Matcha - a Superfood
This is the heyday of Matcha. When we started our tea company over 20 years ago, Matcha was not even included in our tea catalogue. The only Japan teas we carried were the well-known Sencha, Bancha, Genmaicha, Gyokuro and a few others such as Houjicha. About 4 years ago, the world of Japanese tea in the U.S. changed significantly. Along came Matcha – a finely ground powder of specially selected tea leaves. Never mind that it had been used in Japan for centuries. It came into prominence here with an impact. Well-known media giants such as CBS news, The Huffington Post, Bon Appetit and trade magazines, began giving it coverage. It is now widely available by the pound, in smaller canisters, in to-go packs, in concentrates, as mixes and even flavored. Matcha is the Tea used in Japanese tea ceremonies and you will often hear the term “ceremonial grade” when referring to Matcha.
What makes Matcha different? First it is shade-grown for three weeks before it is harvested. This increases the chlorophyll levels and gives it the vibrant green color. It also produces amino-acids, critically, theanine, beneficial for health and stimulating a state of relaxed alertness. Second, it is stone-ground to a fine talcum-like powder. Stone-grinding is an art form. The mill stones must not be too cold or too hot as that can alter the quality of the end product. Just as 4 lbs. of fresh leaf produces 1 pound of dry tea, so too, the painstaking process that results in Matcha is remarkable. It could take up to 1 hour to grind about an ounce of Matcha. Each cup must therefore be enjoyed with reverence.
One cup of Matcha is the equivalent of 10 cups of Green Tea. The health benefits of Green Tea have already been comprehensively documented. Matcha is a superfood. It gives you more antioxidants, exponentially greater nutritional value and is rich in fiber and EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate). Extensive research has been conducted on Matcha. When compared to other superfoods such as Gojiberries, Pomegranate and Blueberries, Matcha had 5 times more Antioxidants (the ORAC value). ORAC or Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity quantifies the total antioxidant capacity of a food.
Whisk up the many benefits of Matcha:
- High in antioxidants
- Boosts metabolism
- Rich in fiber and vitamins
- Aids memory and concentration
- Naturally detoxifies the body
- Improves skin health
- Versatile as a cooking ingredient
- Tastes great!