You may have noticed that matcha is everywhere these days. From cakes and cookies to smoothies and juices, restaurants and bakeries have been infusing just about everything with it lately. Matcha lattes, a detoxifying and healthier coffee alternative, are all the rage, and great for getting you going in the morning.
Here are seven things you probably didn’t know about this powerful superfood!
1. You Are Drinking Actual Tea Leaves, Not Leaves Soaked In Water
Matcha translates to “fine green powder,” and rather than drinking leaves brewed in water, you are drinking whole ground tea leaves. Because of that, along with how the plants get grown in the shade, they contain more nutrients and antioxidants than normal green tea. After the leaves have been picked and dried, they are ground whole into a fine powder.
2. Matcha Originated In China, But Was Popularized In Japan
Green tea cultivation began in China sometime in the Tang Dynasty (7th - 10th century). Eventually, Zen Buddhists started ritualizing its consumption. Around the 12th century, powdered tea was brought from China to Japan, and as its popularity faded in China, Japanese monasteries, and their noble class enjoyed it.
Due to its challenging process to make, it wasn’t available to the masses until a more efficient method of production came about in the 18th century.
3. One Cup Of Matcha Contains Ten Times The Antioxidants Of Regular Green Tea:::figure
So drink up! Photo: @kissatea / Instagram
Because you are essentially drinking pure leaf, you get the full benefit that entails including more antioxidants than other foods like pomegranates, blueberries, and acai berries.
Matcha tea also contains a unique class of antioxidants unavailable in other foods called catechins. These catechins counteract the effects of free radicals from pollution, UV rays, radiation, and chemicals, which can lead to cell and DNA damage.
4. Not All Matcha Is Equal, And Some Can Be Pricey
Anyone’s who shops for matcha knows it can get expensive with a wide variety that includes different types and numerous grades. The two types include the thicker matcha called koicha and the thinner, usucha.
Those several grades also point to how they are used best. While they may go by different names, they break down starting with Ceremonial grade, which is the brightest in color and most complex in flavor. Expect to pay about a dollar per gram, which equals one serving.
Next up is premium, which is still high-quality matcha. As you move to lower grades, expect the color to dull and flavors to change from more sweet to more bitter. Finally, you have kitchen or ingredient grade which is best for lattes and recipes.
5. Thanks To L-Theanine Matcha Gives You A Longer Lasting Boost Than Coffee
Yes, coffee still has more caffeine than matcha (approximately 70mg per cup to coffee’s 120-150mg), but that’s not the full story. Thanks to an amino acid called L-Theanine, which raise your dopamine and serotonin levels, Matcha helps you remain more relaxed and focused throughout the day.
6. Drink Matcha To Your Health (And To Lose Weight)
Thermogenesis is your bodies ability to burn off fat. Studies have shown that matcha can increase your bodies ability to burn fat by up to four times it’s normal level. Keep in mind this doesn’t refer to matcha ice cream, smoothies or donuts, but just the nearly calorie-free tea itself.
__7. Those Matcha Lattes You Love Might Inhibit Its Benefits __
Matcha lattes are delicious. The frothiness of the tea and the warm milk combines for a truly soothing treat. Unfortunately, a protein found in milk, casein, binds to the matcha’s potent antioxidant, catechin, which inhibits much of the healthful benefits. But hey, if it tastes good, keep drinking it!