Matcha is premium green tea powder from Japan used for drinking as tea or as an ingredient in recipes. While other green teas are grown throughout the world, matcha is unique to Japan. It is the heart of the Japanese way of tea and has been celebrated in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony for hundreds of years.
Matcha is renowned for numerous health benefits. It is rich in nutrients, antioxidants, fiber and chlorophyll. The health benefits of matcha exceed those of other green teas because matcha drinkers ingest the whole leaf, not just the brewed water. One glass of matcha is the equivalent of 10 glasses of green tea in terms of nutritional value and antioxidant content.
Read more about the health benefits of matcha powdered tea.
MATCHA HEALTH BENEFITS
Matcha contains L-theanine, an amino acid known to relax the mind. For this reason, matcha is also known as a mood enhancer. Buddhist monks drank matcha to assist in meditation, as matcha’s amino acids, combined with caffeine, offer a sustained calm alertness over time. Amino acids are also what gives matcha is distinctive taste. They contribute to what is known as the fifth taste, or umami, characterized by a rich creamy mouth feel.
Chlorophyll and amino acids give matcha its unique rich taste, an initial vegetal, astringent taste, followed by a lingering sweetness. Matcha made in the traditional Japanese style, whisked with water, is a full-bodied green tea. The intensity of the experience compares to one’s first taste of dark chocolate or red wine. When added as an ingredient, the taste of matcha becomes subtler. It adds the flavor and color of green tea to your creation, be it a smoothie, latte, savory sauce or pastry.
Several weeks prior to harvest in the Spring, farmers cover the tea plants with bamboo mats or tarp, gradually reducing the amount of sunlight that reaches the plants. This step increases the chlorophyll content and turns the leaves dark green, giving matcha its distinct green color.
After harvesting, the leaves are steamed and then air dried. Next, the leaves are sorted for grade, and then destemmed and deveined. At this stage, the leaves become tencha, the precursor to matcha. The tencha is then ground and becomes matcha.
Tea grade matcha is ground on a stone mill to achieve a fine powder texture, unlike industrial grade matcha which is ground by machines. The stone grinding produces a specially shaped powder molecule which impacts the taste and mouth feel of the matcha. All grades of Matcha Source tea are stone ground.
Matcha teas made from young leaves at the top of the plant create fresh grassy sweet tasting bowls of tea. More mature leaves are used for blending, or ingredient grades. These are not as finely de-stemmed and usually have a more astringent flavor profile. Read more in our Matcha Buyer’s Guide.
Matcha Buyers Guide
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