Matcha is special form of green tea made from Camellia sinensis plants that have been harvested in a unique way which helps increase natural levels of caffeine and l-theanine. Matcha has origins in traditional Chinese culture, though it has become popular on a global scale today—even Starbucks has a match latte now! Matcha tea is different from traditional green teas in that it is blended as a powder, which is consumed directly rather than being part of a traditional decoction. Matcha green tea has shown many of the same powerful health benefits associated with traditional green tea, but is known to have an even more potent effect. With the increased amounts of antioxidants, caffeine, and l-theanine—matcha has quickly become the trendiest way to get caffeine! There are countless organic matcha tea and powders that are available, and it’s become such a popular beverage that nearly all health food stores now carry some form—as well as many other stores. While this curious superfood might resemble protein powder, it’s really so much more!
What is Matcha Exactly
Matcha is essentially the same as regular green tea, but the growers take special processing consideration to provide a uniquely potent variation. When Camellia sinensis plants (green tea plants) are grown in a shaded environment, they are known to produce leaves with higher levels of beneficial compounds like caffeine and l-theanine. Matcha is made from green tea plants that have been shaded for the last several weeks of their growth cycles, which allows the concentration of these beneficial compounds to concentrate considerably.
essentially the same as regular green tea, but the growers take special processing consideration to provide a uniquely potent variation
Once shaded for several weeks, plants destined for matcha powder are then ready to be processed into the matcha powder form. Typically, this process involves the harvesting of only the most-potent leaves of the plants, where they are then given a period of time to dry. The tea masters which specialize in matcha production likely all possess a unique means of deciding which plants to harvest, how to let the leaves dry, and then how to purify the powder. The end result often involves the de-stemming and de-veining of the leaves which results in a fine powder—of a deep green color produced from the amino-acid boosting time in the shade.
Once the growers of Matcha tea have processed the plant into it’s ready-to-buy form, where it can be packaged for sale—or prepared for drink! Before drinking however, matcha powder is usually filtered through some type of sieve or colander to help break up clumping and offer a finer powder. This is generally seen as a preferred method of preparation, since it makes matcha teas or matcha smoothies a much smoother experience. At this point, matcha can be used in any number of ways, depending on preference. Some of the more popular new ways of drinking match is through matcha ‘shots’, matcha lattes (think green foam), matcha smoothies, and even as a food dye in some natural foods that need an extra ‘pop’ of green. Matcha green tea is just one of the many ways that this powder can be enjoyed, although it’ll be different from your typical tea experience.
Matcha Tea BenefitsThe benefits of matcha powder are pretty much in line with green tea benefits, which have demonstrated the potential to help reduce blood glucose levels, kill cancer cells, reduces cholesterol, helps fight tooth decay, treats depression naturally, and is also known to be anti-bacterial and anti-fungal1. Overall, the benefits of green tea to health are regarded as tremendous, and well-established. That said, it’s no miracle cure and shouldn’t be substituted for healthy diet and exercise. Matcha, in particular, has been investigated as showing some specific benefits that may be due to it’s more potent blend of antioxidants, polyphenols, and amino acids. One study found that matcha powder was able to help reduce the damage to the kidneys and livers of animals with type II diabetes 2. This effect was seen through a reduction in glucose levels in the kidneys, as well as a total reduction in overall cholesterol levels.
When given matcha tea, researchers found that up to 10 times as many harmful toxins were able to be eliminated!
In another animal study, researchers found that matcha powder was able to drastically increase the amounts of toxins the body is able to eliminate 3. Researchers investigated the amounts of harmful chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) that were being passed through bowel movements. In mice, when given matcha tea, researchers found that up to 10 times as many harmful toxins were able to be eliminated! While only an animal test, this hints at green tea—and especially matcha tea—as being a powerful addition to any detox protocol. Another powerfully beneficial compound found in green tea is named Catechin, which is a type of phenol which exhibits naturally antioxidant action. Among the many other beneficial compounds found in green tea, Catechin is thought to play a role in exhibiting anti-allergy effects. Research has shown that the powdered form of green tea—matcha—is capable of producing a higher serum level (amount in blood) of catechins than regular green tea 4. There are countless benefits of drinking green tea, and matcha seems to provide all of them—plus more!
Where to Buy MatchaMatcha and green tea are super-powerful allies in the fight for stronger health, and if you’re interested in using either on a regular basis there are tons of options available! Green tea is no stranger to most people, and can be found in practically any grocery store. Organic green tea has become readily available to consumers, and can be found at local health food stores, some supplement retailers like the Vitamin Shoppe, and at many grocery stores such as Whole Foods. These teas can be bought in bulk, bought as loose-leaf products, or bought in single-serving tea-bag varieties for convenience and portability. Many green tea products, such as Numi’s Gunpowder Green Tea offer certified fair trade ingredients which are also certified Non-GMO. Many tea leaves come from foreign nations that have lower standards of living than in the United states, and often are produced by manufacturers with little concern to local conditions. Buying Fair Trade certified products greatly helps nurture the global economy, and affords local producers the compensation they are deserved.
Matcha powder is expensive in general, but shopping online can greatly reduce price
Matcha is still a bit more of a ’boutique’ item, and isn’t always found on shelves right next to green teas—even though Starbucks even sells a matcha latte now 5. If you’re looking to buy matcha, consider first how you plan on drinking it—sometimes it’s a lot easier to have pre-bagged herbs than try to manage powders. The Republic of Tea offers a very popular organic matcha tea, which is blended with regular green tea leaves. While a bit on the expensive side, this matcha tea offers the benefits of both green tea and matcha powder. The Republic of Tea is well-regarded among the tea industry as being market leaders in terms of both quality ingredients, as well as responsible business. Matcha powder is expensive in general, but shopping online can greatly reduce price. For example, 16 ounces of Davidson’s Organic Matcha Powder is available on Amazon for considerably less than most matcha powders in stores. To find the best matcha tea out there, it’s best to just try as many different options as you can!
Matcha affords a more potent experience of traditional green tea drinks, and has shown the potential of offering additional health benefits. Higher levels of L-Theanine and caffeine are regarded by many as offering a much more intense state of focus than offered by caffeine alone. L-Theanine and Caffeine supplements are a very popular ‘stack’ among a class of supplements known as Nootropics—known for their brain-boosting effects. Natural compounds such as matcha offer a very easy option for anyone to help benefit their health without hassle. Newer supplements such as Niagen, may even be able to help stem the pace of aging on a cellular level. We are truly living in exciting times, when the availability of Organic compounds like matcha, Niagen, and Nootropics are readily available at the click of a button—and without prescription! Even thought these compounds are regarded as safe, it’s always important to pay close attention to which brands you buy from, and to always consult your doctor about how new supplements or compounds like matcha may affect your health.