We have all heard and read enough about Matcha, but let us introduce to you, the Indian Matcha.
What is Indian Matcha you say?
While Matcha originates from Japan, the first of its kind attempt has been made to manufacture it in Assam, India. Matcha specific clones are grown with great care, and then manufactured in a fully automated plant under the supervision of Japanese brewmasters. A bold step taken by the Chota Tingri estate in Upper Assam, it sure looks like the gamble has paid off. For we now have our own Indian Matcha.
Matcha literally means “powdered tea.” When you drink traditional green tea, components from the leaves get infused into the hot water, then the leaves are discarded. With matcha, you’re drinking the actual leaves, which have been finely powdered and made into a solution.
Unlike traditional green tea, matcha preparation involves covering the tea plants with shade cloths before they’re harvested. This triggers the growth of leaves with better flavor and texture, which are hand selected, steamed briefly to stop fermentation, then dried and aged in cold storage, which deepens the flavor. The dried leaves are then stone-ground into a fine powder.
In contrast to contemporary matcha culture (it’s as easy as grabbing a green tea latte from a nearby Starbucks), traditionally, Japanese tea ceremonies (called chanoyu) centered around the preparation and offering of matcha. Where everything counts. From the beautiful hand-painted matcha bowls made by local artisans to the art of serving and receiving the tea.
What are the Health Benefits of Matcha Tea?
- One serving of matcha tea is the nutritional equivalent of 10 cups of regularly brewed green tea
- Is packed with antioxidants including the powerful EGCg
- Boosts metabolism and burns calories
- Detoxifies effectively and naturally
- Calms the mind and relaxes the body
- Is rich in fiber, chlorophyll and vitamins
- Enhances mood and aids in concentration
- Provides vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc and magnesium
- Prevents disease
- Lowers cholesterol and blood sugar
It contains caffeine
Because you’re consuming whole leaves in matcha, you may get three times as much caffeine than a cup of steeped tea, about the amount in a cup of brewed coffee. Matcha aficionados say that compared to the caffeine buzz from coffee, matcha creates an “alert calm” due to a natural substance it contains called l-theanine, which induces relaxation without drowsiness. Still, we do believe it’s best to nix all forms of caffeine (including matcha) at least six hours before bedtime, to ensure a good night’s sleep.
The powders may be sweetened, and the quality varies
The taste of matcha is strong. It can be described as grass or spinach-like, and it has an umami taste. Because of this it may be sweetened to improve its palatability.
With matcha, quality is key, and it comes at a cost. In other words, high quality, fresh, pure matcha is expensive. A low price tag can be a red flag for a poor quality product.
Grades of Matcha
It is important to understand there are different grades available for different usage.
Ceremonial grade is the highest grade. It is hard to find outside Japan. It is used by the major tea schools and Buddhist temples in Japan specifically for the tea ceremony, where it is blended to be served straight.
Premium grade is more of an everyday beverage. It is still very good and much easier to find.
The grading system above is purely conceptual. In reality, there is no governing body to regulate the labeling of matcha products. Different companies can call matcha whatever they want!
In the West, you will find many companies labeling their products as Ceremonial grade when in reality they are Premium grade.
Ingredient grade is cheaper and is added as an ingredient to foods and beverages such as smoothies, protein shake, latte, cakes, iced cream, chocolate and cupcake!
This grade of matcha needs a stronger flavor to compete with the other flavors in foods and beverages. It is mixed with older tea leaves, which have stronger flavors.
Lower grade matcha would be known simply as green tea powder.
At The Tea Shelf, 100gms of Premium Grade Matcha is available for USD 16.40
You can view it here
How to brew Matcha:
There are 2 ways that you can make yourself a cup of this green potion.
Using a bamboo whisk and tea bowl
- Sift 1-2 tsp matcha into a cup using a small sifter
- Add 2oz hot water. For best results use water just under a boil.
- Whisk vigorously in a zig zag motion until the tea is frothy.
- Enjoy your matcha tea straight from the bowl.
Matcha in a cup
- Heat spring or filtered water
- Add a few drops of hot water to matcha powder and mix into paste with a spoon
- Add more hot water to paste mixture and stir. Try 1 teaspoon to 6 ounces of water. Adjust measurement to suit taste.
- Matcha is ready to drink
Matcha as an Ingredient
ingredient grade matcha, is used in cooking, baking and drink recipes. It is stronger in taste and will hold up to sweeteners and other ingredients. Experiment with adding cooking grade matcha to yogurt shakes, milk drinks, cocktails and desserts.
Why is matcha better than loose leaf tea?
Every day, countless people throw away valuable antioxidants and minerals. While seemingly unimaginable, that’s exactly what happens when you brew a cup of green tea because water can only extract a fraction of green teas benefits. The majority actually remains unused, trapped in the tea leaves. In reality, the only way to truly take advantage of green teas full potential is to consume the entire leaf. But that doesn’t mean you need to start eating tea leaves. The simplest solution is to just enjoy a bowl of matcha. Because matcha is straight, stoneground tea leaves, matcha provides you with green teas powerful arsenal of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids in a way no other green tea can.
In fact, to even begin to match the potency found in a single serving of matcha, you would need to drink at least ten cups of brewed green tea. When it comes to helping you achieve and maintain optimum health, matcha is without equal.
Why is matcha tea considered an anti-oxidant powerhouse?
One of the biggest buzz words in nutrition, antioxidants are naturally occurring chemical compounds that prevent aging and chronic diseases. Nowadays, a variety of fruits and vegetables are lauded for their antioxidant properties, leading to a host of products with all kinds of claims. But matcha is unparalleled in comparison. Firstly, matcha is packed with exponentially more antioxidants according to the latest innovation in antioxidant research.
Using the testing method known as ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity), experts at Tufts University discovered that matcha possesses an amazing twenty times more so than pomegranates or blueberries. Matchas ORAC rating is a mighty 1573 units per gram, compared to pomegranates 105 units per gram or blueberries 93 units.
Why does this matter?
Antioxidants are the body’s defense agents. They are chemical compounds that prevent aging and chronic diseases. Put simply, the more you have, the better equipped your body is in the fight against infections and disease.
What are green tea catechins, and why are they so important in anti-cancer diets?
Matcha tea contains a unique, potent class of antioxidant known as catechins, which aren’t found in other foods. In particular, the catechin EGCg (epigallocatechin gallate) provides potent cancer-fighting properties.
Most importantly, EGCg and other catechins counteract the effects of free radicals from the likes of pollution, UV rays, radiation, and chemicals, which can lead to cell and DNA damage. Since over 60% of the catechins in matcha are actually EGCg, a daily matcha regimen can help restore and preserve the body’s integral well-being and balance.
What unique properties of matcha support weight loss?
Already nearly calorie free, matcha is a great addition to a weight loss program by tackling the problem from both sides. It boosts metabolism and burns fat. One recent study even suggested that matcha may help burn calories by four times. At the same time, matcha does not put any stress on the body. It doesn’t raise blood pressure or heart rate, making it a safe alternative to questionable quick fixes or pharmaceuticals ridden with side effects.
A study featured in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming matcha green tea can increase thermogenesis (the body’s own rate of burning calories) from a normal 8%-10% of daily energy expenditure, to between 35% and 43% of daily energy expediture.
How does the amino acid, L-theanine, help me concentrate and focus?
Over a thousand years ago, matcha came to Japan as an aid to meditation practice. During long hours of sitting, monks would drink matcha to remain alert yet calm. Modern science has recently confirmed the lessons of centuries of tradition. Matcha is rich in L-Theanine, a rare amino acid that actually promotes a state of relaxation and well-being by acting upon the brains functioning. While stress can induce beta waves an excited, more agitated state, L-Theanine creates alpha waves, which lead to a state of relaxed alertness. And while L-Theanine is common in all tea, matcha may contain up to five times more of this amino acid than common black and green teas.
As an additional benefit, L-Theanine may help memory and learning and ability all the while inhibiting any possible side-effects from caffeine, a natural component of green tea. Therefore, a bowl of matcha promotes concentration and clarity of mind without any of the nervous energy found in coffee. Try matcha as a pick-me-up for the afternoon or anytime you need extra focus.
How does cholorophyll rich Matcha help me detox?
Green is truly the color of health. Matcha helps to safely cleanse and purge the body of harmful elements. Chlorophyll the element that gives green tea and other plants their signature verdant color is also a powerful detoxifier, helping to eliminate both chemicals and heavy metals from the body. And because matcha is carefully shade-grown, it is substantially richer in chlorophyll than other green teas, making it a superior daily detox.
How does Matcha Tea give me Energy without the Jitters?
One of the most unexpected health benefits of matcha tea, is that drinkers experience a boost of energy throughout the day. In one study, researchers had thought that this was from the caffeine in matcha, but they found that it was actually the combination of matcha’s natural properties. Another recent study found that matcha even improved physical endurance by 24%.
Even if you aren’t facing a grueling workout, matcha can help you through the everyday marathon, whether it’s that project due the next day or getting the kids from school to soccer practice.
Can’t wait to try for yourself? Make yourself a Iced Matcha Green Tea Latte with the recipe below:
For a really bright green latte, use ceremonial or premium grade matcha.
MAKES 1 SERVINGS
- ½ cup whole milk
- 2½ teaspoons matcha
- 2 teaspoons sugar
Heat milk in a large heatproof glass measuring cup in a microwave on high until very hot but not boiling, about 45 seconds (or, heat milk in a small saucepan over medium). Using an immersion blender, carefully blend on medium speed, moving blade up and down through milk, until foamy, about 30 seconds. (Alternatively, whisk vigorously.)
Combine matcha, sugar, and ½ cup water in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Cover and shake vigorously until outside of shaker is very cold and latte is frothy, 30 seconds. Using a cocktail strainer or slotted spoon to hold back ice while allowing foam and small ice chips to pass through, pour into a tall, ice-filled glass. Top off with frothy milk. Enjoy!