So, what’s matcha?
Matcha is a finely ground powder made from specially grown green tea leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant. Matcha powder is most commonly whisked with hot water, rather than steeped, to form a frothy, delightful tea. When you drink matcha you are consuming the whole leaf, which means you're taking in an abundance of beneficial nutrients - and there’s many! Did we mention it’s delicious?
A brief history lesson
Matcha has been an integral part of Japanese culture for centuries. It is said that Buddhist monk Eisai - whom is considered the founder of Japanese green tea - brought the idea of matcha to Japan after studying tea in China, sometime between the 11th and 12th century. Eisai popularized what he called "the way of tea", and matcha was quickly embraced into Japanese culture.
Many weeks before harvest, the green tea bushes are carefully shaded from direct sunlight to enhance their chlorophyll levels. This biological pigment gives matcha its vibrant green colour and also helps distinguish between different grades of matcha. Additionally, this shading process triggers an increase in the amino acid L-Theanine, which also gives matcha its deep umami flavor.
After being picked, the tea leaves go through the meticulous process of steaming, destemming, deveining and drying into a finished leaf - otherwise known as tencha. These tencha leaves then go through the ancient process of being slowly ground into a fine powder for you to enjoy.
With every sip of matcha you're consuming those wonderful whole-leaf benefits. Considered a 'superfood' by many, matcha is highly regarded as one of the world's healthiest foods.
Antioxidants: Antioxidants occur naturally in plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables. There are thousands of antioxidant compounds that exist including Vitamins A, C, and catechins (commonly found in tea). Antioxidants prevent and reduce cellular damage caused by oxidation. Matcha is full of antioxidants and has exponentially more than other common healthy foods, such as regular green tea, berries, leafy greens and dark chocolate.
EGCG: Of the many compounds found in matcha, EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) is a highly unique and beneficial antioxidant. EGCG is a catechin that contains strong anti-inflammatory attributes that may be linked to improved cardiovascular health. Studies also found that EGCG possess metabolism boosting properties that may be associated with weight management.
L-Theanine: Matcha green tea is an incredible source of the amino acid L-Theanine. Many studies suggest that supplementing L-Theanine into your diet can promote relaxation, reduced stress and increased mental alertness. This amino acid works hand-in-hand with the small amounts of caffeine that are native to matcha green tea to give you natural boost of long-lasting energy.