15 May 2018

What is Matcha?

Nutrition Advice

The fad for matcha-infused innovations like matcha crepes, matcha muffins, and matcha drinks seems to have swept everyone.

Even coffee purveyors like Starbucks have included it to their menu in the form of a Green Tea Matcha Latte to cash in on the craze. Is this just a fad? First, let's find out what exactly matcha is.

What is matcha?

Matcha is a form of green tea that has gained a huge popularity recently. This rather special type of green tea whose origins can be traced back over thousands of years is grown in Japan.

Does adding matcha tea or matcha powder to your food make a difference? Is matcha known to have any health benefits? Let’s find out.

One: Matcha is green tea grown undercover

No, it’s not a tree change for retiring spies; Matcha is completely covered and protected from the sun while growing. The result is a fuller, more concentrated flavour compared to traditional green tea.

Matcha’s sun-deprived growing methods also create quite a different texture to other green teas, making it easy to grind into a fine powder. From all accounts, this richly flavoured powder makes a very smooth, relaxing green tea with all the same health benefits in a far tastier form.

Two: Matcha is a slow-release caffeine boost

Does matcha have caffeine? Yes, it does contain quite a lot of it - about half as much as a strong espresso. That’s a fair hit, but unlike coffee, your caffeine boost doesn’t come on in a mad rush and disappear equally fast in a post-rush low. Matcha contains amino acids and L-Theanine, boosters that release caffeine nice and slow; the caffeine hit typically lasts at least three hours, though some people report feeling it for as long as six or seven hours. The result is a longer, even more intense hit than a strong cup of coffee.

Three: Matcha is mega-healthy

One cup has 10 times the health benefits of a regular cup of green tea; that’s pretty impressive. That one cup will boost you with about 270mg of protein, 1.85mg of vitamin C and more than 3mg of calcium. If that’s not enough, it contains more antioxidants than highly rated superfoods like acai berries or goji berries.

Four: Matcha is a great match for desserts and cookies

While bitter in large quantities, a spoon or two of matcha can give puddings, cookies, and cupcakes a spicy boost, not to mention a big health kick. Experiment a little to find the right amount. Make yourself a matcha latte or throw a spoonful into your smoothies and milkshakes for an exciting new taste. Here are some great matcha recipes you can try out at home!

Looking for a quick energy fix? Read our previous blog on 5 Energy-Boosting Foods That Give You Energy.

Five: Matcha is big in Japan

So big in fact that Matcha is used in all kinds of highly unlikely products. How does a pack of Matcha Kit Kats sound? Or Matcha Cream Puffs? Or if you’d like to add a bit of green tea spice to a meal, try Matcha noodles.

One thing’s for sure. If matcha mania has reached these levels and such high profile products, it must have something pretty powerful going for it.

You might say matcha has become something of a super drink, a high potency green tea for the real tea connoisseur. But be warned, there have been reports of imitation matchas out there, particularly from China and Taiwan.

These cheap and cheerful, yet decidedly poor cousins are generally yellow, not the vibrant green of real matcha. The genuine, finely ground, high-grade matcha is only made in Japan. Happy drinking!

Inspired to see what other healthy gems are out there? Enhance your nutrition knowledge with our nationally accredited 10967NAT Diploma of Nutrition course and offer nutrition advice to clients. Call us at 1300 616 180 or Enquire Now and speak to one of our Careers Advisors for more information.

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