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Thursday, 4 March 2010

Matcha Tea

Matcha Tea

By far, Matcha tea is my favourite. But its price point keeps me from daily consumption. I love making it myself with either water only or water and tea as a latte. I enjoy lattes out at a few different places. Matcha is a tea made from a finely powdered Green tea; it has a long-standing role in the history of tea. It is believed to have been introduced to Japan in 1191 A.D. by a Zen Buddhist monk named Eisai. Monks used it to stay focused and relaxed for long periods of time for deep meditation. The most active ingredient in Matcha tea is the amino acid L-Theanine, found almost exclusively in the Camellia sinensis plant (tea). It both stimulates brain wave activity and relaxes the physical body. Matcha is one of the fastest growing health drinks and tea markets in the western world currently, because of its exceptional health benefits. Matcha has an extremely high antioxidant count and numerous other health
benefits. The Kyoto region of Japan, often considered the birthplace of Japanese Green Tea, is also one of the most famous Matcha producing regions in the world. This variety of Green Tea is created by a unique process where leaves are steamed, dried and stems and veins are removed. Next, the dried leaves called "tencha" are stone ground into a powder creating the final product, Matcha. When drinking this tea you are therefore ingesting the whole Green tea leaf, and as such you receive more health benefits - in fact approximately 10x more than an infusion of traditional Green Tea leaves. It is believed for best results and to achieve the most from the health benefits it should be consumed daily. Teaopia Matcha was recommended to my father by a nutritionist a few years back. Since then most of the family has become addicted to Teaopia teas - my dad, stepmom, brother and myself. But my father is the only one who consumes it daily. Because Matcha is a powder it can be added to lots of foods and beverages; it can be added to yogurt, shakes, sprinkled on ice cream and of course traditionally prepared. To prepare Matcha the traditional way powder whip with a whisk in a small amount of warm water. Once all lumps are removed add more hot water or steamed tea. You can tell how good the quality of the Matcha is by how bright and luminescent the color is. Matcha comes in a number of grades, each progressively more expensive.

Health Benefits
  • Highest known concentration of antioxidants in a food source
  • 10x more antioxidants than Green Tea
  • 9X the beta carotene of spinach
  • High in chlorophyll which detoxifies the body
  • Boosts metabolic rate by 35-40% when consumed regularly, assisting in weight loss
  • High in L-Theanine which increases alertness, improves concentration and reduces stress
  • Fights free radicals, which can cause diseases such as cancer and heart disease
Articles in this Series:
0. Tea Tea Everywhere - Teaopia Mad Hatter Tea Party
1. Tea an Overview
2. Red Teas
3. Green Teas
4. White Teas
5. Black Teas
6. Matcha Tea
7. Yerba Mate
8. Fruit Blends
9. Wellness Blends
10. Herbal Teas
11. Purveyors of Fine Tea (my preferences.)
12. Custom Blending
13. My Favourite Teas

Top Ten Teas of 2010

Links:
Matcha - Wikipedia
Japanese Green Tea Online
Matcha and More
Teaopia


1 comment:

Eric Gower said...

Nice piece. It helps to thing of matcha in two different grades tho: drinking, and culinary. Drinking the stuff meant for culinary purposes is fraught with risk of being turned off to matcha forever, because much of it is rather nasty. But the good stuff, meant for drinking? Oh boy, pure heaven!