So, what is matcha, and why has it become so popular?
Matcha is a bright green powder derived from young tea leaves. This variant of green tea was discovered in Japan, where it was realized that it possesses far more antioxidant capacity than traditional green tea. Matcha has been widely appraised for its ability to reduce harmful cardiovascular events, promote weight loss, and dampen anxiety.
Where And How Was Matcha Discovered Anyways?
This gorgeous green tea powder has attracted the attention of every passionate tea fanatic.
What we see today as a cloud of fine dust on top of cheesecakes was once no more than a tiny plant found in China, circa the 8th century.
In the 12th Century, Myoan Eisai, the Buddhist Monk, ground some young tea leaves and brewed them in hot water.
Eisai then brought this powdered tea to Japan where it made its debut as ‘Matcha’; its cultivation was met by an accruing trend in the southern half of the country.
The Japanese conducted various tea ceremonies (known as Chanoyu) where Matcha stood out as the star of the day!
With the globalized world that we live in today, it didn’t take that long for this form of tea to reach the western world.
Today, Matcha and Matcha-rich delicacies are found in stores and deli restaurants worldwide.
What Are The Two Types Of Matcha?
Remember how we talked about the Japanese tea ceremonies in the beginning?
Well, that led to the creation of two different types of Matcha tea.
A thinner or lighter version of Matcha tea, commonly found in delis and restaurants.
What sets it apart from the other variant is the amount of water incorporated into it.
Usucha contains relatively less Matcha powder and more water.
Double the quantity of Matcha and cut down on the water content; the result would be thick matcha flavored tea known as Koicha.
This is the one enjoyed during Japanese tea festivals.
Its consistency is almost paint-like!
Koicha is made from the highest quality Matcha whereas Usucha incorporates the second-highest grade of Matcha.
How Is Matcha Tea Made?
Matcha tea is prepared by limiting the sun exposure of the tea leaves to boost chlorophyll and L-Theanine levels.
P.s: this explains Matcha’s beautiful dark green color!
The best leaves and buds are selected to undergo a final steaming process.
Gyokuro is a premium Matcha tea that results from ‘rolling’ out the leaves before drying.
Tencha on the other hand is a variant that results when the leaves are allowed to dry as they lay flat atop a surface.
Leaves are then stripped off their veins and stems; milling them right after converts them into a slippery powder we call Matcha!
How Can Matcha Benefit Me?
High Antioxidant Capacity
In contrast to regular green tea, Matcha has more antioxidants and hence combats free radical damage more efficiently.
Lowers Blood Pressure & Cholesterol
Matcha is rich in Catechins, which are phenolic compounds that protect against free radical damage.
Since they also lower blood pressure and cholesterol, their activity is thought to reduce the chance of developing heart diseases. It might even work to protect against strokes!
Anti-Cancerous & Anti-Inflammatory
This property is accredited to its antioxidant capacity.
However, further research is deemed necessary to form a robust hypothesis.
Good For Teeth!
It has a decent amount of Fluoride content to protect against dental caries.
Also, it tends to balance out the acid levels so that erosive damage to the tooth enamel is waived off.
However, keep in mind that flouride is said to affect the pineal gland. While the amount of flouride is low, it’s worth mentioning since you know I am all about optimal brain function!
On a side note, I have covered some ways you can decalcify your pineal gland here.
Wakes You Up!
Matcha has more caffeine than regular green tea, and hence makes a perfect coffee substitute!
What is Matcha? – How it Compares to Regular Old Green Tea?
- Higher Caffeine content
- Contains more EGCG (Catechins)
- Tastes creamier (it even has a grassy taste to it!)
- Tedious preparation process
How To Consume Matcha
It’s actually quite easy!
Traditionally, bamboo whisks are used to mix the matcha powder with boiling water.
But you can carry out the same process using your regular whisk and a strainer that can filter out all the clumps.
The reason for ‘whisking’ matcha is to create a rich foamy lather that gives the tea a decadent texture.
For many people, the saying goes, “What is matcha without milk?”
Matcha lattes involve the use of hot milk instead of water; it also happens to be a superior alternative to coffee!
IMPORTANT: However, the use of milk nullifies or reduces the antioxidant capacity of matcha tea; casein and other milk proteins adhere to the antioxidants and hence render them ‘impotent’.
However, there are still potent health benefits associated with drinking matcha as a latte!
Matcha powder may also be incorporated into fruit smoothies, acai bowls, granola bars, yogurts, and bakery items!
Possible Side Effects Of Matcha Consumption
There aren’t any side effects of this evergreen beauty!
However, an excess of matcha may cause:
- Insomnia (Read more about the best nootropics for insomnia here)
Most of these symptoms are simply a result from the effects of caffeine.
What Is Matcha? And Why Has It Become So Popular? – My Final Thoughts…
My taste buds first encountered this green powder when I came across a deli that served delectable cheesecakes.
There was one that looked so rich and dense, the layers of which were wrapped in fresh green matcha specks.
I knew I had to try it!
Surprisingly, its taste was much more diverse than I had expected! Matcha is one of those ingredients that you’d either end up falling in love with or never try again!
That being said, its benefits are praiseworthy and one should give this green bean a try!
Ready to give matcha a try?
About David Gracey
Founder of SuperMindHacker.com
In other words, I am completely obsessed with anything and everything related to cognitive brain enhancement!
Whether it's nootropic supplements, challenging brain puzzles, or even meditation techniques, chances are, I've tried it! This website is my outlet to give back and share what I've learned in the past 15+ years in this field of study.
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