Matcha is right up there as an ingredient of the moment. And when you start learning what it can do, it’s really no surprise. Meaning ‘powdered tea’, it’s made from discarded green tea leaves after infusion. Unlike traditional tea, matcha processing involves covering the tea plants with shade cloths before harvesting – encouraging the leaves to develop a deeper flavour. After being hand-selected and steamed to stop fermentation, they’re dried and aged in cold storage before being stone-grounded into a fine powder. Trust us, ordinary tea has definitely met its match with matcha!
When chatting about matcha we can’t ignore its links to traditional Japanese tea ceremonies and Zen. The ritual of tea drinking is relaxing; just the act of slowing down as you sip means you’re already more present in the moment than you were before. And alongside a myriad of other health benefits, it won’t be long until it becomes everyone’s cup of tea.
Health & wealth
Because the whole leaves are ingested, matcha naturally contains a more potent source of nutrients and antioxidants than steeped green tea. Antioxidants called polyphenols (a good known protector against heart disease and cancer) have been linked to regulating blood sugar, reduce blood pressure and anti-ageing properties. Get that tea cupboard stocked pronto!
A different kind of caffeine
Although matcha is naturally caffeinated, up to 3 times more than a cup of steeped tea, you’ll find its fans describe the nutrient drink effect as an ‘alert calmness’, not the usual caffeine buzz you’d get from coffee. This is due to a natural substance in matcha called L-theanine that causes relaxation but no drowsiness. Saying that, just like any other caffeine drink or foods with caffeine, you wouldn’t want to drink it too close to bedtime or if you are already sensitive to caffeine…
Too good to just be a cup of tea, matcha is fast becoming a big hit with chefs everywhere. But like most things in life, matcha is best enjoyed in moderation (too much of a good thing and all that).