Are you a coffee or a green tea devotee? Have your sights shifted over to matcha tea yet? If not, it may be worth a look. Though it has experienced a surge in popularity over the past year or two, matcha has been around for centuries. Long before it popped up on Starbucks’ menu, the preparation and serving of matcha was (and still is) a key part of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony that dates back to the 1400’s.
In addition to your local Starbucks goer, matcha has been embraced by everyone from fitness and wellness superstars to Zen Buddhist monks. If you have ever tried meditating, you know that at times it can be a test of wills to shut off your mind and relax into the process. It is said that, many years ago, monks discovered that drinking matcha tea helped them with their daily meditations. Packed with caffeine and L-Theanine, matcha tea is revered for its ability to provide a gentle increase in both energy and focus.
Made from leaves with the highest concentration of caffeine of any plant, matcha is a great alternative for those looking to cut down on their daily coffee intake. Many people report that matcha tea provides energy that promotes prolonged concentration without the typical caffeine buzz. In addition, it has been said that the caffeine in matcha is released over time, which means that you can avoid the dreaded afternoon crash you might experience when coffee or your usual caffeine fix starts to wear off.
If providing a gentle caffeine fix was not enough, matcha is also particularly high in antioxidants called catechin polyphenols which have been linked to several health benefits including the reduction of cholesterol and blood pressure. As with everything, moderation is key. If you are afflicted with either of these conditions, I suggest speaking with your health care professional about whether matcha tea will be a good fit for you as an individual.
If you are a green tea advocate, you may be interested to learn that matcha is a kind of green tea with some significant differences. Most green tea is prepared by steeping tea leaves with water, and then discarding the leaves prior to consumption. Matcha, on the other hand, is made by grounding dried green tea leaves into a super-fine powder. The powder is then whisked with warm water to create a light, fluffy tea said to have an “earthy” or “grassy” taste. A one teaspoon serving of matcha is also the equivalent of about 10 servings of most brewed coffees. The higher price usually indicates a higher quality, so you should beware of cheaper teas that are probably mixed with matcha. They may be less pricey, but odds are they contain significantly less caffeine and antioxidants.
Have a great day!
by Kim England