Matcha: The Popular Superfood For 2017
Have you tried Matcha?
Matcha seems to be one of the superfoods for 2017. We have all heard about it, but do you really know the benefits to consuming Matcha products? I have to admit I've been a bit slow to get into the Matcha world after having a bad experience sometime back with a very badly prepared Matcha Latte and was totally put off. I agreed to try it again and was this time pleasantly surprised.
Matcha can be categorised into three grades:
- Ceremonial grade: Highest quality used mainly in tea ceremonies and Buddhist temples. This is stone ground into a powder by granite stone mills. Expensive to buy and for novice consumers, little taste diffence from the Premium grade.
- Premium grade: High quality Matcha green tea which contains the full nutritional content and uses tea leaves from the top of the tea plant. Best for daily consumption and contains the full range of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Is characterised by a fresh, subtle flavour.
- Cooking/culinary grade: The cheapest form, suitable for cooking, however it does not contain the full health benefits and can be slightly bitter due to using lower quality leaves.
- Is packed with antioxidants including the powerful EGCg
- Boosts metabolism and burns calories
- Detoxifies effectively and naturally
- Calms the mind and relaxes the body
- Is rich in fiber, chlorophyll and vitamins
- Enhances mood and aids in concentration
- Provides vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc and magnesium
- Prevents disease
- Lowers cholesterol and blood sugar
'Matcha tea contains a unique, potent class of antioxidant known as catechins, which aren’t found in other foods. In particular, the catechin EGCg (epigallocatechin gallate) provides potent cancer-fighting properties. Most importantly, EGCg and other catechins counteract the effects of free radicals from the likes of pollution, UV rays, radiation, and chemicals, which can lead to cell and DNA damage. Since over 60% of the catechins in matcha are actually EGCg, a daily matcha regimen can help restore and preserve the body’s integral well-being and balance.'
How Matcha is produced
Only the elite Japanese farmers have the knowledge for Matcha tea production. Matcha comes from the tea plant grown by a special shading technique.Four weeks before the harvest, the field is completely shaded. This special shading technique blocks up to 90% of sunlight. The plant, which is at that moment in almost complete darkness, compensates for the lack of light by intensive production of chlorophyll. This makes the leaves rich in amino acids. The leaves then turn a characteristic emerald green colour. Quality Matcha can be recognised not only by this deep green colour, but also by its sweet and delicate flavour.
The collection of tea leaves takes place in early May. Even nowadays the leaves used for Matcha are harvested entirely by hand. Immediately after collecting the leaves, they are brought into the factory. Here, the long process of converting the raw leaves into a fine powder begins. First, the leaves are steamed. Hot steam prevents fermentation and keeps the leaves fresh. This ensures that all the nutrients stay in the tea. The leaves are then dried. After this phase, the leaves’ weight is reduced to almost one-fifth. Leaves come in different qualities so the categorisation is necessary. Experts assess the colour, quality and flavour of the tea. The final tea is a blend of different varieties and leads to consistent quality throughout the year. At the end the stalks, twigs and other unwanted parts are removed so the final product is the finest and purest pulp from the tea plant. It is then cut into similar seized pieces and ground into a fine Matcha powder.
How You Can Use Matcha
There are many different ways you can encorporate Matcha into your diet, here are just a few ideas.
- Pancakes / Crepes
- Protein Balls
- Smoothies/ Smoothie Bowls
- Chia Pudding
- Salad Dressings
I would love to hear your thoughts on Matcha or ways you have used it in your cooking. Please leave a comment below about your stories, I would love to read them.