To simply describe Matcha, it is basically green tea leaves finely ground into a delicate powder, like most other tea leaves such us oolong tea and black tea, it derived from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant.
How is Matcha green tea powder made?
The way tea leaves are cultivated and processed for Matcha is uniquely different than any other tea. The quality of the green tea leaves and labourious process contributes to the reason why Matcha is more expensive than other teas.
Matcha is made from shade-grown tea leaves, where the tea plants are protected from direct sun exposure, the sunlight is filtered through straw screens. This is done to boost chlorophyll levels in the tea plant, which turns the leaves a darker, more vibrant shade of green, hence the amazing colour of Matcha.
The shade-grown method also increases the production of L-Theanine, an amino acid that occurs naturally in the tea plant. Tea has the tendency to both calm and stimulate at the same time, this is because of the L-Theanine and Matcha is full of the good stuff.
Harvest and steamed
When it comes to harvesting, only the newest and the best buds are hand-plucked. After the seasonal harvest, the leaves are treated briefly with steam, this is to stop the oxidisation process and bring out the vibrant green colour even more.
Traditionally, green tea leaves are rolled, shaped, and dried. For Matcha, the leaves are laid flat to dry after the steam treatment and become Tencha. The tea stems and veins are removed from Tencha leaves. The remaining leaf is ground in stone mills, creating a smooth green tea powder.
What does Matcha green tea taste like?
The taste of Matcha depends on the quality of the green tea powder and the region of production. Good quality Matcha usually has two main taste profiles; subtly sweet and umami flavour. Overall the flavour is very unique, delicate, vegetal, rich, sweet aftertaste with a smooth creamy texture.
How much caffeine is in Matcha?
Like green tea, Matcha is caffeinated, because the entire leaf is ground and consumed, the caffeine level is higher than a traditional cup of green tea. An 8oz cup of Matcha contains approximately 50 to 70mgs of caffeine, for green tea, this is around 30 to 45mgs.
The caffeine level of an espresso is around 80mgs, however the L-theanine in Matcha prolongs its energy boosting effects, allowing a slow release of caffeine into your bloodstream that sustains for longer.
What is the benefits of Matcha green tea?
Matcha is high in antioxidants
Matcha is rich in catechins, a plant compound found in tea that act as natural antioxidants. Antioxidants are the nutrients and enzymes responsible for fighting against the negative effects of UV radiation, these properties improve skin quality and promote more youthful skin.
Antioxidants also help stabilise harmful free radicals, which are compounds that can damage cells and cause chronic disease.
Matcha helps improve memory and focus
L-Theanine in Matcha enhances your mood, improves memory, and promotes better mental focus throughout your day. The caffeine can increase your concentration and alertness, whilst the L-Theanine can help decrease stress levels and balance the side-effects of stimulants from caffeine.
Matcha enhances weight loss
Many studies have shown Matcha helps speed up metabolism to increase energy expenditure and promotes fat burning ability to aid with weight loss. Because Matcha is produced from shade-grown tea plants, this produces higher levels of chlorophyll, which helps detoxify your body by removing chemical toxins.