Organic Matcha Maiden Green Tea Powder, have you heard of it?
I first heard about matcha early last year from a friend who asked me if had, I hadn’t. Once she explained Matcha’s amazing health benefits to me, including mental alertness, stronger immune system and detoxification I was blown away. I have completely fallen in love with Matcha Maiden and its benefits since. I have written some easy reading and interesting facts about Matcha Green Tea for you including how to use it and to try it for yourself.
What is matcha green tea?
Matcha has been used for centuries by Zen Monks and is known amongst them as the ‘Elixir’ of good health.
Tea is the second most popular beverage in the world (the most popular is water). But despite the fact that all teas come from the same plant (Camellia sinensis), the world of tea is deliciously complex and rich with history.
The legend of tea
Legend has it that the ancient Chinese emperor and inventor of Chinese medicine, Shennong, was the first to discover the pleasant flavour and medicinal properties of green tea. One day, as he was boiling water over a fire, a breeze swept a few leaves of a nearby tea bush into his kettle. Shennong not only enjoyed the newly ‘invented’ beverage, but would also go on to study the health promoting properties of his accidental discovery. This legend reflects what has been part of the Chinese culture for almost 5000 years: Tea is so precious that it could only be of royal origins and it promotes health in mind and body.
The making of Matcha
Matcha is just the same as the green tea that you probably drink everyday, with a few harvesting and processing differences.
At about three weeks before it is due to be harvested it is covered and protected from the sunlight. This keeps the leaves a darker shade of green and gives it its bright emerald-green colour and causes the production of amino acids and Chlorophyll.
Only the youngest, smallest and finest buds are specially hand picked for Matcha Green Tea. If the leaves were rolled out before drying as in the usual tea processing, the result would be gyokuro (jade dew) tea.
If the leaves are laid out flat to dry, however, they will crumble and become known as tencha .
This is followed by ultra-fine milling of the tencha leaves by using granite stone mills resulting in a beautiful Matcha green powder which is the raw material for matcha tea. After being prized in Japan for scores of years, recently matcha has been gaining recognition in the western world attributing to its unique flavour and remarkable therapeutic qualities.
What is it though?
I am a tea drinker and I drink several cups throughout the day, of several different types. With standard organic green tea, when it is brewed, the leaves are discarded and we drink the tea.
When we drink Matcha, we are consuming the whole plant including the leaves. This is what gives matcha its superiority in benefits over others.
Here are a few more:
Stronger immune system:
As mentioned above, matcha contains various antioxidants, polyphenols, Chloropyll, L-theanine which collectively contribute in boosting the immune defence of the body and helps provide protection against various antigens. We all need a good strong Immune system to keep us healthy and to help kick nasty bugs away.
Another valuable action exerted by EGCG present in matcha is the maintenance of cardiovascular health. Richness of this component in matcha tea makes it a potent potion to keep cholesterol levels low and slow or halt the growth of cancer cells.
Matcha tea is said to be useful for treating gastrointestinal disorders. A study conducted in this field has revealed that consumption of matcha stimulates the fecal excretion and helps the body to get rid of harmful chemicals and toxins. It is believed that up to 80% of our health starts with a healthy digestive system.
Matcha contains more than 137 antioxidants than regular green tea. These help boost the immune system and fight cancer-causing free radicals in the body. According to the latest testing method, ORAC, matcha's rating is 1300 units per gram, compared to pomegranates 105 units per gram or blueberries 91 units. 1g of matcha = 500g raw spinach. 130 times more calcium than normal green tea and 172 times the amount of protein! Wow!
Chlorophyll present in matcha assists in wound-healing and also exerts anti-inflammatory actions. Apart from these, matcha possesses anti ageing properties, helps in keeping the blood pressure low, provides relief from constipation, stimulates the mood and helps create a feeling of overall wellbeing. Chlorophyll is also a great detoxifier and can help rid the body of heavy metals and toxins, natures number one.
It contains caffeine:
Because you’re consuming whole leaves in matcha, you may get three times as much caffeine than a cup of steeped green tea. Caffeine gives us the potential to stimulate weight loss and increase alertness. However one gram of matcha has only 25-30mg of caffeine compared to 80-100mg per standard cup of coffee.
Matcha lovers say that compared to the caffeine hit you get from coffee, Matcha creates an “alert calm” due to a natural substance it contains called theanine, which induces relaxation without drowsiness. The slow release of energy due to theophylline helps in supporting the functionality of adrenal glands and maintains optimum hormonal levels. I would suggest though, from experience, it is best to not drink Matcha too near bedtime so you ensure a good nights sleep.
How to make Matcha
Just 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of Match Maiden Green Tea Powder is enough to make a beautiful subtle matcha tea. It really is personal choice as to how much you use.
Add this to your favourite tea cup and add a little warm water, just enough so that you can make a paste. Traditionally a Matcha Green Tea Whisk or chasen is used to blend the powder with the water so as not to leave any lumps. We don’t want to leave any lumps or any Matcha stuck on the sides of the cup or bowl as this can be bitter.
When whisking, I was also told to only whisk one way either to the left or the right but not both, so I follow this to a tee. Who am I to argue?
Fill the cup or bowl with the rest of the water and stir, the water should only be to about 80 degrees c.
Now simply enjoy your wonderful drink!
Other uses of Matcha Green Tea
There are so many other uses for Matcha it is not just to be drunk. You can make Matcha Ice cream, raw cakes, add it to smoothies, cakes, biscuits, mix it with other teas. Go ahead, experiment!
I have been playing about with an iced tea version with Cacao, I will post it for you when I am happy with it as I would love to share it with you.
I fell in love with Matcha the first time I tasted it, I do hope you do too.