The Magic of Matcha

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(Photo: Bon Appétit)

There aren't many things that can keep us away from our morning coffee. But we just might abandon our daily cup of joe for our newest obsession: matcha tea. 

A long standing tradition of Japanese culture, matcha green tea is the highest quality powdered green tea available. It's lauded as an antioxidant superpower with more catechins than regular brewed green tea -- in fact, just one cup of matcha tea is equal to 10 glasses of regular green tea when it comes to nutritional value.

The health benefits are seemingly endless: it burns calories, improves concentration, detoxes the body and improves energy, just to name a few. And the best part is drinking this medicinal powerhouse isn't like swallowing a big gulp of unpleasant cough medicine at all; it tastes absolutely delicious even on its own sans cream or sugar. 

What It Is
Matcha is premium green tea powder from Japan used for drinking as tea or as an ingredient in recipes. While other green teas are grown throughout the world, matcha is unique to Japan. Matcha is steamed, stemmed and de-vined before being stone-ground into a very fine powder, then stored away from light and oxygen in order to preserve its brilliant green color and antioxidant properties. This miracle elixir has been consumed for over a millennium in the Far East but has slowly become more mainstream and is now widely considered to be one of the most powerful superfoods on the market today. 

Health Benefits
Because matcha uses the entire leaf, it allows consumers to receive 100% of the nutrients of the leaf imparting the highest level of nutrients, fiber and antioxidants of any superfood. Antioxidants, which come from raw fruits, green veggies and dark chocolate, are the enzymes responsible for fighting against the negative effects of UV radiation, giving us younger-looking skin and preventing a number of life-threatening diseases; matcha drinkers will ingest 137 times more antioxidants than regular tea.

Matcha is known as a great mood enhancer because it contains an amino acid called L-theanine, which is known to to relax the body, calm the mind and promote better concentration. It’s also touted as a healthy and safe way to boost metabolism and burn calories, as it doesn’t raise your blood pressure or heart rate like other quick-fixes on the market these days.

Matcha is also a powerful detoxifier capable of naturally removing heavy metals and chemical toxins from the body. Moreover, it is known to increase energy levels and endurance for up to six hours after consuming due to it's significant levels of caffeine, although it never leaves you feeling jittery as coffee sometimes will.

Additionally, matcha is celebrated for lowering cholesterol and blood sugar as well as preventing disease like cancer. It contains a type of antioxidant known as catechins, which provide strong cancer-fighting properties and counteract the effects of free radicals in the environment.

How To Prepare It
Matcha is described as having a rich, creamy taste, followed by a lingering sweetness. When mixed with hot water, it turns into a full-bodied green tea. To prepare traditional matcha tea, simply whisk together one teaspoon matcha powder with two ounces of almost boiling water until a layer of green foam appears. 

However, matcha goes far beyond cups of tea, and when used as an ingredient in other foods the taste becomes subtler. We love this coffee alternative in the form of a matcha coconut latte and matcha pancakes or doughnuts in the morning. And dark chocolate matcha date bars are the perfect pick-me-up during a busy afternoon at work.