Q1: What is matcha made out of and what nutrients does it contain?
Matcha is a type of green tea made out of young leaves, harvested from shade-grown green tea plants. Once the stems and veins are removed from the leaves the rest is grounded into a fine bright green powder. One key difference to regular green tea is that with matcha, one consumes the whole leaf and all its nutrients. Like other green teas, matcha powder contains high levels of antioxidants and caffeine. In particular, a class of antioxidants called catechins, which help protect against heart disease and cancer. Matcha is also high in a catechin called EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which has shown in research to boost your metabolism. In addition, matcha contains about 30 mg caffeine/teaspoon of powder, versus coffee, which has about 100 mg/150 gr depending on how it is brewed. But matcha also contains l-theanine, an amino acid which improves cognitive function and induces a calm soothing effect on the mind.
Q2: Where does matcha originate from?
In Japanese “cha” means tea, and “ma” means powder, thus the word “matcha” translates literally to powdered green tea. The very first green tea plants were native to Southern China and were brought to Japan in 1191 A.D. by monks who planted them in Kyoto. Today that is one of the main regions, together with Uji and Nishio, where high quality matcha is produced. Part of the lure of matcha tea, is that Buddhists monks used it as an aid in meditation, as the stimulation from the caffeine kept them alert, while the amino acids kept them calm and focused. Matcha is an excellent coffee alternative in the morning and an energy booster in the afternoon between lunch and dinner.
Q3: How to recognize a good quality matcha powder?
The best matcha is produced and processed in Japan, especially in the Kyoto, Uji and Nishio regions. Key determinants of quality are the colour, texture, taste and smell of the powder. The best matcha is made out of very fine, smooth powder that has a vibrant green colour, a subtle sweet smell and a fresh vegetal, sweet taste. Inferior quality matcha powder is somewhat yellowish green or army green in hue; it has harsher texture and a bitter taste. Another key determinant for quality is of course price – the cheaper the matcha powder, the lower the quality.
Q4:What are the key health benefits matcha has?As a type of green tea, matcha has been linked to a variety of health benefits like increased focus, concentration and productivity, overall energy boost and reduction of stress. Moreover it is known for helping to prevent heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer, reducing blood pressure, improving the liver function, and even encouraging weight loss, as it can speed up your metabolism. However, it’s important to note that there hasn’t been enough clinical research and most evidence comes from population-based studies, where researchers look at groups of people who drink green tea versus groups that don’t. Studies have shown associations between tea and better health, but causation is not yet proven.
Q5: What ist the best way to prepare matcha tea?
Traditionally matcha powder and hot water are whisked into a frothy beverage in a ceramic tea bowl, using a bamboo whisk. The whisking creates a foamy tea that can be poured into your favourite cup. Some people add the powder to other hot liquids, like plant-based milk, to make a bright green latte. You can also brew your matcha with cold water, but the taste will be much lighter and less creamy.
Q6: What does matcha green tea taste like?
A cup of tea made with a high quality matcha powder, such as Mindful Matcha has a complex, rich, vegetal taste and leaves an alluring sweetness post-drinking. The taste also depends on the concentration and method of preparation of the tea. Koicha, which is a very intense and thick shot of matcha tea – has an edgy and strong umami flavour. If you however prefer your matcha tea a bit thinner, by adding water or plant-based milk you will get a drink with a softer but still creamy taste and a lingering sweet aftertaste.
Q7: How many times a day can you consume matcha?
Just as with coffee or regular tea, it is rather up to your personal preference. We advise to listen to your own body to determine what suits you best. It’s likely that you won’t need more than 1 to 2 servings of matcha tea per day (a single serving can range from 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of powder). MindfulMatcha’s natural energy boost lasts from 4 to 6 hours, so one can easily drink a cup in the morning and another one in the early afternoon when the after-lunch energy crash hits.
Q8: Does matcha have any negative side effects?
No. Unlike coffee or other energy drinks, matcha has no known negative side effects. Matcha enhances your energy naturally at a sustainable rate, without jitters or any kind of “crash”, which one usually experiences after the effect of a coffee or an energy drink wears off.
Q9: How should I store matcha tea powder?
Matcha powder should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place. One good option is to keep it well-sealed in the fridge.
Q10: Does matcha expire and what is its shelf life?
Once it has been ground, matcha will stay fresh for about one year under optimal conditions. When stored properly, a container of matcha will stay fresh for 6 to 12 weeks. If stored incorrectly and left open to the elements, the nutrients in the tea will degrade. Always store your matcha in an airtight container.