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Not Your Average Cup Of Tea: The Matcha Edit

Posted on March 22 2017

While many of you were probably out enjoying green beer and partaking in other St. Patty’s day festivities, I was home suffering from a cold, which is quite uncommon for myself as I don’t get sick too often. With a busy week ahead of me, I knew the weekend was my only shot to nip this cold in the bud. I tried everything; upped my fluids, got plenty of rest, downed countless cold medicine pills, but alas, it was all to no avail as I sit here with my box of Puffs tissues.

The weekend came and went and as the cool air settled in on Sunday night, a hot cup of tea was beginning to sound like a great option. But what kind of tea? So many decisions: black teas, fruit teas, herbal teas…then it hit me…I recalled a particular type of tea that seems to be receiving a lot of attention as of late, Matcha.

If you haven’t yet heard of matcha, you are not alone as this trend is still relatively new in the United States. Native to Japan, matcha tea is a premium green tea powder originally used for drinking tea. According to statistics provided by specialty tea consultancy and development firm Sage Group, U.S. retail sales of matcha green tea powder increased by an astonishing 54.9% in 2014 with annual sales of matcha products in the U.S. estimated to continue to grow by 25% between 2015 and 2018. The reason for this seems to be Americans’ growing concern and consciousness with what they are putting in their bodies.

The Process

Matcha production process

Photo courtesy of eater.com

What sets matcha tea apart from other green teas is its production. Shortly before harvest, matcha tea leaves are shaded from direct sunlight which helps give them their vibrant green color. The leaves are then hand-picked, steamed and air dried, then stone-ground into a very fine powder. Unlike other teas where you receive a fraction of the benefits by brewing the tea leaves, all of the benefits of an entire matcha tea leaf remain in the fine powder providing a wide range of health benefits.

Health Benefits

Although not all of these have been scientifically proven, we’ve compiled a list of common benefits to incorporating matcha into your life below. You can also check out this great article from HealthAmbition.com for their Top 3 Matcha Benefits.

  • High in antioxidants: 137 times more antioxidants than regular brewed green tea. If you’re crazy about super foods, you may want to add this one to your list!
  • Cancer-fighting properties: Like most green teas, matcha contains antioxidants known as catechins which are the most potent and beneficial. One specific catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg) makes up 60% of the catechins in matcha green tea. Out of all the antioxidants, EGCg is the most widely recognized for its cancer fighting properties.
  • Boosts immune system: Those catechins we mentioned not only help fight cancer, but also promote overall health. Matcha is also very high in potassium, vitamins A & C, iron, protein, and calcium which help keep your body running free and clean of any sickness, infections, or other ailments.
  • Burns calories: Matcha has been shown to increase metabolism and burn body fat four times faster than average with no side-effects.
  • Improves memory and concentration: Containing a chemical compound called L-Theanine, aids in the production of dopamine and serotonin which serve to enhance mood, improve memory, and promote better concentration.

Matcha vs. Coffee

Some coffee connoisseurs are jumping ship and making the switch to matcha for their morning boost. Containing significantly less caffeine than coffee, 2-3 times less, matcha is said to still provide that energy boost you need without jitters and the crash found at the end of drinking a cup of joe. Whatever your flavor, here are three classic coffeehouse recipes recreated via matchasource.com.

Matcha Iced Tea:

2 tsp of matcha powder
Fresh filtered water
Ice cubes

Hot Matchocolate:

2 tsp matcha powder
3 oz hot water
1 tbsp high quality chocolate pieces
1 cup almond milk

Iced Matcha Green Tea Latte:

2 tsp matcha powder
Fresh filtered water
Milk (cow, almond, soy or rice – we recommend almond)
Kitchen accessory for frothing milk
Ice Cubes

Iced Matcha Latte

Now I get it, mornings don’t always go as planned, so if you simply don’t have time to make your own matcha before heading out the door, don’t fret; national franchises such as Jamba Juice and Starbucks have you covered as they offer up their spins on green drink concoctions. Matcha isn’t just becoming the latest in morning beverage crazes; in fact, chefs, health-enthusiasts and bloggers all over the world are adopting the ingredient to make up matcha-infused recipes that range from cocktails to ice cream and everything in between.

Cocktails

Supercall.com has an arsenal of fun matcha infused cocktails to shake up your happy hour with. With spring just around the corner, we’re digging this light and spritzy rendition called the Matcha Spritz. Can you imagine sipping one of these on the golf course or poolside?

Matcha spritz cocktail

Photo courtesy of supercall.com

Green Ice Cream? Yes Please!

Anything green is healthy right? We’ll tell ourselves that when we indulge in this sweet treat. Food52.com has developed an amazing matcha ice cream with yuzu. Add something new to your BBQ lineup this summer with this recipe.

Matcha Ice Cream

Photo courtesy of food52.com

For other outside the box recipes, such as pancakes or tiramisu, view these ideas from The Huffington Post.

Matcha Bars

If you’re traveling or away from your favorite matcha go-to spot (ours is Brewhemia), just know that matcha bars are springing up all around the country for your enjoyment. Here’s a few of our favorite spots:

Teatulia Tea Bar (Denver, Colorado)

Teatulia Tea Bar Denver Colorado

Nada Tea & Coffee House (Chicago, Illinois)

Ippodo Tea Co. (New York, New York)

Next time you go to order the usual latte or dark roast, think green and try something new. I’m all about trying new things; you know what they say…variety is the spice of life.

 

WRITTEN Contributor: Tyrin Wages

 

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