What is Matcha besides a green fairy dust?
Matcha is a powder, really fine grounded, made out of specially grown and processed green tea. The green tea plants used for matcha are shade-grown for three to four weeks before harvest, and the stems and veins are removed during processing. During this process, the plant produces more theanine and caffeine.
The way people are using this powder is different, some will make a tea with it, others will prefer a matcha latte. Some will use the powder in cooking and others will use it because of the bright green color.
History of Matcha
Although the matcha fever started just recently worldwide, this tea powder was discovered centuries ago. You can trace the origins of matcha back to a China ruled by dynasties and a Japan ruled by Shogun clans
The origins of matcha can be traced all the way back to the Tang Dynasty, however, the ones that made the matcha that we see today popular were the Kamakura Shogun. A Japanese Buddhist Monk spent the better part of his life studying Buddhism in China, his name was Eisai. He brought to Japan tea seeds and the knowledge of the Zen Buddhist methods of preparing powdered green tea. Although having this knowledge, the Zen Buddhists, developed a new method for cultivating the green tea plant. They started growing the green tea plant in shaded conditions so that the health benefits of matcha will maximize.
During the Kamakura Shogun period, limited amounts were being produced in Japan, thus matcha was considered to be a luxurious item.
The Ritual of Matcha
It has its roots in the 1500’s when a Zen student named Murata Juko brought together fragmented pillars of the tea ceremony to form a ritual that included the cultivation, consumption and ceremony.
The most well-known and revered historical figure of the Japanese Tea Ceremony has to be Zen Master Sen-no-Rikyu. He was the one that made Juko’s tea ceremony ritual known.
The four basic principles of the Japanese Tea Ceremony:
- Harmony (wa)
- Respect (kei)
- Purity (sei)
- Tranquility (jaku)
The Japanese Tea Ceremony is called “Chado” or “Sado.” Translated, this means “The Way of Tea.”
Uses of Matcha
Nowadays you can find almost everything that you can imagine with matcha. This powder is now used for coloring foods as well as giving a special taste to them. You can create a whole new category of matcha food that can include ice cream, pancakes, beagles, lattes, cocktails, oats, lemonades, creams and so on. Creativity is the limit.
3 Health benefits of matcha
- Antioxidants queen!
Matcha tea is that it delivers a mega dose of antioxidants in every sip. It has 10 times more than a regular cup of green tea. This will help fortify your immune system as well. The special catechin antioxidant called EGCg is effective in fighting and protecting the body against various bacterial and viral infections.
- Better than coffee
The caffeine in matcha provides a stable and extended boost of energy without the anxious jitters or side effects. You can switch from your usual latte to a matcha latte and see for yourself. A better way is to switch from coffee to tea, cut this might be hard for some of you. My favorite way to have a matcha latte is with or without ice(depends on the temperature outside) and add coconut milk. Those two flavors complement themselves amazingly.
- Weight loss
EGCg and caffeine work together to naturally boost your metabolism and increase the number of calories you burn on a daily basis.