Matcha Green Tea: Cup of vitamin goodness

Matcha is a finely milled vibrant green tea powder made from the highest quality tea leaves grown exclusively in select regions of Japan.

Made from the nutrient-rich young leaves picked from the tips of shade-grown Camellia sinensis plants, matcha green tea is steamed, stemmed, and de-vined before being stone-ground into very fine powder. Matcha green tea powder is then stored away from light and oxygen in order to preserve its bright green colour and antioxidant properties.

Matcha has been known for centuries for its energy boosting, mind focusing, and metabolism enhancing properties. The unqiue way in which it is grown and with it being powdered means that matcha delivers all the benefits of green tea, but to a much higher potency. When you drink matcha you ingest the whole leaf. This differs to normal tea where the leaves are only infused with the water. One glass of matcha is the equivalent of 10 glasses of green tea in terms of its nutritional value and antioxidant content.

Drinking matcha green tea has also been shown to increase metabolism and help the body burn fat about four times faster than average. Again, unlike many diet aides currently on the market, matcha causes no negative side-effects such as increased heart rate and high blood pressure.

Just one bowl of matcha green tea provides substantial quantities of potassium, vitamins A & C, iron, protein, and calcium.

Matcha green tea has been drunk as part of the tea ceremony for over 900 years – being the preferred choice for Buddhist monks who drank matcha green tea to keep them alert and focused during hours of meditation, and Samurai warriors who drank matcha before going into battle due to the tea’s energising properties.

So for me now, gone are the green tea tea bags in favour of matcha green tea powder. It adds mere seconds of whisking time to what a normal cup of tea would take, but well worth the wait and the benefits to your health.

Until recently, finding matcha green tea powder outside of Japan was rare. Now matcha green tea is being made available to the rest of the world thanks to a number of specialist brands.

Here’s Life & Soul Magazine’s pick of matcha green tea powders.

teapigs Matcha Green Tea
teapigs organic matcha comes from the renowned Nishio region in Japan, where some of the country’s highest quality tea leaves are grown. teapigs are renowned for their quality teas, and the matcha green tea powder certainly raises the eyebrows for all the right reasons.

A beautiful vibrant green – its colour owing to the high levels of chlorophyll found in matcha – teapigs matcha green tea is a powder in its finest form. Due to its super fine consistency, I found the powder did not clump on mixing with hot water.

It is recommended that you add ½ a teaspoon of matcha green tea powder to hot water when drinking as a tea. Now you can whisk matcha green tea powder one of two ways. Either use a hand held electric milk frother such as an Aerolatte, or you can go down the traditional route – served in a bowl and whisked with a bamboo whisk. For convenience, the Aerolatte does a pretty nifty job and leaves plenty of bubbles on the top.

teapigs matcha green tea has a pleasant earthy taste. For some this taste may be referred to as bitter, but for those acclimatised to the taste of green tea in general, will find it to be a refreshing and grounding start to the day especially. The matcha green tea powder raises energy levels at a pace that feels gentle and balanced, rather than frazzled and erratic which black tea can do.

As an avid tea drinker, I usually consume several cups of green or white tea a day. I found that my consumption of tea had dramatically declined upon using teapigs matcha green tea, in by no means a bad way. Rather I found three cups of teapigs matcha green tea a day left me satisfied and sustained my energy levels, without craving any additional cuppas for pick-me-ups. And your skin will be glowing too.

At £20 for an 30g tin, teapigs matcha green tea is on the expensive side. Matcha, in general, is not a cheap option. But if you want the health benefits that matcha green tea powder brings, it’s priceless really. And the fact that you drink less of it than any other tea means a little goes a long way. teapigs Matcha Green Tea, £20 for 30g

Vitalife Matcha Green Tea
Vitalife take their matcha green tea very seriously, so much so that they make their teas available in both beginner’s grade and ceremonial grade.

Having grades is great for news for both matcha newbies and matcha enthusiasts. I went straight for the kill indulging in the stuff of samurai warriors – that would be the ceremonial grade.

According to Vitalife, the ceremonial grade matcha, in comparison to the beginner’s grade, uses only the smallest, youngest tea leaves on the bush – giving it a distinctly smooth flavour. Whereas the beginner’s grade uses more mature leaves from further down the tea bush.

Like with all matchas, Vitalife’s matcha green tea powder can be drank as tea or added to smoothies. As a tea, Vitalife’s matcha green tea has a distinctive earthy taste and is energising. If you don’t like the taste of green tea, it’s unlikely that you are going to gel with matcha, regardless of which brand you try. But that shouldn’t stop you gaining from matcha’s health benefits.

Vitalife’s matcha green tea work particularly well in smoothies. I found that blending one teaspoon of matcha with banana, strawberries and almond milk masked the taste significantly, whilst giving a shot of matcha energy. A great way to take your matcha for those who are not too keen on the earthy taste of matcha.

After a fortnight of using Vitalife’s match green tea powder daily, be it for a cup of tea or smoothie, I felt more alert throughout the day. Cravings for mid-morning or mid-afternoon snacks were also curbed thanks to a 3 cups a day policy of drinking Vitalife’s matcha green tea. Vitalife Japanese Matcha Ceremonial Grade, £25.82 for 80g

Clearspring Organic Japanese Matcha Green Tea Powder
Clearspring organic ceremonial matcha comes from Uji, a region high in the hills around Kyoto, renowned for producing the best Japanese teas. The finest young tea buds are picked, dried and ground in a granite mortar into a very fine, bright green powder made using environmentally sustainable and non-GM ingredients.

If you see yourself consuming matcha green tea on a regular basis, Clearspring Organic Japanese Matcha Green Tea Powder is an affordable option that does not compromise on taste or flavour.

But Clearspring Organic Japanese Matcha Green Tea Powder does not seem to dissolve easily when used as tea, leaving a lot of powdered clumps at the bottom of the cup. Even when using an electric whisk, a lot of sediment remained in the cup.

While Clearspring Organic Japanese Matcha Green Tea Powder is not ideal for use in traditional methods as a tea, it does however work best in smoothies and baking even.

Clearspring matcha green tea does not fall short of quality in terms of taste, but if you want a powder that dissolves and blends easily as a tea, it is worth paying the little extra for a powder that has both.

Rosalind Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She is a writer specialising in sustainable life & style, music, entertainments and wellbeing. Rosalind also works as a spiritual life coach and intuitive advisor helping people to become who they truly are and manifest their heart & soul’s desires into their lives: www.rosalindmedea.com

 

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