What is Matcha Tea: Health Benefits of Matcha
Times are changing, and people have become more health-conscious. There is a growing conversation about living long and healthy lives and how to go about it. Both natural and artificial methods have been used to increase the quality of life, and it seems the natural formulas yield better results. The argument is that the natural remedies leave little to no toxins in the body as compared to the manipulated alternatives. Plants are the most significant source of natural medicine for a long time.
Before the pharmaceutical companies emerged, humans used to rely mostly on plants for their medical needs. It is not surprising, therefore that the practice is coming back, considering its known benefits. One way that plants are used in medicine are through teas, Matcha Tea being one of them. Here is all you need to know about the substance.
Where Did Matcha Tea Originate From?
The history of Matcha can be traced to the Tang Dynasty in China, where tea bricks were formed from tea leaves for trade and storage. After roasting and pulverizing the tea leaves, the powder is extracted in hot water and salt. During the Song Dynasty, the process changed to making the powder from dried leaves prepared through steam. The whipping together of the powder with hot water in a bowl also became a popular way of cooking the beverage. The Chan or Zen Buddhists made a ritual out of the preparation and consumption of the powdered tea. They developed rules regarding the use of the drink for ceremonies so that they were not used for unclean purposes. In 1191 a monk called Eisai brought the Chinese and Zen Buddhist ways of preparing the tea into Japan. From the 14th to 16th Centuries, the drink was given a lot of attention, especially among the members of the upper echelons of society. The tea lost its popularity in China for a while but is regaining its relevance in that environment.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Matcha Tea?
Matcha belongs to the green tea family, although in a more concentrated form, and so has some of their benefits. However, one of the health benefits exclusive to this tea is stress-reducing properties. The presence of theanine has been known to reduce stress in those who consume the beverage. The non-protein amino acid has been tested, and the results were positive for stress reduction.
Matcha contains caffeine which is significantly less than what is in a regular cup of coffee. Matcha contains about 25mg of caffeine which still takes a long time to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Despite this delay, the effect of caffeine is felt almost immediately after consumption. However, it does not work the same as regular caffeine. Matcha caffeine causes productiveness in consumers mixed with relaxation effects.
Matcha is also known to contain antioxidants that damage cells. The antioxidants include ascorbic acids such as vitamin C which stops the effects of antioxidants. Matcha is also known to detoxify, boosts metabolism and burn calories as well. Generally, the tea has benefits that prevent disease and make you healthier.
How Is Matcha Tea Produced And Prepared?
The tea leaves used to make Matcha are similar to that used in preparing Gyokuro, another type of tea: shade-grown tea leaves. The process begins before harvesting and can last up to 20 days. The leaves are entirely shielded from the sun to reduce photosynthesis and increasing theanine levels. Theanine is the amino acids present in the tea that accounts for its flavor, and low photosynthesis rate gives the leaves a darker green color. Sowing is usually done in April, and by May the leaves are ready to be harvested. Only the best buds are picked for further processing so that the results are of high quality.
After harvesting, the leaves are steamed to prevent oxidation. This method is mainly Japanese and preserves the original color of the leaves. After cooking, the leaves are either twisted or left to cool and dry. The ones that are rolled and twisted produce gyokuro or sencha tea. The ones left to dry and cool, are those used in producing Matcha. After drying, the end material is known as Tencha, which is then ground into powder form, which is Matcha. Tencha is lighter than other tea leaves and so might be needed in double quantities. The final stage is the grinding which is done with the use of a stone mill. Previously, the process was manual, but due to improvement, an automated stone mill is used which yields better quality of the beverage.
What Are The Different Types of Matcha Tea?
Matcha tea is categorized into grades, ranging from highest to lowest quality. The highest quality Matcha is what is used at ceremonies and essential gatherings. It is popular in the Buddhist temple and you can tell the difference from lower grade Matcha. The youngest tea leaves with their stems and veins removed are what is used to make this grade of tea. It has a natural sweetness and mild flavor and can be accompanied by milk, chocolate, or soy products. This type of tea is usually costly, with prices from USD 100 to USD 140 for 100g, which is fair for the high quality.
The Premium grade of Matcha is also quality but is not the same as the Ceremonial grade. It is brewed with the leaves that grow on top of the plant. It is slightly less sweet and is suitable for everyday consumption. The price range is between USD 50 to USD 80 for 100g. The last grade is the cheapest and has the lowest quality of the beverage. It is referred to as the culinary grade and has several purposes. One of its primary uses is as an ingredient in different meals to give it taste. This grade provides you with economic value as it is not expensive and is multipurpose. 100g cost between USD 15 and USD 40.
If you are a fitness advocate or lover, then green tea may possibly be your best friend. Matcha green tea is one type of drink which boosts your immune system in diverse ways. The Matcha powder form makes it more versatile and easy to use. Those who are looking to lose weight or lower their sugar and cholesterol levels will be pleased with the results of the tea. However, before you ingest anything, you must be aware of how your body reacts to different foods. Consult your doctor to know if it is right for you before you try it.