. Drinking high-grade green tea on a regular basis can also provide you with several health benefits.
Nevertheless, the sweetness and deep flavor of high quality matcha make drinking it in its traditional form or adding it to recipes a unique, enjoyable, and delectable experience.