What is Matcha?
Matcha is a special type of powdered green tea. The tea leaves are grown with some of the same processes as regular green tea but with a hitch. The leaves are covered with shade cloths before harvest in order to promote better flavor and texture of the leaves. Once this is accomplished the leaves are handpicked, steamed for a short period of time and then dried and put into cold storage to age. Once the tea leaves reach this stage the leaves are then ground into the matcha powder that we all know and love. What is interesting is that matcha literally means “powdered tea,” that’s not too hard to remember!
Besides being a wonderful warm drink, matcha has of benefits associated with health. It has been found that matcha is nutrient-rich with vitamins A, C, E, K and the vitamin B-complex, There are also trace minerals and antioxidants which help fight off free radicals. With this, the antioxidants in matcha play a role in helping boost the immune system naturally, as well as helping to combat oxidative stress which can lead to inflammation. It has also been noted that there are additional health benefits for those who have type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular issues because matcha supports keeping cholesterol, triglyceride, and hepatic glucose levels low.
The form of caffeine that is present in matcha is theophylline which allows for a sustainable energy. Matcha gets its bright green color from the chlorophyll that is present in the leaves. It is this chemical compound that is a valuable detoxifier for not only the blood but the colon as well by helping to flush out toxins from the body. Interesting, matcha has been found to produce a calming effect on the body due to the presence of L-theanine, an naturally occurring amino acid with anti-anxiety properties. This amino has been studied through its ability to act on the brain in such a way that it produces a calming effect without the drowsiness that is usually associated.
It is clear that this powdered tea has many hallmark characteristics and benefits, what’s not to love?!
Here is one of our favorite matcha recipes:
4 tbsp (30 grams) all purpose flour
1 tsp high quality matcha powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp (12.5 grams) granulated white sugar (add more if you prefer a sweeter dessert)
3 tbsp (45 ml) nonfat milk
1/2 tbsp (7.5 ml) vegetable oil
In a microwave-safe mug, add flour, matcha powder, baking powder and sugar. Whisk until evenly blended and no lumps remain. You want to make sure to break apart any matcha or flour lumps before adding the liquid.
Add in milk and oil. Mix with whisk until batter is smooth and uniform in color. Cook in the microwave at full power for about 1 minute. Let cake cool for a few minutes before eating.