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There's So Matcha To Love About Matcha



 

I am matcha crazy at the moment and I just can't get enough of this ancient green tea powder, which is why I couldn't resist writing a whole blog on everything matcha.. But really, there's just so matcha to love about matcha!

 

What is Matcha?

Matcha is a type of green tea but normally when you drink green tea, you are consuming an infusion where the constituents from the leaves are infused into the hot water, and the plant matter itself is discarded. With matcha, however, you are ingesting the actual green tea leaves which have been stone ground into a fine powder and made into a solution.

Matcha is grown In Uji, Japan, where the green tea plants have a scheduled growing and harvest time to optimise both colour and flavour. In the traditional preparation process with matcha, the tea plants are covered with shade cloths prior to harvest, promoting the growth of leaves with improved texture and flavor. The leaves are then hand selected, steamed, and then dried and aged under cold storage conditions to deepen the flavor prior to being finely ground into the powder you purchase. Matcha has been used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies for centuries, but it has recently become popular worldwide because of its health benefits, and has now become one of the most powerful super foods today.

What is the difference between Matcha and Sencha?

I used to get confused between both Sencha and Matcha, and I know a lot of other people do too. The most obvious difference between the two is in it's physical form. Simply put, Sencha is the green tea leaves that are dried and can be found in green tea bags or a loose leaf tea. It is usually prepared by brewing the tea leaves/tea bags into hot water and then discarding of the tea leaves.

Matcha on the other hand is green tea which has been stone-ground into a powder form, it is dissolved into water or a liquid so technically the whole tea leaves are consumed which means more health benefits!

The Benefits Of Matcha

Matcha has been consumed for centuries not only for it's beautiful and delicate taste but also for it's amazing health benefits that range from loaded antioxidants to anti-aging properties to boosting brain function. Because you are consuming the whole plant version, matcha is much richer in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants known as polyphenols relative to steeped green tea.
I personally love and drink matcha because it is both energising and calming at once, giving someone a calm alterness without the 'crash' like coffee, and it is far more gentler on the adrenal glands. Plus it also is tasty and contains L-theanine which is an amino acid (the most basic building block of protein) which increases activity in the alpha frequency band of the brain, so it relaxes the mind without inducing drowsiness.

Energising, yet calming

When I used to drink coffee, I would notice the jittery feeling and anxiety that would come with too much caffeine consumption. Coffee contains a rather large and excessive amount of caffeine and while this 'coffee buzz' is one of the aspects that makes coffee so appealing, it also can have it's negative effects. Coffee can cause a spike in adrenaline that the body and internal system can sometimes have difficulty metabolizing properly. This is why so many people love Matcha, because it can actually create a calming type of alertness, but without the spikes, crashes, or adrenal overload. I used to be an avid coffee drinker, sometimes drinking up to 3-5 cups of coffee a day, leaving me feeling jittery and anxious, but now that I drink matcha I feel my nervous system can do a much better job at managing the shift as it only contains a quarter of the caffeine.

Boosts metabolism

Caffeine is known to help the process of stimulating and burning fat cells. Matcha does this and then some in ways that coffee simply cannot. Matcha contains almost five times the amount of L-Theanine which allows for the central nervous system to remain calm, level and still activate your metabolism to help maintain or even lose a healthy amount of weight. Green tea is one of the most popular drinks, aside from water, that many consume to jumpstart a slow or sluggish metabolism.

Packed with antioxidants

The antioxidant profile of matcha is impressive as it contains catechins which help to slow or prevent the damage of cells and provides potent anti-cancer properties. This is good news for many different aspects of overall health. Catechins help in the anti-aging process, making you look and feel much younger.

Helps lower bad cholesterol

The differences between bad cholesterol and good cholesterol are still confusing to many. The heart is compromised in the presence of bad cholesterol and thrives with good cholesterol. This is why it's essential to eat a diet that contains healthy amounts of good fats. The catechins within matcha help to reduce harmful cholesterol and increase good cholesterol, the powerful antioxidant properties directly benefit the heart. On the flip side, heavy coffee drinkers typically have higher levels of bad cholesterol. This is likely attributed to the amounts of artificial creamer, dairy and sugar so often added to coffee.

Focus and mental clarity

The blood vessels in the brain are positively affected by the powerful antioxidants within matcha. Combined with a healthy amount of caffeine, the activity within the brain can be improved. Cognitive function, memory, and mental acuity are typically higher in those who drink matcha as opposed to coffee. This is because the huge spike and crash often present in consistent coffee consumption can cause fatigue and mental fogginess. Research also suggests that L-theanine (the main ingredient in matcha) is a cognitive enhancer, in that it increases the general state of mental alertness without the overstimulating effects.

Mood

L-theanine, an amino acid in green tea may also have antidepressive effects. In one open label trial, L-theanine administration over two months was shown to be safe and to elicit multiple beneficial effects on depressive symptoms, anxiety, impaired sleep and cognitive issues in patients with major depressive disorder. Animal studies have even suggested that matcha consumption may incite stress relieving effects. 


What can you do with Matcha?

Matcha powder is so versatile and there are so many things you can do with it.
You can use matcha to make green tea ice-cream, put matcha powder into your oats or smoothies, or even into baked goods such as cupcakes, cookies, cakes, banana breads, or pancakes. Matcha also makes a really lovely drink warm or iced, and it’s my favourite way to use Matcha. I have listed a Matcha Latte recipe further down below.
Here are some of my favourite ways to use Matcha:
  • Matcha bliss balls
  • Matcha baked oatmeal
  • Matcha jelly
  • Matcha doughnuts
  • Matcha brownie
  • Matcha pancakes
  • Matcha waffles Matcha smoothie bowls

What Matcha brand do we recommend?

There are so many brands of matcha out there, so buying matcha for the first time may seem confusing and overwhelming. I know it was for me! Matcha powders vary widely in quality. I always look for a matcha powder that has no added sugars or fillers. Plus I make sure it's usually always organic and thoroughly gone through testing.

There are 3 main grades of matcha which are ceremonial grade, premium grade and culinary grade. Ceremonial grade is usually used only for traditional Japanese tea ceremonies where the process is completed very thoroughly. A premium grade matcha is a great alternative that allows for optimum quality for both everyday drinking as well as cooking. Culinary matcha is mainly just for cooking and baking. I usually choose premium grade matcha powders, and I have listed my top 3 matcha recommendations below.

Matcha Maiden

Matcha Maiden is one of the first Matcha powders I purchased and is easily one of my favourites. It is an authentic Japanese powder made by stone grounding pure green tea leaves that is free of nasties and has a beautiful rich flavour. My favourite feature of this matcha powder is just how versatile it is, as you can add it your desserts, smoothies, salad dressings and even your skin care! Matcha Maiden is also certified JAS organic by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries of Japan, and is grown with only natural organic fertilisers and no agricultural chemicals or pesticides. JAS certification standards are stringent and also accepted by the Australian organic certification bodies.
Teas can also be a concentrated source of heavy metals, which is why I love Matcha Maiden as it has been tested for heavy metals, pesticides, and toxic moulds.


Nutra Organics Arise Matcha
Nutra Organics Matcha is a high quality organic Matcha blend that has been sourced from Uji, Kyoto in Japan. It is combined with traditional Chinese adaptogenic mushrooms Lions Mane and Cordyceps, a zingy touch of ginger, mind fueling MCT oil and creamy coconut with sweet manuka honey that soften matcha tones to accentuate all of the natural benefits that this superfood has to offer.

I speak a lot about morning rituals in one of my most recent blog posts, 'A Morning Ritual To Create A Balanced And Healthy Life', and how morning rituals can be a sacred space for awakening your mind and body, rising into a healthy mindset, and preparing you for the day ahead. Nutra Organics Matcha is one of my favourite matcha products as it is the perfect addition to any morning ritual to awaken your senses, cultivate clarity, and start the day on a natural high with their 'Arise' adaptogenic Matcha Latte blend... A morning cup of sunshine!

Love Tea Matcha

This one is also one of my personal favourites and one that I can personally recommend. Love Tea certified organic Matcha Tea is superior grade matcha with an emerald green appearance and a sweet grassy taste, with a delicate and creamy texture.

We have so many beautiful matcha products in our online store. Check out our full range of matcha powders HERE.


Matcha Latte Recipe

Most people have found out about matcha via celeb paparazzi photos of them holding a green looking drink, or via social media accounts while ‘green lattes’ are photographed in cafes.
I was also one of those people inspired and curious of this green tea drink. I first purchased a green tea powder from my local health food store many years ago. But I made a matcha latte all wrong and I thought it was one of the most disgusting things I ever tasted (literally just matcha powder, water and a dash of milk). I vowed to myself I’d never drink it again, but it wasn’t until I was visiting a cafe close to my work in Sydney city that by the way had everythingggg Matcha that I had the most wonderful matcha latte and matcha cake and I fell absolutely in LOVE with matcha. I now use a proper source of matcha powder that’s organic and pure, and I’ve played around with recipes to make the matcha latte I drink on the daily extra delicious.

Here is a Matcha Latte recipe for you to create as well!

 

Ingredients:
1/2 - 1 tbsp matcha powder
Hot water
Mylk of choice (I like to use almond or rice milk)
Matcha whisk or electric whisk
1 tsp local honey or 2 drops of pure stevia
Frother/warmer (this can be optional and not a necessity to make matcha drink, its just good for frothing and warming the milk like a barista really)
1 tbsp coconut butter
1/2 tsp reishi powder

1/2 tsp mesquite powder

* I like to use reishi as my choice of 'adaptogen' and mesquite as the  'superfood'. But you can also add 1/2 tsp maca powder or 1/2 tsp ashwagandha powder for extra power. You can also add collagen powder or other powders to create your own matcha elixir. If you are using the Nutraorganics Matcha Powder, then there are already added adaptogens to the powder blend such as Panax Ginseng and Ginkgo Biloba.
* If you prefer a sweeter matcha latte, feel free to add your choice of sugar or sweetener

Method:
1. Using your favourite mug, fill 1/4 of the cup with hot water.
2. Add matcha powder, honey or stevia, coconut butter, reishi powder, and mesquite powder
3. Now whisk the mixture until well combined into the water with a frothy surface
4. If you have a mylk frother/warmer you can use that, but if not you can warm your milk over the stove top in a small pot on medium heat
5. Pour in your mylk gently
7. Finish with a swirl/stir
8. Enjoy!

 

Do you love Matcha too? What are your favourite ways to use Matcha? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to know!
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