Are you used to having a cup of coffee right after you get up to get a good start on the upcoming day? Do you feel that without coffee you won’t work? Drinking coffee often becomes a habit – a ritual in the morning or a ritual after lunch to keep you awake and efficient while digesting just eaten food. This may partly function as a placebo, above all, it has a stimulating effect and provides an instant rush of energy and caffeine itself eliminates fatigue and sleepiness. At the same time, coffee increases blood pressure (which can have serious consequences for people with high pressure), over-acidifies the body, affects the functions of the cardiovascular system, and may cause so-called caffeine shock to sensitive people (manifested by headaches, palpitations and shaking hands). The desirable and undesirable effects of coffee are, in fact, very individual and also dependent on consumed quantity – it is generally said that after six cups a day its positive effects are already turning into undesirable effects. At the same time, we can also mention the slight addiction to caffeine itself and the related influencing of brain functions, but this article is not about coffee, it is about a drink that can delightfully substitute coffee, it does not have its negative effects and, in contrast, it has so many positive effects on the body and psyche that it is almost unbelievable. And this miraculous drink is called Matcha Tea.
What is Matcha?
Matcha is 100% green tea but not just any green tea. It is already exceptional by the way it is grown. To make its leaves so amazingly bright green, it is necessary to shade the entire plantation for about 3 weeks before harvest. As a result, up to 90% of sunlight is taken from the plant and it is forced to produce much more chlorophyll. Besides its sensory properties, this substance is also very beneficial to our health due to its antibacterial effects. However, chlorophyll is not the only substance that is overshadowed by overshadowing – also L-theanine – an amino acid that results in a full and delicious Matcha flavor (in addition, it has relaxing effects and helps reduce stress). Covering the shrubs of the tea plant produces thinner and tastier leaves. The dried pulp of the young leaves of the tea plant is then ground to a fine powder.
A Bit of History
The origins of matcha are in China under the Tang Dynasty (7th to 10th Century). In 1191, a Japanese Zen Buddhist monk, Eisai Myan, brought from China, where he was learning about local philosophy, the seeds of matcha tea plant back into Japan and planted them on the temple grounds in Kyoto. He soon found out that this tea was much better than the ones that had been brewed in Japan and began to try different ways of preparation. In his experiments, Eisai discovered that tea has a much stronger and better taste when grinded on granite grinding stones into a fine green powder and then mixed with hot water. Such a whipped drink with a rich aroma and taste was, according to Eisaie, a cure for most of the health problems and it gradually gained his place among the most valued teas. Later, matcha tea spread from aristocratic circles to the samurai, who created a ritual from his consumption.
The Beneficial Effects of Matcha Tea
The drink is a great source of vitamins, minerals, fiber and other trace elements. One single cup of matcha tea contains as many nutrients as ten cups of plain green tea. It also brightens the brain and helps with concentration. Its ability to accelerate metabolism and burn fat up to 40% faster can also be positive. It is also worth mentioning the content of antioxidants, which in matcha tea is about 130 times more than in regular tea. Matcha contains a huge amount of tea caffeine called tein. It can be used by our body to a hundred percent because you do not consume only the leachate from the leaf, but the whole crushed leaf. While caffeine in the coffee is released into the body almost immediately and causes rapid fluctuation in the system, matcha tea starts to work in about half an hour and is much more gentle to the body overal – substances are released slowly and the stimulant effect is milder, but lasts from 3 to 6 hours. Moreover, matcha has no side effects like coffee, such as heart palpitations, increased blood pressure or nervousness. The big advantage are also antibacterial effects. Thanks to its sterilizing effects it helps to destroy bacteria and thus destroys for example those bacteria, which, cause bad odor.
How to Recognize Quality
True matcha is always from Japan. Naturally, any other country may mean a different way of processing, which is essential for the taste but also for the effects mentioned above. Lead, mold or pesticide limits may be exceeded, or the taste may be bitter and the smell somehow dusty and stagnant. You can easily recognize the quality of the tea by the color of the powder – the highest quality is represented by the rich, bright green powder, the yellowish to brownish being among the worst, as shown in the picture below:
There are a lot of matcha tea brands on the market, but there are two that I would like to highlight and recommend. The first is Eco Heed, whose vivid green color already shows its qualities. It tastes great and has a soothing aroma – a great choice for a morning cup for a calm and balanced mood. The second one is REPUBLIC OF TEA Matcha Powder which is more expensives but its quality is really worth it. And it is also good for makind cold smoothies. This one is also Amazon’s bestseller and has great reviews. You can check both products via these links:
How to properly prepare matcha tea can be seen in the video below: