Do you love coffee more than life, but find that too much caffeine gives you the jitters? Are you looking for a way to stay energetic at work, at the gym, or while taking care of the kiddos, but still be able to sleep well at night? Matcha tea might be your miracle drink.
Matcha, which literally translates to “powdered tea,” is different than the bagged tea you usually drink because instead of just steeping the leaves and then throwing them out, you’re actually ingesting powder made from the leaves.
History Of Matcha
Matcha has a long history in both China and Japan, and is closely connected to meditation — the practice of Zen meditation in particular.
Way, way back in the Tang Dynasty of China (618–907), tea leaves were steamed and made into bricks that made trading and storing it easier. To make the tea, pieces of the brick would be broken off, pulverized into powder, and then whipped with hot water. This Chinese method of preparing tea, and Zen Buddhism, were both brought to Japan around 1191, and since then, an appreciation of matcha tea has bloomed.
How Matcha Is Grown
Twenty to 30 days before the tea leaves are harvested, they’re covered with a cloth to prevent direct sunlight from hitting them. This turns the leaves a much darker shade of green, increases chlorophyll levels, and causes amino acids to form.
Typically, organic matcha is hand picked, dried, and then ground into a bright green powder.
The Japanese regions that are most famous for producing matcha are Uji in Kyoto, and Nishio in Aichi.
True, unsweetened matcha tends to have a bitter, almost vegetable-like taste. Just like regular green tea, a good cup of matcha should still taste somewhat strong, but can be naturally sweetened with milk or nut milks.
If you’re drinking something that basically tastes like sugar, chances are the matcha powder used either has added ingredients or has been over-sweetened with sugar.
Health Benefits Of Matcha
Why would a tea with as much caffeine as a cup of coffee be connected to the traditionally calm art of meditation? It’s because matcha is full of L-Theanine, a naturally occurring amino acid that helps induce calmness.
Matcha is also full of catechins, antioxidants that have been shown to help fight against, and possibly even prevent, cancer. A few other common foods — like cocoa and apples — also contain catechins, but matcha is more catechin-dense than those other foods, meaning you get a lot more catechin bang for your buck in one serving of matcha.
A Great Brand
Like all teas, not every brand of matcha is created equal. If you’re buying it in the store, make sure there are no added ingredients like sugar or powdered milk, and try to buy organic if possible. And since matcha lattes are all the rage these days, don’t be afraid to ask your local barista how they make them.
We’re a big fan of Kiss Me Organics, and if you use the coupon code “greenblender” when you check out online, you’ll receive 20% off your first order!
Matcha Tea Smoothies
We’re big fans of matcha, which means that we frequently put it in our smoothies. Here are a few of our favorite recipes.
Almond Avocado Matcha
You hear a lot about the “good fat” in avocados, but what does that mean, exactly? The main fat in avocados is oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid also present in olive oil. Oleic acid is good for healthy skin and hair, helps reduce inflammation, and may have cancer-fighting properties. Paired with matcha, a powdered green tea with more antioxidants than any other superfood, this smooth and nutty green smoothie will help you be healthy inside and out!
Creamy Matcha Cardamom Iced Latte
Calling all caffeine lovers! If you’re looking for the perfect buzz without the crash that comes later, this combination of matcha and green coffee has your name on it. In addition to giving you non-jittery energy, Matcha has the amino acid L-theanine, which helps to improve clarity and concentration. Green coffee powder, which is made from coffee beans that have not yet been roasted, is high in antioxidants, and both the green coffee and matcha have been involved in weight loss studies. Add some creamy avocado and squash, and the comfy spice of cardamom, and you may have found the perfect replacement for that morning latte.
Matcha Ginger Green Tea
Matcha is a traditional Japanese green tea. Finely powdered whole tea leaves provide a higher concentration of nutrients than tea that is simply brewed with leaves. Matcha is good for the heart and healthy digestion. Paired with ginger and a small amount of caffeine, this is an ideal pick-me-up for any time you might be slumping. Apple and spinach provide fiber and chia seeds kick in the protein.
Braeburn Apple Tea
Tart with a hint of fall spiciness, Braeburn apples in their prime right now, and are a fantastic addition to any smoothie. They were discovered growing by chance in New Zealand in the 50s, and have since become an orchard favorite. With a good amount of vitamins A and C, Braeburns are also high in fiber. Matcha green tea has the amino acid L-Theanine, which has been shown to boost serotonin and also helping the mind feel calm. Basically, you get the alertness of caffeine without the jitters, which makes matcha a serious contender for the best superfood ever.
Green Tea Latte
Pure energy in a glass. Matcha tea isn't just known to help boost your mood, energy and concentration, it’s also a powerful detoxifier. Matcha is rich in Chlorophyll, which eliminates both chemicals and heavy metals from the body. Brazil nuts are rich in Selenium and are known to aid in detoxifying Mercury from the body. There's no need to stop at a coffee shop for a latte--we've got an even tastier and healthier one for you!
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