Green is one of the greatest colors. It’s the color of nature of course, and the color of the most nutritious foods too. Today we can find many supplements and superfoods that have become popular lately for their bright green color and the amazing properties these can have. We talked about spirulina in our previous article (If you missed it click here) and today we prepared an article about the properties of Matcha tea and what kind you should get.
If you are new to Matcha it is simple to understand its recent popularity. It is basically the ground form of green tea. Its use gained worldwide attention over the last few years for its many nutrients and health benefits. It is actually just one of the many varieties of green tea in Japan. Originally, it came from China in the times of the Song dynasty over one thousand years ago. Legend says that in the year 1191, the Buddhist monk Eisai took the ground tea to Japan and with the introduction of Buddhism it gained popularity. Over time, Matcha tea disappeared in China, while in Japan its use became a regular practice mainly due to the customs of the Buddhist monasteries. The upper classes of Japanese society, gradually adopted its use between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries. It is still used today for the traditional tea ceremony.
One of the most interesting characteristics of Matcha is its presentation as a ground tea unlike most others that we know. It is sold and consumed in the form of a green powder, which maintains a great part of its numerous nutrients when dissolved in water and mixed with other ingredients. This is very curious, not only for how the tea beverage itself is made, but for its uses in the kitchen as well. You can find it in Japanese desserts, ice cream and biscuits, among other things.
The elaboration of Matcha begins weeks before its harvest, when the tea plant is covered in order to hide it from the sun, creating in its leaves a darker green tone that also manages to delay both its development and its growth. This cultivation habit is what gives Matcha green tea the possibility not only to acquire that characteristic green color, but also to have a sweet taste, as it increases the content of amino acids. After harvest, the leaves are dried on a flat surface. Veins and stems are removed and milled several times in order to achieve a finer texture.
While in Japan Matcha tea has been popular for centuries, in the rest of the world, including the United States, it is quite new but it rapidly gained popularity. There are cafes and tea shops specialized in Matcha in cities all over the world, and you can’t open Instagram without realizing how popular it is among the famous people. But it is not just a fashion or trend, there are many health benefits associated with the regular consumption of Matcha tea.
The 10 benefits of Matcha Tea:
- A good source of antioxidants
- Boosts energy
- Helps reduce stress
- Stimulates defenses
- Reduces cholesterol
- Prevents cancer
- Great source of Vitamin C
- Helps improve intestinal health
- Increases metabolism
- Lowers blood sugar levels
If we consider that it boosts metabolism, detoxifies, and helps improve your intestinal track, then we can say that Matcha tea will be a great ally for weight loss, combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise it can do wonders if you are trying to loose weight.
Green tea leaves (Camellia Sinensis)
What type of Matcha should I get?
Yes, there are so many options these days that it is very confusing to know exactly what type of Matcha should we buy and which one is good. The prices vary a lot too, according to its origin, the form in which the leaves are processed and so on. But the types of Matcha can be reduced to two categories to make it easier. Ceremonial Grade Matcha and Culinary Grade Matcha. The type of Matcha you should get depends entirely on how you want to use it.
Ceremonial Grade Matcha is the highest quality you can find. It comes from the most tender and young parts of the tea leave. You can recognize it because it usually comes in small 1oz cans and its color is bright green. In Japan, Ceremonial Grade Matcha is used only to make the beverage for the traditional tea ceremony. Mixed only with hot water and whisked with a special bamboo whisk, it produces a foamy beverage with a light sweet flavor.
If you want do drink Matcha in its more traditional from, this is definitely the one you should get. You can’t find it at stores frequently, which is why online shopping is the best. You can find good Matcha at specialty stores like Teavana, but with a high price tag (45 dollars for a small can). Actually, we think the best place to buy it is Amazon (link) there are many options with great reviews that will help you decide better. We did our own research and found these great options:
You can even get the entire set to prepare your Matcha buying scoops and bamboo whisks here:
And the bowl, or Matcha Chawan here:
Culinary Grade Matcha is what could be considered a more “popular” type of Matcha, and by popular we mean not related to the tea ceremony of the elites. The main differences to Ceremonial Matcha is that it is not as green and a it has a little bitterness because it is made using the most mature parts of the tea leave. Its nutritional properties are exactly the same but as its flavor is a little strong, it is perfect to mix with other ingredients instead of just water. This is the type of Matcha that can be used for desserts, ice-cream or to be mixed with milk to make smoothies, matcha lattes and other beverages.
Be careful, because there are a lot of knock off companies that justify their bad quality by labeling their Matcha as “Culinary Grade”. A real Culinary Grade Matcha is not bad quality, it just comes from a different part of the tea leaf. There is a simple way to differentiate a good quality Matcha from knockoffs: you have to look where they come from. Matcha that does not come from Japan is usually not a good Matcha. The only exception are some brands produced in China that are made following the traditional Japanese method to cover, dry and ground the leaves, but these are very few and still expensive. If you want to buy a Matcha from Thailand or Mexico, you better drink regular green tea. It is mixed with other ingredients and it does not keep the nutrients from traditional Matcha, and it can be so bitter that it won’t be good to mix or bake. Again, Amazon can be your ally, and the same brands that we mention above for the Ceremonial Grade Matcha have their own Culinary Grades.
These are just some accessible options, but there are many more that you can get without breaking the bank. We recommend this because they are certified and actually have a good taste, but if you want to try other brands there are many choices. You can also give a chance to some of this brands, see how your body responds and which one you like better
We invite you to contact us and leave a comment below if you are interested and found this helpful.
Co-founder Natural Nutrition Company.