Everything you need to know about this kick-ass superfood
From lattes to brownies, matcha green tea seems to be in everything these days. Here’s our guide to everything you need to know about the hottest superfood.
What is matcha green tea?
A green tea powder from Japan, Matcha gets its vibrant colour thanks to its high chlorophyll content. Its leaves are hand picked, steamed, dried and stone-ground to turn it into a fine green powder used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies.
Unlike most teas, the powder from the leaves dissolves in the water rather than being steeped in bags meaning that you ingest all its antioxidant powers. And trust us, it has a lot of power – one cup of matcha green tea has the same amount of antioxidants as ten cups of regular tea.
Why should we be drinking matcha green tea, then?
A superfood in the literal sense, matcha green tea’s health benefits are endless. It’s been proven to reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, lower cholesterol and prevent cancer. But it’s best known for being a powerful antioxidant. In fact, it’s antioxidant levels are 6 times that of goji berries, 17 times that of wild blueberries and 60 times that of spinach.
And what’s so great about these antioxidants is that they are your stronger-than-average ones called catechins, known for being anti-carcinogens that help fight cancer.
Aside from health, matcha green tea has also been associated with wellbeing thanks to its capacity to increase your life span and reduce levels of stress (result!). Great for drinking at work, its relaxing properties help promote concentration without any of the jittery energy associated with coffee.
Finally, it’s also thought to be a key player in aiding weight loss. Studies have shown that drinking matcha green tea enhances both resting metabolic rate and the speed at which we burn fat. In fact, research shows that exercising immediately after drinking it results in 25% more fat burned during exercise.
What more could you want?
So, how do you prepare matcha green tea?
You can buy matcha from most health food stores. For the best quality, opt for organic matcha green tea grown in rural areas as plants exposed to lots of pollution are known to absorb lead, found in some car petrols.
To brew it, boil some water and let it sit for about five minutes before adding the matcha green tea powder and letting it sit – putting it in too soon will make it taste ‘grassy’. Once the powder has dissolved, it’s ready to drink.
Matcha green tea is also great for baking, adding its distinctive flavour to food. Make sure you buy culinary grade matcha green tea though as the superior powder used for tea is often five times the price. The best advice for incorporating it in recipes is to think of it as a spice. Start by using it sparingly in sweet dishes to make sure that its earthy, bitter flavour isn’t overpowering.