Some of you may have heard of matcha at your local coffee shop or a foodie’s Instagram page, but have you ever wondered what kind of health benefits this green drink holds? Look no further, we are here to enlighten you.
Matcha is a powdered tea made from green tea leaves primarily grown in the Japanese regions of Uji and the Aichi prefecture, according to Pure Leaf. The tea is grown specifically shielded from direct sunlight which creates an abundance of chlorophyll in the leaves, causing a more pigmented green color in the tea. After the tea is harvested, the leaves are ground into a fine powder, which becomes matcha powder.
Most of the matcha tea that you can find in today’s market is mass-produced and easy to prepare by whisking the powder with water. But, when the tea was first enjoyed back in the 9th century, the process from plant to mug was much more ritualistic. Even now, people still use ceremonial grade matcha powder to perform the matcha tea ceremony.
“Buddhist monks in Japan developed the tea ceremony to foster mindfulness and inner quiet,” according to Matcha.com. “Today, many people study and practice the tea ceremony, performing it to honor the meeting between host and guests and to celebrate harmony, respect and tranquility.”
The host and guests taking part in the ceremony first go through a purification process, and then partake in a meal of multiple courses called kaiseki. Then, the host prepares a room for the tea ceremony and cleans all the necessary utensils like the tea bowl and bamboo whisk. The host uses ceremonial grade matcha powder to make a thicker version of the tea called koicha by whisking hot water and matcha powder together, and then a cup of the tea is passed between the guests who each take a sip. Next, the same process is repeated with a thinner mixture of the tea called usucha. When all the guests are done drinking, the utensils are cleaned, and the hosts and guests bow to each other to end the ceremony, all according to Matcha.com.
Not only does matcha have a rich history but it is also rich in health benefits! It is high in plant compounds called catechins which act as natural antioxidants, according to Healthline, an online health resource. Research has also found that matcha can improve brain function, and it contains a compound called L-theanine that encourages alertness and offsets the crash caused by caffeine. Since matcha powder is made from the green tea plant, it contains the same health perks and more that you get from drinking a classic cup of green tea.
Because of its many health benefits and long history of use, maybe matcha is the new green addition to your diet that you’ve been looking for! Try it out to see if you and this new drink are a matcha made in heaven.
- 3⁄4 teaspoon ceremonial grade Matcha Powder
- Lavender infused simple syrup
- Half and half
Boil water. Add your Matcha tea powder to cup, and dd hot water to cup, as much as you would for tea water. Add in lavender infused simple syrup. (Add more or less of syrup depending on taste). Add in half and half. Stir.
DID YOU TRY IT?
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