Select Page

What Is Matcha? The Full Comprehensive Guide You Need To Know

Commonly thought of as green tea, matcha is actually a little bit different. So what is matcha tea really and how is it different from green tea? The hyper green powder that is matcha tea is made out of specially grown and specially processed tea leaves.

In this article we are going to be answering that exact question, (what is matcha?) by exploring every facet of what matcha is. From the ancient beginnings of this antioxidant rich powder to how to prepare and consume it to which matcha powder you should be buying to discussing some of the many health benefits of matcha.

Unlike other teas, matcha tea leaves are grown exclusively in the shade meaning that the tea leaves hold more chlorophyll, giving the tea powder that vibrant green color it is so famous for. We will also be talking about the chlorophyll that makes matcha green tea what it is and list some of chlorophyll’s impressive health benefits.

Matcha has become so popular in the last few years finding its way into mainstream foods and drinks although many people have no idea what they are really putting into their bodies and how good it is for them!

In the following pages we are going to be covering every topic related to matcha including the different grades of matcha green tea, how to make matcha green tea at home by yourself, what you will need to make matcha green tea like a pro, a few of the many astonishing health benefits that matcha green tea has to offer and telling exactly where and how you can get your hands on this magical and vibrant green powder.  At the end of this article you will be an expert on matcha grades and teaware, able to confidently answer the question, what is matcha?

[toc]

What Is Matcha’s History?

Even with it’s rise to fame in the West, many still seem to know surprisingly little about the rich and vast history of matcha green tea powder! Many know it only as the yummy ingredient that turns their frozen shakes and trendy desserts green, but matcha green tea has an incredibly interesting history.

Matcha is commonly thought of as a Japanese green tea, but matcha was actually first grown in China (more particularly, it is thought that matcha leaves were first grown in Southern China, in the Yunnan Province). Matcha leaves come from a shrub, or tea plant called “Camellia Sinensis”. Matcha tea is made out of the whole tea leaf and because it is not heavily processed it contains unrivaled amounts of vitamins, mineral, antioxidants and other health benefits when it comes to tea.

Growing and consuming matcha tea leaves stretches all the way back to somewhere within the seventh to the ninth century China during what was known as the Tang Dynasty. Matcha has been so long used and revered that it is even mentioned in literature dating back to the year 814. During this dynasty, matcha was grown, then baked and finally molded into bricks to be used at a later stage or to be transported to other parts of the country.

Since its discovery in ancient China, matcha has been used for its medicinal and healing health properties. The ancient Chinese used matcha to treat whole host of conditions including anxiety, a high fever and inflammation throughout the body. Nowadays matcha is used to treat various ailments and it also coveted for it’s ability to enhance focus and concentration and alleviate fatigue. The famous Ancient Chinese health practitioner and Emperor Shen Nong considered matcha tea leaves to be one of the most important medicinal herbs of the day.

how to use matcha powder
What Is Matcha Photo: Matcha Green Tea

The spiritual aspect attached to matcha is not widely known about in the West but is quite important. In fact, it was a Chinese monk that first introduced matcha tea leaves to Japanese monks (accounts do however vary on whether the Chinese monk brought the matcha leaves to Japan or whether Japanese monks were introduced to the matcha tea leaves in China and then brought it over to Japan).

Japanese monks were so impressed by the healing effects and general health benefits provided by matcha tea that they brought the baked cakes of matcha and the matcha tea seeds themselves back to Japan where matcha tea quickly grew in popularity and prominence especially within the Zen monasteries. Matcha was even referred to by a famous monk by the name Eisai as the “elixir of the immortals”. Probably due to how one felt after drinking the healing tea.

In the earlier stages of the introduction of matcha tea into Japanese culture it was still so rare that only the monks and Shoguns (mostly the upper echelons of society) were able to gain access to the miracle tea leaf. This all changed in the early 1700s when a new method for processing the green tea was founded and implemented.

A man named Sohen Nagatani or is credited with developing the matcha tea processing method that was taught to farmers and made this therapeutic tea more widely available to the Japanese people, specifically in the Kyoto region of Japan. The Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu is also credited with opening many matcha tea farms in the area of Kyoto, Uji.

More recently, matcha tea seems to have been given new life and fame as the rest of the world have become borderline obsessed with the healthy green powder. Matcha green tea sales figure have skyrocket in the United States in the past twenty five years as matcha has become one of the biggest food trends around. Matcha is being added to everything from frappuccinos to ice cream to cakes and waffles. In fact even big companies like Starbucks and Haagen-Dazs have been using matcha in more and more of their products, making it even more popular and mainstream.

Many people the world over are consuming more and more matcha without being fully aware of the wide range of health benefits matcha actually holds.

matcha origins

What Is Matcha’s Historical Timeline Infographic

A few Myths surrounding Matcha Green Tea Powder

While matcha green tea is has been a staple of Japanese diets for centuries, it is still quite a new addition to a Western lifestyle and many people may not have a lot of information about this seemingly super tea, you may even have heard a few things about matcha green tea that are completely untrue! Below we are going to discuss a few of those misleading rumors about matcha green tea.

If I drink Matcha Green Tea every day I’ll be Skinny

We have heard this one many times. “Just drink a few cups of matcha green tea every day and you’ll be skinny!”. If only it were that easy! While matcha green tea does stimulate your metabolism, which is possibly the reason this rumor started in the first place, it should be used more to maintain weight loss or as a weight loss aid instead of the only thing you are using in order to lose weight. If you lead a lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a well balanced diet A WELL as drinking matcha green tea, you will definitely see results as well as feeling much better thanks to all the health benefits matcha green tea possesses (as well as having a slightly boosted metabolism).

Drinking matcha green tea powder does increase thermogenesis within the body (thermogenesis is the rate at which your body burns the calories you take in throughout the day). It obviously varies from person to person, but the average rate of thermogenesis within an adult body is about 8 to 10 percent. Drinking matcha green tea has the potential to increase the rate of thermogenesis within your body to about 34 or 35 percent. This paired with regular exercise can have a positive effect on weight loss but it should not be relied upon at all as frequency of exercise and diet play a mammoth part in weight loss. You cannot rely on matcha green tea alone to shed unwanted pounds.

These days matcha green tea is finding its way in cakes, muffins, frappuccinos, ice creams and more. Suffice to say that consuming matcha in a treat high in sugar and fat will do nothing for your weight loss. Using matcha as a metabolism boosting tool is best done by mixing the matcha green tea powder with water (hot or cold) and water only!

matcha tea weight loss
What Is Matcha’s Weight Loss Benefits

Matcha Green Tea and normal Green Tea are the same thing, Matcha Green Tea is just more expensive

There is very obviously a stark difference in price between the various types of matcha green tea powders available and your normal green tea. But why, I mean they are both just green tea, right? If you thought that, you would be wrong. Matcha green tea is vastly different to your regular green tea and that is reflected in the price of matcha green tea and the price of regular green tea.

So what is so different about the two teas that are both referred to as green tea? What is matcha green tea’s difference from regular green tea starts at the very beginning with the way that they are grown. Matcha green tea is grown primarily in the shade so as to preserve the extremely high levels of chlorophyll within the matcha green tea powder, and regular green tea is not. This is evident when looking at the color difference between the two tea powders.

Matcha green tea contains more caffeine per cup than regular green tea does. In fact, in nutritional value alone one cup of matcha green tea is comparable to up to ten cups of your run of the mill green tea. Matcha green tea also contains up to 140 times the antioxidants you can find in a cup of regular green tea! Matcha green tea contains more amino acids, polyphenols and epigallocatechin gallates than regular green tea.

The difference between matcha green tea and your normal green tea can also be seen and felt in the color, texture and especially in the taste. Matcha green tea powder (Ceremonial & Premium Grade) will be a vibrant green color whereas your average green tea leaves or powder will be more of a brownish color. Matcha green tea powder’s grind will also be much finer than regular green tea powder which can feel almost grainy. The taste is one definite way to tell the difference too although the taste of matcha green tea powder varies according the the grade of matcha green tea powder (we will be discussing the various grades of matcha green tea powder later on in this article). Matcha green tea is undoubtedly superior to regular green tea and this is why you will be paying more for matcha green tea powder than you will for normal green tea.

You need to drink Matcha Green Tea hot or you will not receive any of the Health Benefits

This myth is not as popular as the previous two have discussed but we seem to hear it from time to time. While drinking matcha green tea powder mixed with hot water is the traditional way and very healthy as their is no added sugar, syrups or milk of any time, enjoying matcha green tea as a cold beverage will give you exactly the same amount of health benefits as drinking it as a hot beverage. The same goes for using matcha to bake or cook but once again it must be kept in mind that eating marcha mixed with ice cream or baked with loads of refined sugars, oils, bleached flour and butter is not the healthiest way to enjoy all of the amazing and plentiful health benefits that matcha green tea powder encompasses.
What Is Matcha Cold Brew Example: Iced Matcha Mint Tea

A few Interesting Facts about Matcha

Matcha green tea is full of rich heritage and history. Below we have compiled a few interesting facts about this super food that you may not have known. Next times someone asks what is matcha?, you will be able to wow them with these interesting pieces of information.

While Matcha Green Tea and ordinary Green Tea are different in many ways, they are technically made from the Same Leaves

So in our section on myths about matcha green tea powder we spoke at length about how matcha green tea and regular green tea were definitely not the same, and now we are telling you that matcha green tea and regular green tea are actually made from the same tea leaves.

This may seem confusing so let us explain. Matcha green tea powder and normal green tea are both made out of a tea leaf known as Camellia Sinensis. The difference between matcha green tea powder and regular green tea, apart from the fact that matcha tea bushes are grown almost exclusively under shading so as to preserve the high levels of chlorophyll found in matcha green tea whereas regular green tea bushes are not, matcha green tea powder is made via a special process of grinding that uses the entire tea leaf which is not the case with normal green tea.

So while the two teas do actually come from the same kind of bush and tea leaves, the way in which they are grown and the process of turning them into powders is what ends up making them so different to each other.

Matcha Green Tea Powder is considered to be a Thoughtful Gift in Japan

In Western culture when you visit someone’s house for a dinner party or when you stay at someone’s house for a weekend you typically bring a gift for the host and or hostess such as a bottle of wine or whiskey, a bunch of flowers or some chocolates.

Bringing gifts to a host and or hostess in Japan works in a similar way. In Japan however it is custom to give matcha green tea powder and it is considered to be quite a thoughtful gift at that!

Maybe you can bring some good quality matcha green tea powder to a tea lover’s house next time you are invited for a stay or for dinner.

how is matcha grown
What Is Matcha Example: Matcha Leaf

Matcha Green Tea Powder is an Antioxidant Powerhouse

Antioxidant has become almost a buzzword used to sell anything from drinks to face creams to shampoos and conditioners. We all know that blueberries and acai berries are rich in antioxidants, but do you actually know what an antioxidant is, what it does and why it is so good for you?

Antioxidants are naturally occurring in a lot of fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants are a compound that actively work to protect the cells within your body from becoming damaged. Cells can be damaged from anything from your diet (eating processed foods that contain harmful chemicals or from drinking alcohol in excess), smoking cigarettes, over exposure to direct sunlight and harmful UV rays and damage done by free radicals (cells that have become unstable and attack other cells).

Antioxidants protect healthy cells from being damaged by oxidants or oxidative stress. Your body manufactures oxidants to seek out and destroy viruses and bacteria foreign to your body. But sometimes your body produces too many oxidants and when this happens they may begin to attack healthy skin or organ cells etc. It is in this instance that antioxidants are so important, to keep your healthy cells healthy.

Do demonstrate just how much more antioxidants matcha green tea powder contains compared to other well known super foods we are going to be talking about ORAC units. ORAC is the simplified way of referring to oxygen radical absorption capacity. ORAC units are how the antioxidant power of foods are measured.

So taking the very well known example of antioxidant rich acai berries, which have 55 ORAC units per gram and putting them up against matcha green tea powder, which has a mind blowing 1,384 ORAC units per gram, shows you that matcha green tea powder is an absolutely uncontested superior source of antioxidants!

The amount of antioxidants found in matcha green tea powder also plays a part in keeping not only your skin looking young, but the rest of you young too due to protecting all of your cells (cells making up your organs and muscles as well as skin cells). Okinawa is an island in the Ryukyu chain than is a part of Japan. The people of Okinawa have a reputation for having the longest life spans out of any area or group of people in the entire world. Matcha green tea is a fixed and traditional part of the diets of the people of Okinawa.

So when answering the question what is matcha? Be sure to mention it’s anti aging properties as proven by the Okinawans!

What Is Matcha: Antioxidant Comparison

Different Grades of Matcha

When answering the question, what is matcha, you need to talk about the varying grades of matcha tea available on the market. Not all matcha tea powders are created equal. Certain matcha powder is purer and better (and more expensive) than other matcha.

Matcha powder can be bought in two different grades; Ceremonial grade matcha and Culinary grade matcha. Culinary grade matcha is an umbrella grade that encompasses various different kinds of Culinary matcha, all of which we will be discussing in this article.

So more than just what is matcha? What are the different grades of matcha, what makes them different from one another and how do you choose the correct grade of matcha to use for either drinking or cooking?

Ceremonial Grade Matcha

Unlike the various kinds of Culinary grade matcha, Ceremonial grade matcha is made exclusively for the purpose of being drunk. Ceremonial grade matcha powder is to be made into a tea and drunk without any added sweeteners or any kind of milk. Ceremonial grade matcha powder should be blended with only hot water.

When Ceremonial grade matcha powder is whisked with hot water, the water will take on a vibrant green color. The taste of Ceremonial grade matcha is not as bitter as the smell of the blended matcha powder and hot water might suggest it will be. Although the Ceremonial matcha tea has a slightly grassy aroma, the tea itself (when pure) has a moderately sweet taste.

Ceremonial grade matcha powder will inevitably be more costly than Culinary grade matcha powder, in fact Ceremonial grade matcha powder can be downright expensive. A lot of care goes into the preparation of Ceremonial grade matcha powder.

how much caffeine in matcha
What Is Matcha: Ceremonial Matcha
The matcha tea leaves that will go into Ceremonial grade matcha powder is made out of matcha tea leaves that have been kept stacked in layers in the shade provided by bamboo mats. Being kept shaded is most important in the last weeks of the matcha tea leaf growth cycle. A select few matcha tea leaves are selected to be dried out to be turned into the Ceremonial grade matcha powder. Once the matcha tea leaves are ready to be turned into Ceremonial grade matcha powder, the tea leaves are broken up by hand and the veins of the leaves along with the stems of the leaves are discarded as these specific areas of the tea leaves do not contain any nutrients, vitamins or minerals.

Once the best matcha tea leaves have been selected by hand, they are dried out indoors and away from direct contact with sunlight. Being dried indoors adds again to that vibrant green color of the Ceremonial grade matcha powder. The dried out matcha tea leaves are finally turned into Ceremonial grade matcha powder by being ground into an incredibly fine powder through the use of a granite millstone.

Once the Ceremonial grade matcha powder has been ground to the correct consistency, it is almost immediately sealed in containers which are completely airtight so as to preserve the natural taste of the matcha tea powder, to keep the famous and vibrant green color and to prevent the onset of oxidation.

Whilst it is not as authentic or as premium as traditional Ceremonial grade matcha powder, there are certain grades of matcha tea powder that are known as in-betweens grades of matcha tea powder. These in-between grades are a cut above Culinary grade matcha powders, having a slightly better taste, but are not considered to be on the same level as real Ceremonial grade matcha powder.

high grade matcha green tea powder
matcha vs green tea

Culinary Grade Matcha

As you may have guessed from the name of this grade of matcha, Culinary grade matcha is the type of matcha you use for cooking and baking. This is the grade of matcha that you find in your favorite matcha treats such as ice creams and baked goods. Although Ceremonial grade matcha sounds vastly more impressive than Culinary grade matcha, Culinary grade matcha is by no means of a lesser quality than Ceremonial grade matcha. Culinary grade matcha powder is however much lower priced and has a different coloration and taste to Ceremonial grade matcha.

While Culinary grade matcha powder is more of a dull green when compared to Ceremonial grade matcha powder, it actually contains much more antioxidants than are present in Ceremonial grade matcha powder. Culinary grade matcha powder has a much more robust flavor than Ceremonial grade matcha powder has. It is possible to drink Culinary grade matcha as a tea (some people do as Culinary grade matcha is much more affordable than Ceremonial grade matcha) but it would taste better with an added sweetener.

Culinary grade matcha encompasses five sub grades of Culinary matcha powder. The five different sub grades of Culinary matcha powder are as follows;

Cafe Grade Culinary Matcha

Cafe grade Culinary matcha powder is most commonly used in baked goods as well as for cooking. Cafe grade matcha powder is commonly referred to as the every day grade of matcha powder. Cafe grade matcha has a strong flavor. This grade of matcha is made out of the tougher matcha tea leaves. Cafe grade matcha is best used mixed into sauces and into the batter of baked goods. Cafe grade Culinary matcha powder is one of the more expensive grades of Culinary matcha powders due to color and fineness. Cafe grade matcha powder is a good grade of powder to use in the making of frappuccinos and other speciality drinks.

What Is Matcha Photo: Matcha Tea Set

Kitchen Grade Culinary Matcha

Kitchen grade Culinary matcha powder is characterized by its bitter taste and dark green coloration. This grade of Culinary matcha powder is not as fine as the other grades of Culinary matcha, it is also made out of less delicate leaves than these other grades of matcha. Kitchen grade Culinary matcha powder is one of the cheaper or more economical grades of matcha powder. This grade of matcha powder is often sold and bought in bulk sizes. Kitchen grade Culinary matcha powder is best used to brew on a large scale.

Ingredient Grade Culinary Matcha

The powder of ingredient grade Culinary matcha is made of a mix of the older matcha tea leaves. Using the older tea leaves when making this matcha powder gives it a much more powerful taste. This grade of matcha powder is much more thick in consistency than other grades of matcha powder. Ingredient grade matcha is best used in recipes that are heavily dairy based such as ice cream, smoothies or milkshakes.

Classic Grade Culinary Matcha

Classic grade Culinary matcha powder is the most commonly used and the most widely available grade of Culinary matcha powders. Classic grade matcha powder is definitely a higher and arguably better grade of matcha powder (in the realm of Culinary matcha powders) but is available at a very reasonable price. For this reason classic grade Culinary matcha powder is very popular when it comes to baking, cooking or mixing it into drinks and smoothies etc. Classic grade Culinary matcha powder also has a good strong taste to it.

Premium Grade Culinary Matcha

Premium grade Culinary matcha powder is the most popular choice for making lattes and frappuccinos with. The texture of premium grade Culinary matcha is incredibly fine and therefore it mixes with any liquid quite easily. Premium grade Culinary matcha powder is made out of a mix of good tea leaves, hence the name being premium Culinary grade. The taste of premium grade Culinary matcha is very satisfying.

The last difference in grades of matcha we are going to talk about is whether the matcha, Ceremonial grade or Culinary grade, is organic or non organic. Telling the difference between organic matcha powder and non organic matcha powder is actually quite easy if you know what to look for.

what is matcha powder

Organic matcha tea powder

The word organic conjures up images of greenness, zero pesticides and overall health (as well as a higher price tag). When it comes to most food and drink items, we know that organic is always better for you. So how are you able to identify organic matcha tea powder? When prepared to drink, organic matcha tea powder has a much less vibrant green coloration when compared to non organic matcha tea powder due to not utilizing fertilizers. The organic matcha powder is also naturally slightly less sweet than its non organic counterpart.

Non organic matcha tea powder

Matcha tea leaves are grown completely in the shade to preserve the amounts of chlorophyll within the plant leaves and to retain its signature green color. When tea leaves are grown in the shade however, they do not get the energy and amino acids required from sunlight. So where will the matcha tea leaves get their energy from? The answer is fertilizer.

The strict pesticide laws that Japanese matcha tea leaf farmers are bound by ensure that matcha tea bushes are fertilized with only safe and premium grade fertilizer. These fertilizers almost pump so many minerals into the matcha tea leaf bushes that enhance the flavor, the natural sweetness of the matcha tea and that famous vibrant green color of the matcha powder.

Your decision on whether to purchase and consume organic matcha tea powder or non organic matcha tea powder should also be influenced by which country the matcha tea powder comes from. For example, matcha tea powder from India or China may not be as healthy as they do not have the strict pesticide laws that are mandatory in The United States or Canada.

It is important to remember that regardless of the grade of matcha powder, it should all be stored out of sunlight. The optimum place to store matcha powders is in an airtight container inside of the refrigerator.

organic matcha green tea powder
what does matcha taste like

Teaware Needed to enjoy Matcha

The preparation of this spiritual Japanese green tea is a bit more complicated than just boiling water and pouring the hot water into a mug with a green tea teabag in it. To enjoy matcha green tea in its purest and most authentic form, you need to accrue some specific matcha teaware. Using these specific matcha tea tools will ensure that your matcha tea is made without any clumps and that you end up with the desired frothy texture that will cover the tea.

Nowadays modern technology has allotted for various and easier tools available for the making of matcha green tea and for making iced matcha green tea, but the tools and teaware used to make matcha has not strayed far from the original accessories used to make the green, wonder health tea.

To make the perfect cup of antioxidant rich matcha green tea, you will need these following items. We are going to name the accessory and include a little bit of information about the accessory.

Bamboo matcha spoon

A bamboo matcha spoon is a handcrafted utensil that is handcrafted. Whilst you can use any kind of spoon you have, these spoons are special as these bamboo matcha spoons are made to spoon out the exact correct amount of matcha green tea powder.

Bamboo matcha whisk

The bamboo matcha whisk (known as a chasen) is absolutely pivotal to the preparation of matcha green tea. This whisk ensures that your tea is completely blended and that there are no stray matcha powder clumps left behind in your green tea. These traditional bamboo matcha whisks are made entirely from one piece of bamboo and the bamboo is split into small prongs (known as hosaki) by hand.

Ceramic bamboo matcha whisk holder

The ceramic bamboo matcha whisk holder is not absolutely required but it does ensure that your handmade bamboo matcha whisk is stored in a safe way that would reduce and damage or wear and tear. These bamboo matcha whisk holders can be made from various materials but ceramic holders are quite popular and cost effective. The bamboo matcha whisk fits over the ceramic bamboo matcha whisk holder and the holder keeps it from being left on any surface.
What Is Matcha Photo: Matcha Spoon, Matcha Whisk & Matcha Bowl

Matcha strainer

Matcha tea powder strainers are used to strain or sieve the matcha green tea powder before it is added to whatever liquid you are adding it to. Straining the matcha green tea powder ensures that there are absolutely no clumps in the matcha powder and that the powder and liquid will be mixed thoroughly. Matcha strainers come in various shapes and sizes, you can purchase a matcha strainer that suits your individual needs (aesthetic or size wise).

Matcha bowl

Matcha green tea is made in a traditional matcha bowl before being transferred into drinking cups, glasses or mugs. It is possible to use any type of bowl you already own but traditional Japanese matcha green tea bowls are available to purchase. These bowls can often be bought as part of a matcha tea set.

The items listed above make up a most basic matcha tea set. Nowadays it is possible to buy all different kinds of tea strainers, mesh tea infusers, disposable or reusable tea filters, authentic matcha teaware boxes for storing the accessories and french presses for making matcha green tea, but if you stick to the basics and mentioned above you will have everything you need to make the most perfect cup of healthy matcha green tea.

What Is Matcha Photo: Matcha Bowl,  Whisk Holder &  Matcha Whisk

What is Matcha Photo: Matcha Tea Strainers

How to prepare Matcha

The preparation ceremony of matcha green tea was founded and perfected by Zen Buddhist monks. In Japan, tea ceremonies are held regularly and students study the graceful and flowing moves of the tea master. These tea ceremonies can also range in degrees in formality, you have to be invited or be quite important to have the pleasure of attending some of them. As the name suggests, the matcha tea ceremonies are performed using ceremonial grade matcha tea powder.

Before getting on to how to prepare your own matcha green tea for yourself and others, we have included some interesting information on the traditional matcha preparation tea ceremonies that are carried out all over Japan every day. This ceremony is incredibly spiritual and represents harmony, peace and happiness. The matcha tea preparation ceremony is one of great reverence and importance in Japanese culture.

The traditional matcha tea preparation ceremonies are held in a room known as a machiai. All the guests who will view and partake in the ceremony are required to wash their hands and even to wash out their mouths with water provided to cleanse themselves for the matcha tea.

Once the guests of the ceremony have cleansed, the preparation can begin. The tea ceremony master uses traditional teaware (the ones we discussed in the above) to prepare the green tea. In the more formal matcha tea ceremonies a full three course meal is served prior to the preparation of the green tea. At the more informal ceremonies the guests are sometimes given a few sweets.

After the master of the tea ceremony has prepared the matcha green tea, the bowl containing the tea is given to the guests. Each guest will sip from the bowl, taking great care to make sure that they do not dirty it before handing it to the next guest. Once all of the guests have partaken in the matcha tasting, they will actually have the opportunity to have a closer look at the utensils that were used to prepare the matcha green tea.

These matcha tea ceremonies are very much about social bonding as they are about the delicious and invigorating matcha tea itself.

Unfortunately we cannot jet of to Japan and partake in matcha tea ceremonies every time we are craving a cup, so we are going to give you the information on how to make your very own matcha at home. Before you begin you will need to purchase or acquire the matcha tea teaware discussed earlier.

Be advised that if you are used to drinking your matcha at cafes and in sweet frozen drinks this homemade prepared matcha may taste very bitter to you in the beginning. Matcha green tea is an acquired taste for some and it is very worth while getting used to the natural and unsweetened matcha taste.

how to make matcha
What Is Matcha Topic: Preparing Matcha

How to prepare Matcha green tea at home

Apart from your matcha green tea teaware you will also need some hot boiled water and your matcha green tea powder. For making matcha green tea, it is recommended to use Ceremonial grade matcha but certain varieties of Culinary matcha will work in place of it.

Once you have gathered all of your matcha teaware and ingredients, you can begin. It is important to decide if you want a thin matcha tea (usucha matcha) or a thicker matcha koicha matcha) tea. The amount of matcha green tea powder and water you use will determine the thickness of the tea.

  1. Boil your water (about 100 ml of water to begin with) either in a pot on the stove or in a kettle.
  1. Decide if you want thin or thick matcha tea. For thin matcha you will be using one teaspoon of matcha powder and about 70 ml of water. For thicker matcha you will be using two teaspoons of matcha powder and about 40 ml of water.
  1. While your water is boiling, use your matcha strainer to sieve your matcha powder into a dry and empty bowl and make sure that there are no clumps of powder in there. If you are having trouble sieving the matcha powder, you can carefully tap the matcha strainer against the bowl. Do not use a teaspoon or any other utensil or force to push the matcha powder through the sieve.
  1. Once you have collected the fine matcha powder, take your empty matcha bowl and pour a small amount of the boiling water into it. Take your bamboo matcha whisk and dip it into the hot water just warming it and the bowl up a bit. Discard the hot water in the bowl and dry the bowl completely.
  1. Pour the sieved matcha powder into the matcha bowl. Add a small amount of the water you are using for your tea into the bowl of matcha powder. Hold the edge of the bowl firmly and begin to whisk the matcha powder and hot water with the bamboo matcha whisk.
  1. Add the rest of your hot water and continue stirring the mixture with the bamboo matcha whisk briskly until the matcha mixture begins to appear frothy. Once your matcha has frothed, enjoy! Drink from the matcha tea bowl or transfer the matcha to teacups if you desire.

 

The most enjoyable way to drink your freshly brewed and whisked matcha green tea is in a serene environment. Take the time to smell, taste and appreciated this ancient process and tea.

In order to avoid that almost undesirable “grassy” taste that matcha green tea can sometimes give off, leave your boiled water to cool slightly before adding the matcha green tea powder to it. Taking this step will ensure that you get the best possible tasting matcha green tea!

Once you have finished making your matcha green tea you will need to properly clean your teaware utensils. The most time consuming accessory to clean is the bamboo matcha whisk. Rinse the bamboo matcha whisk thoroughly with warm water. After it is clean, leave it in the open air so that it can dry naturally. The bamboo spoon, matcha strainer and matcha bowl can all be easily rinsed and left to dry on a drying rack or towel. Only put your teaware away after it is completely dry.

Health benefits of Matcha

The health benefits of matcha green are astoundingly numerous. Matcha is often confused with regular green tea but matcha is much richer in vitamins and minerals than your run of the mill green tea.

You cannot possibly answer the question what is matcha, without talking about all the health benefits this special green tea holds. Below we have compiled a list of some of these wonderful benefits but by no means all. Matcha is most definitely deserving of the title super food.

  • What is Matcha’s Benefit #1: Matcha green tea is full of antioxidants. Antioxidants keep our cells safe from damage done by free radicals (cells that have become unstable). Antioxidants limit inflammation, can keep your skin looking younger, keep the cells in your immune system healthy and regulate mood disorders (and much more). When antioxidants protect your cells it could prolong your life. A study carried out on Japanese adults showed that the test subjects that were consuming five or more cups of matcha green tea a day had a significantly reduced chance of dying during the eleven year study.
  • What is Matcha’s Benefit #2: Matcha green tea can heighten the sensation of calm within you. This particular effect of matcha green tea is why it was included in tea ceremonies and meditation by Zen Buddhist monks. Matcha tea leaves contain an amino known as L-Theanine which boosts alpha wave activity within the brain. Matcha gives you the calm without the drowsiness. People that struggle with anxiety or ADHD may find that including a cup or two of matcha green tea in their daily diet brings them a sense of relief if only for the periods following the consumption of the matcha green tea. The presence of vitamin K (found in chlorophyll which is plentiful in matcha green tea powder) also has a positive effect on the brains of people who are suffering from anxiety.
  • What is Matcha’s Benefit #3: Regularly drinking matcha green tea is incredibly good for your skin. The antioxidative capabilities of matcha stave off free radicals which can cause serious damage to skin cells. Matcha green tea is beneficial for people with all different skin types, even those that experience negative reactions to applying substances containing vitamin C to their faces. As matcha green tea has become a more popular ingredient in Western drinks and foods, many high end skin cream companies have started using matcha green tea extracts as an active ingredient in their face masks. Next time you are faced with a blueberry, acai berry or matcha green tea sheet mask, go with the matcha sheet mask for extra antioxidant skin protecting power!
  • What is Matcha’s Benefit #4: Drinking matcha green tea can actually be very beneficial to any person suffering from the HIV virus. Matcha green tea powder actually works to protect the brains of people that have been diagnosed with the HIV virus from the virus itself. The epigallocatechin present in matcha green tea can penetrate through blood brain barriers which usual antiretroviral drugs are not able to do.
what is matcha green tea good for

What Is Matcha’s Health Benefits

  • What is Matcha’s Benefit #5: Matcha green tea enhances and boosts your concentration levels, your levels of mental alertness and your memory. The L-Theanine present in matcha tea have another important effect on our bodies. The L-Theanine spurs on production of dopamine and serotonin in the brain. These two chemicals together promote concentration as well improving your mood and your memory. L-theanine is also said to improve creativity.
  • What is Matcha’s Benefit #6: Matcha green tea works to detoxify your body. Due to being grown in the shade, matcha green tea is an unrivaled source of the plant chemical chlorophyll, containing much much more chlorophyll than your average green tea. Chlorophyll is special because it actually has a hand in cleansing your blood and works to maintain the alkalinity of your tissues and blood. Other health benefits of chlorophyll include but are not limited to:
  • What is Matcha’s Benefit #7: Increasing the amount of red blood cells when the body becomes depleted. Red blood cells are important as they carry oxygen around our bodies. Chlorophyll enables these red blood cells to carry even more oxygen than usual.
  • What is Matcha’s Benefit #8: Protects against the development of anemia which can leave you feeling lethargic and lightheaded amongst many other negative symptoms.
  • What is Matcha’s Benefit #9: Can be used to soothe the side effects of arthritis (a chronic disease that results in constant and sometimes severe pain within the joints) due to its capabilities as a natural antioxidant.
  • What is Matcha’s Benefit #10: It contains magnesium which has a plethora of health benefits including combatting anxiety and depression by expelling harmful metals collected in the brain, relieving uncontrollable and painful muscles spasms and aches, combatting insomnia, increasing energy levels, making sure that calcium ends up in your bones and not lining your blood vessels and or arteries and delaying the signs of aging by stimulating enzymes which are anti aging (amongst many, many more).
  • What is Matcha’s Benefit #11: Chlorophyll also contains vitamin K which can prevent kidney stones or urinary crystals (which are extremely painful and can be debilitating during the passing process) from forming as well as working as a natural blood thinner which works to prevent the formation of blood clots which could potentially cause a serious stroke.
  • What is Matcha’s Benefit #12: If you are suffering from chronic pancreatitis (an inflammatory disease of your pancreas) you will be given chlorophyll intravenously as it works to relieve discomfort and any abdominal pain caused by chronic pancreatitis as well alleviating the fever the inflammatory disease cause.
  • What is Matcha’s Benefit #13: Chlorophyll also relieve symptoms of sinusitis and the common cold.
is matcha good for you
  • What is Matcha’s Benefit #14: Drinking matcha green tea can help you lose weight by burning calories. Drinking matcha tea gives your metabolism a boost, resulting in calories being burned up to four times faster than they usually are. The faster your metabolism works, the more fat you burn. Drinking matcha green tea before a workout also stimulate more fat and calorie burning. It is important to note that as we mentioned earlier in the article, drinking matcha green tea powder should be used as a diet or a diet supplement. Drinking this amazing tea has been proven to give your metabolism a boost especially when paired with moderate exercise (it is important to always consult your healthcare provider before attempting any strenuous exercise) but if you lead an unhealthy lifestyle and do not eat a well balanced diet or do any exercise, you will not see any weight loss results from drinking matcha green tea alone.
  • What is Matcha’s Benefit #15: Matcha green tea contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which is a polyphenol which is also an antioxidant. EGCG has numerous health benefits. EGCG protects the body by fighting against fungal, viral and bacterial infections (including the herpes virus and Hepatitis B and C). EGCG also works to maintain the health of our hearts and lowers the chances of developing heart disease (which could be potentially fatal) by lowering levels of cholesterol within the body and working to reduce lipid accumulation within vascular endothelial cells. EGCG is also known to have chemopreventive properties and it can keep your blood sugar levels from spiking and dropping dramatically.
  • What is Matcha’s Benefit #16: Matcha green tea can soothe an upset stomach as it works to improve gastrointestinal functions. Matcha green tea can stimulate bowel movements and rid the body of harmful toxins and chemicals. This is due to the high levels of fiber that are found in matcha green tea powder.
  • What is Matcha’s Benefit #17: Drinking matcha green tea regularly can keep your teeth in good condition. Matcha green tea prevents the formation of cavities in your teeth. When you drink matcha green tea the acid levels in your saliva are reduced which is better for the enamel coating your teeth. Green tea controls the amount of bacteria in your mouth and lessens the amount of plaque build up in your mouth and on your teeth. Drinking matcha green tea also prevents the development of bad breath, a condition which can be socially embarrassing. A study actually found that participants that included matcha green tea in their daily diets had superior periodontal health when compared to participants who did not include matcha green tea in their diets.
  • What is Matcha’s Benefit #18: Drinking matcha green tea can help your body fight against diabetes. Matcha green tea improves your insulin sensitivity (just how sensitive your body is to the effects of ingesting insulin, insulin sensitivity does not work the same in everyone), lowers your levels of blood sugar and can actually prevent the progression of type one diabetes. A study carried out on Japanese test subjects also showed that the study participants who regularly drank matcha green tea had a forty two percent lower chance of eventually developing type two diabetes.
  • What is Matcha’s Benefit #19: The antiinflammatory properties and nutrients found in matcha green tea are very good for the health of your liver. Matcha green tea contains catechin which protects all of our organs from toxic substances. Matcha green tea can be used to treat or at least lesson viral hepatitis and inflammation of the liver. Matcha green tea is also widely thought to reduce fatty liver.
  • What is Matcha’s Benefit #20: Drinking matcha green tea can actually help any wounds you have to heal at a quicker rate which is thanks to the high levels of chlorophyll present in matcha green tea. Chlorophyll works to drastically slow the reproduction rate of any harmful bacterias within the body. Chlorophyllin has actually been added to ointments and medications used to treat open wounds since the 1940’s because of this. Chlorophyll is best used to treat ulcers and it can actually reduce or even eradicate any unpleasant smells that may occur as a result of the open wound.
is matcha healthy
  • What is Matcha’s Benefit #21: Matcha green tea contains a plethora of minerals and vitamins including but not limited to calcium, zinc, phosphorus, manganese, potassium, copper, vitamin A, vitamin B1, and vitamin E.
  • What is Matcha’s Benefit #22: Matcha green tea powder has been used for thousands of years as an aphrodisiac as it is known to be able to increase your sex drive. Matcha green tea increases the production of the chemical dopamine which is known to give people that “feel good” feeling which could aid with putting you in “the mood” as well as increasing feelings of attraction. The antioxidants in matcha green tea can also ensure the better health of sperm in men resulting in healthier and stronger “swimmers”.
  • What is Matcha’s Benefit #23: Drinking matcha green tea can help to prevent the onset of Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is a debilitating chronic condition in which nerve cells in the brain that are responsible for the production of dopamine are attacked and damaged. When dopamine is not produced in the correct amounts it cannot send the necessary signals to the brain and ultimately it will affect the way that you move your body. It is once again the antioxidants found in matcha green tea that fights the onset of Parkinson’ by preventing the damage done to cells within the brain.

So to answer the question, what is matcha? Matcha is an ancient medicine, a spiritual experience, a trendy ingredient in your frappuccino, a unique taste, a relaxant as well as an energizer and hopefully a new staple in your pantry!

Please note that the health benefits above do not cover the entire sphere of health benefits that matcha green has to offer! Matcha green tea is without a doubt one of the healthiest hot or cold drinks that you could treat your brain, immune system, skin and mood to.

what is matcha green tea

Caffeine; The difference between Coffee and Matcha

Coffee and matcha green tea are two go to drinks for an energy boost due to the caffeine these two drinks contain. Coffee is arguable the most popular stimulant drink on the market. In fact, coffee sales in The United States make up about 8 percent of of the ever growing U.S. coffee market. Around 50 percent of people living in The United States drink coffee regularly and the average American drinks around three cups of coffee every day.

And while drinking coffee does have some health benefits (coffee is a good source of fiber, drinking coffee can reduce pain related to overexertion during exercise, drinking coffee can lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and type II diabetes, drinking coffee can lower your risk of potentially developing heart disease which could lead to a stroke or a heart attack, drinking coffee could lower the risk of developing certain cancers specifically colorectal cancer it also has quite a few negative side effects that especially occur when coffee is drunk in excess.

A few of the negative effects of drinking too much coffee include digestional issues such as diarrhea and indigestion, raising your blood pressure levels, causing you to become dehydrated primarily because coffee acts as a diuretic, possibly increasing cholesterol levels in certain people, possibly increasing the production of acid within your stomach which could result in excess acid eating away at your stomach lining causing even more stomach problems, coffee can affect the way that nutrients are absorbed by your body and can wreak havoc on your central nervous system which can cause you to feel more anxious and irritable.

Matcha is not absolutely perfect and over consumption could also potentially lead to a few negative side effects (too much matcha can cause headaches, heartburn and can make it difficult to fall asleep, but the negative side effects of coffee far outweigh those of matcha green tea.

So as we know, matcha and coffee both contain the caffeine that so many people need to really kickstart their day or to help them push through the last few hours of their day, but why is matcha a better source of caffeine than coffee? The reason that matcha green tea is a much better source of caffeine than coffee is because the caffeine in matcha green tea and the caffeine in coffee affect your body differently.

What Is Matcha’s Effect During The Day Vs Coffee

When you drink a lot of coffee you will probably experience a sharp boost in energy and concentration followed by a total crash where you begin to feel lethargic and easily irritated. When you consume coffee the caffeine present in coffee stimulates your central nervous system and increases your heart rate. When the caffeine begins to wear off (when you experience the drop or crash) the extra production of dopamine and adrenaline grinds to a halt and you will be able to physically notice it.

Matcha green tea contains a form caffeine known as theophylline which is slightly different to the caffeine present in coffee. Theophylline works to sustain energy levels without an energy crash by releasing energy slowly. Theophylline supports healthy adrenal gland activity and works to balance out hormones within your body.

Matcha green tea (unless drunk as a frappuccino, for example) is also drunk without any added sugar or milk (whereas coffee generally is) which could also lead to uncomfortable side effects. So while both of these popular hot or iced drinks can give you a sudden energy boost, and even though coffee is undoubtedly cheaper and easier to come by in a hurry, matcha green tea is king in that it does not leave you feeling drained after the effects of the caffeine it contains begin to wear off.

When it comes to what is in your cup however, coffee has 163 milligrams of caffeine per cup whereas matcha green tea powder contains 70 milligrams. The suggested healthy daily amount of caffeine (recommended for adults) you should try to stick to is between 200 and 300 milligrams of caffeine. Apart from the varying ways that the caffeine in the two popular drinks effect your body and central nervous system, this also means that you are free to drink more matcha green tea than coffee throughout the day and remain under the recommended healthy daily amount of caffeine (recommended for adults).

what is matcha

Where to purchase the Highest Quality Matcha

Now that you know how to answer the question what is matcha?, know all about the rich history of matcha green tea powder, know about all the health benefits this super green powder has to offer and know how to make it at home like a pro, your next question will probably be where can I buy some high quality matcha?

While you are able to find matcha green tea at or from from your local coffee or tea establishment, Asian supermarket or online, if you are looking for the highest quality matcha green tea from a brand that you can truly trust, you need to look no further than Kenko Matcha.

Kenko Matcha is committed to providing you with the finest matcha green tea at a good price. The texture and taste of the matcha that Kenko Matcha provides is superior as the matcha green tea powder itself is carefully sourced and selected to provide you with the perfect most aromatic, brimming with goodness cup of matcha green tea each and every time.

You will find all the information you are looking for, including prices, available matcha grades availability and purchasing details on Kenko Matcha website. Click on over and bring the healing and zen effects of matcha green tea in your daily life!