Matcha tea, a native product of Japan, is a finely powdered green tea traditionally served during a Japanese tea ceremony. Matcha tea, with its vibrant deep green color, is believed to have far more nutrients than regular green tea. This tea variant has caught the fancy of tea drinkers all over the world. Unlike regular tea where only tea leaves are brewed, matcha tea is made using the whole leaf.
Matcha tea is grown in the shade and contains higher levels of chlorophyll than most green vegetables and leaves. Prior to harvesting, tea bushes are shaded for several weeks in such a way that only 80%to 85% of sunlight reaches the bushes. This process enhances the chlorophyll levels lending a deep green color to the leaf. This tea is normally stone ground to retain its rich properties. Matcha tea is highly valued for its abundant antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals.
Traditionally matcha tea is made by whisking the powder into hot water preferably with a bamboo spoon to make a rich creamy and frothy drink. To make matcha tea, 1/2 teaspoon of matcha is added to 8 ounces of freshly boiled water and stirred briskly before enjoying the beverage. One can slightly change the proportion according to personal taste and preferences. It is a full bodied green tea with an astringent twist and a streak of sweetness to it. The unique feature of matcha tea is that it can be incorporated as an ingredient in few dishes that call for flavor and rich green color.
Matcha tea health benefits
Sipping Matcha tea regularly has a healing effect on the body. It has enormous health benefits and offers plenty of benefits:
Antioxidants: Matcha tea is packed with powerful antioxidants that prevent chronic diseases and reverse the aging process. Matcha tea contains polyphenol antioxidants called catechins, particularly epigallo-catechin gallate (EGCG). Catechins are a type of antioxidants that are found only in green tea, and matcha tea contains high amounts of catechins when compared to other varieties of green tea. Catechin is known for its cancer fighting properties as it prevents free radicals in the body. This antioxidant counteracts the ravages caused by pollution, radiation, chemicals and UV rays. The high ORAC ((Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) of matcha tea gives it a score higher than blueberries.
Heart healthy: Studies reveal that Matcha tea helps in reducing the LDL levels significantly. The Flavonoids in the tea help keep arteries relaxed and unblocked, thus improving heart health.
Mental alertness: A cup of matcha tea will get you through the day effortlessly. Matcha tea contains an amino acid called L-theanine which is known to bestow a sense of tranquillity by producing alpha waves in the brain. It reduces stress and anxiety, keeping the mind relaxed yet alert. While the amino acid L-theanine is found in all teas, it is found many times over in matcha tea. It aids memory and learning capabilities. It is believed that ancient Japanese monks consumed matcha tea prior to long meditation sessions to keep themselves focussed.
By stimulating alpha waves in the brain, L-theanine acts as a stress reliever and lowers blood pressure. The caffeine content in matcha, unlike caffeine in coffee, is assimilated and absorbed in a span of five to seven hours resulting in a long and sustained energy boost. Also, the antioxidants in matcha release the caffeine slowly and gradually into the bloodstream.
Prevents diabetes: Matcha tea provides defense against both diabetes type 1 and type 2. Antioxidants in matcha tea improve insulin sensitivity and achieve better glucose tolerance.
Weight loss: Apart from various other health benefits, matcha tea also helps in shedding pounds in the most natural way. Polyphenols in matcha tea help in boosting the metabolic rate. Catechins in matcha tea boost thermo genesis, where the body burns fat in order to generate heat.
Healthier Skin: Matcha tea works wonders on the skin. The polyphenol content in matcha tea protects your skin from harmful UV rays and also prevents damage from free radicals leaving the skin radiant and glowing.
Detoxification: Chlorophyll in matcha tea acts as an excellent detoxifier and aids in cleansing the body. Chlorophyll also protects the body from harmful toxins and flushes waste out of the body effectively. The pH balance is also maintained.
Matcha tea recipes
Matcha tea powder can be blended effortlessly into smoothies, ice creams, cakes and more. Here are some exciting ways of incorporating matcha tea in your favorite dishes.
Ripe bananas 2
Matcha tea powder 1/2tsp
Add all ingredients into a blender. Blend it for 30 seconds or until smooth and enjoy. This smoothie is perfect for breakfast as it provides you with all the required nutrition to jump start your day.
Matcha in cookies is a smart way to incorporate the health benefits of matcha tea.
175 g all purpose flour
100 g butter
120 g sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3tsp of crushed nuts of your choice
2 medium sized eggs
Pinch of salt
20g of matcha powder
Preheat the oven to 375 degree F. Take a bowl and sieve together all the dry ingredients such as flour, baking soda, matcha and salt. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one after the other along with vanilla extract gently. Add the flour mixture to the above mix and fold it gently just until incorporated to make smooth dough. Freeze the dough for half an hour. Later, divide the dough into equal sized balls and gently flatten them to a cookie shape. Place them on the parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake until the edges are golden brown. It might take around 12 to 15 minutes.
Matcha ice cream
Matcha ice cream is an excellent healthy option as a post dinner dessert. Matcha blends well with milk based recipes and tastes delicious when incorporated in an ice cream.
2 cups whole milk
2 Tbsp green matcha tea powder
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
Place one bowl in ice water. Take a medium sized pan and whisk together milk, heavy cream and matcha powder. Heat the mixture stirring constantly. Slowly add sugar. Remove the pan just before the boiling point. Transfer the mixture into the bowl that was kept in ice water. Let it cool. Deep freeze the mixture for 2 to 4 hours. Put it through the ice cream machine and mix. Matcha soft ice cream is almost done. Freeze it for 3 hours before relishing.