What is Matcha anyway?
September 23, 2013
If you have ever seen the movie Karate Kid 2 where Daniel-san travels to Okinawa with Mr. Miyagi, you may remember that his new found girlfriend Kumiko, performs an important tea ceremony where she uses a whisk to mix the tea to share with Daniel-san. The tea she used for this ceremony was Matcha.
Matcha is green tea made from grinding the entire leaf into powder. Tea leaves intended for Matcha are shade grown which promotes chlorophyll and L-theanine content. The leaves are steamed lightly to prevent oxidation, then the stems and veins are removed and the leave are stone ground into a fine powder. Taking note of the work that goes in to making Matcha powder explains why the price is pretty steep. But matcha is worth every penny.
Matcha powder is mixed with water and the whole thing is consumed, versus infusing green tea leaves in water and just drinking the steeped water. This means that one consumes a higher concentration of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Matcha is also extremely high in catechins such as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Research has shown that Matcha contains 137 times more EGCG that regular brewed green tea. EGCG has been shown to inhibit inflammatory breast cancer cell growth, suppress tumor growth in the liver and other organs. It appears to cause inhibition because it doesn't allow for new blood vessels to be developed to ffed cancer cells.
Matcha is also rich in L-theanine. L-theanine is an amino acid which can cross the blood brain barrier, and exerts relaxation effects on the brain by promoting alpha wave production. It reduces mental and physical stress effects, improves cognition and boosts mood and cognitive performance. L-theanine may also contribute to decreased immune reaction by stabilizing mast cell histamine release.
Matcha can be used to make tea, green tea lattes, added to smoothies for an extra nutrient boost. It has been added ice cream and baked goods as well.