What is Matcha Tea?
Anyone who is interested in bettering their health likely knows about green tea. Not only is green tea packed with natural antioxidants all while offering a much lower caffeine profile than coffee, but it tastes great and it can truly help calm our nerves. But what is matcha tea? Learn more about it below.
What is matcha tea? It's a Japanese green powder made from finely powdered dried tea leaves. It has become extremely popular in America because of its health benefits. The powder allows you to drink the entire contents of the tea leaves as opposed to throwing a bag of tea away after steeping.
Keep reading to discover everything you need to know to become a matcha tea expert!
Matcha Tea Benefits
It’s true that in tea-drinking societies such as Japan, much lower levels of heart and cardiovascular disease are reported. This has been linked to their tea-drinking culture, as natural tea leaves are often used and benefited from in tea drinking ceremonies going back centuries.
While green tea isn’t as deeply studied as we’d wish it to be, the evidence is undeniable. Those who regularly drink green tea on average suffer less from the consequences of a bad diet, and are less likely to suffer from cardiovascular difficulties.
Of course, any healthy lifestyle requires a combination of a healthy diet, worthwhile exercise, and good, regular sleep. Additionally, it’s important to speak to your doctor if adding any supplements or stark dietary changes to your lifestyle.
However, green tea can also serve as a great boon to your emotional wellbeing throughout the day, and not only that, it can deliver as a memorable and calming treat.
Matcha Tea Popularity Rises
Matcha tea has become all the rage in western societies within recent years, and for quite clear and obvious reasons. Not only is matcha absolutely delicious, but it has half the caffeine content of coffee, providing a cleaner energy boost without the long term and tiring down-to-earth energy crash.
Matcha is comfortable to make at home, easy to digest, and is noted for its deep green richness. You can make tea out of the fine powder provided you have a whisk, or you can use excellent pre-made teabags to get the perfect amount of matcha content in every cup.
What makes matcha different from green tea is that in effect, you are drinking the ground and more readily refined green tea leaves as opposed to steeping water using a teabag. This means you get all of the direct nutritional benefits of the natural green tea leaves. That said, many teabags produced as of late provide a beautiful balance of flavor while also ensuring nutritional density, meaning convenience is now a guarantee.
However, a health superfood (or drink) is only useful if it can be sustainability enjoyed, and thankfully, matcha can. At Salada Tea, we source from only the best farmers to make sure you are provided with a premium and ethical-sourced product.
Let’s consider what matcha green tea is from every angle, not only so you can feel informed before making a purchase but because celebrating green tea is so important!
What Does Matcha Taste Like?
If you like the taste of green tea, you’re sure to love Matcha. Matcha, by virtue of how it’s made, provides a much deeper and rich green tea taste, but never in a manner that feels overwhelming when drinking at a leisurely pace.
While matcha is flavorful and enjoyable, it also has enough of a neutral flavor profile to work with a range of additional ingredients. Soya, oat and almond milk combine well with the drink, while you can also use flavored sweeteners to add something new. In this light, drinking matcha can be a daily occurrence and need not get boring - even after months of enjoying it as part of your daily intake.
Matcha offers a slightly sweet taste without feeling sickly and is quite clearly a health drink without tasting overly earthy or bitter. As such, it’s inherently drinkable and enjoyable. If you’re already well attuned to the taste of standard green tea, you’re sure to love this denser and richer alternative.
How is Matcha Made and Sourced?
Great question. It’s good to know that the products we eat and drink are healthy and ethically sourced, and matcha surely ticks both of these important boxes.
Matcha is a form of green tea created by harvesting young tea leaves and grinding them together. The bushes are grown in a shaded and covered environment three weeks before harvest, which means that the chlorophyll within the leaves influences their bright green color and improves the density of nutrients found within. This process provides us with a bright, attractive green powder, carefully crafted by the farmers themselves.
Right before the harvest, the stems and beans are removed. It’s then steamed, stemmed and divined over time. From there, it is ground and starved of oxygen to make sure that it retains its dark green color. This way, the powder or leaves are more readily preserved, and this ensures that even long-distance travel, in the right conditions, need not interfere with the amazing and potent taste.
It is primarily sourced in Japan, China and Argentina, and is known as an important ceremonial drink in Asia, with a history going back centuries. While matcha may seem like something of a new trend in Western societies, its home is in Japanese culture. Japan and China carry some of the best matcha brands and boasts a range of amazing matcha farms, and many of them are free to visit.
All Matcha sourced by Salada.com comes from excellent and ethical Chinese farms, with some stock provided by Argentinian companies. This means you are provided with only the highest quality matcha and can rely on its great taste and nutritional impact in each box.
Is Matcha Green Tea Good For You?
Matcha green tea is known for its incredible nutrients and dietary benefits and has been linked to multiple health benefits. This is why it is relied upon as one of the most health-conducive green tea variants you can enjoy. After all, it is comprised of the entire leaf, and so no matter if you use the powder or tea leaves to steep your beverage, you can be sure that you’re getting the best of the nutrient profile in each cup.
Matcha is known for its incredible antioxidant classes, known as catechins, especially one named EGCG which stands for epigallocatechin gallate. This has been suggested to have powerful cancer-fighting benefits. Furthermore, it’s considered that matcha is a great aid in the fight against heart disease, and while correlation does not imply causation, that may suggest why tea-drinking cultures often suffer less heart disease on average, with Hong Kong (a big matcha consumer) having the lowest levels of heart disease in adult males.
Matcha has also considered a helpful aid in preserving the health of your liver. In fact, studies on rats indicate that regular consumption of matcha has led to powerful kidney and liver health effects. Furthermore, regular and disciplined caffeine intake has been linked to cardiovascular benefits and improvements to heart health.
However, while all of these studies are fascinating, green tea as a whole needs to be studied more before we can continue to make claims regarding its stellar health benefits. One thing is for sure, in a healthy adult person, matcha can provide a worthwhile beverage that serves as a fantastic dietary addition.
Another worthwhile benefit of matcha is that, because of its green color, it doesn’t stain your teeth! Compared to the results we often find from brown teas and coffees, this can be something of a lifesaver for those who enjoy exercising their best dental health.
Does Matcha Tea Contain Caffeine?
One thing to remember is that because of how soothing matcha is to drink, you can easily forget about its caffeine content. Because it uses the powder refined from actual green tea leaves, matcha holds a higher caffeine content than steeped green tea.
An eight-ounce cup of green tea provides up to and around 70mg of caffeine, which isn’t too far off a cup of coffee. Of course, it depends if you’re drinking the refined powder or are using teabags to steep in water, in the latter case, the caffeine content is roughly halved. This can vary depending on where you source your matcha from.
So the answer is yes, matcha green tea does contain caffeine.
However, there’s a benefit to swapping out caffeine for matcha. Matcha carries with it a powerful amino acid named l-theanine, which means that the caffeine is more slowly absorbed into your system.
This means that you don’t have to expect the rocket-ship highs and meteoric crashes expected from your morning cup of coffee. With this, you can more adequately pace your energy over the course of a day, helping to alleviate that post-lunch slump most of us are accustomed to.
Just be aware that thanks to this heightened caffeine content, matcha should be avoided in the late afternoon and should not be enjoyed before going to bed. This way, you can ensure that the caffeine content need not mess with your regular sleep cycle. Many people enjoy drinking matcha green tea in the morning, and regular fruit or decaf green tea in the evening.
There are also decaf matcha tea alternatives available. This can be a great drink to feel soothed by in the evening. However, the caffeine filtering process also removes some of the antioxidant and nutritional benefits thanks to the process, and so this is the trade-off we make.
Still, for a comforting evening drink, decaf matcha can serve as a tremendously tasty and enjoyable option.
How Often Can I Drink Matcha?
You can drink matcha green tea every single day if you like, just make sure that you’re aware of your caffeine allowances.
Of course, it is always worthwhile to visit your doctor before adding a brand new supplement or regular element to your diet. It’s also important to make sure you have no allergies to green tea before ingesting this tea.
Furthermore, the matcha should not be given to children thanks to its high caffeine content.
However, thanks to the amino acids and flavor profile, matcha can serve as a fantastic supplement to your normal coffee routine. Thanks to how easy it is to store, to create for yourself, and to bring with you, substituting coffee for matcha green tea can help you save plenty of money in the long run, as you no longer need to spend money on artisan coffees from high street stores each day.
Thanks to the comforting flavor profile of matcha and the health benefits it provides, you need not have to feel guilty about enjoying matcha each day, nor about supplementing it as part of your regular diet. Unlike coffee, needing to ‘wean yourself off it’ or encountering heavy caffeine headaches for days if stopping is a much less likely outcome here.
Are There Any Side Effects or Health Warnings I Should Be Aware Of?
Green tea is known to have noticeable levels of lead, and as matcha is made from refined green tea leaves, it’s true that some people have questioned what kind of exposure matcha provides.
However, there is no need to worry. In a study provided by consumerlab.com, six of the biggest and best matcha green tea brands were proven to have not been contaminated by lead in any capacity. Provided you get your matcha from professional and trustworthy sources such as salada.com, this is not something you have t worry about.
Of course, not everyone is as easily tolerant of caffeine as others may be, and so it’s worth speaking with your doctor if you’re unsure as to its effects. Aside from this, the only side effects to be expected from matcha are that of enjoying a wonderful drink and perhaps needing a cup before you sit down to work for the day.
How To Make Matcha Tea?
To make things easy, many brands have brought together their matcha tea leaves into small teabags you can use to steep into your tea. Green tea blends are often the best options for this, as they are both delicious and convenient at the same time.
If you prefer to use the powder, that can be a great option too!
First, it’s important to have the right tools to hand. The matcha powder, a small bowl to whisk in, and a whisk otherwise known as a chasen, made from bamboo. Mix this with hot water and whisk, not too slow, not too fast. A tea strainer can also help you avoid the little clumps of powder that might come as a natural consequence of whisking. This creates a foam, which can then be used to fill your cup and create the basis of the tea.
As mentioned above, you can also add certain flavorings depending on your tastes. Some people enjoy using nut milk, while others might enjoy leaving it totally plain.
However, matcha doesn’t only have to be consumed as a tea. It can also be placed quite handily in smoothies, shakes, and blended drinks. Some people decide to use shaker cups to enjoy matcha over the course of a day, while others simply prefer to enjoy it in their transportable coffee tins. It’s this diversity of consumption that helps matcha transcend from a simple tea to something you can enjoy no matter what, even using the fine powder to contribute to baked goods and more.
Can Matcha Be Stored?
As matcha is quite delicate and is grown in a manner that preserves its nutritional density and flavor profile, it’s true to say that matcha can be stored, but not for too long.
Matcha has a shelf life of up to a year unopened, but to retain freshness, it’s worth making sure that it’s regularly replaced and that it’s stored in the right conditions.
Direct exposure to sunlight or overly warm or wet environments can hinder the freshness of your matcha, and can also render it stale. For this reason, keeping your matcha stored in the refrigerator or freezer (when opened) is important.
Furthermore, be sure to check the condition of your matcha before you create yourself a cup or use it as an ingredient. This way, you can make sure that the bright green color and beautiful fragrance are still present before use.
So, to answer the question directly, yes, matcha can be stored. It’s up to you to make sure that you keep it stored correctly and that you opt for brands that can promise fresh delivery. A good option is to find matcha green tea bags that are sold in their own boxed and sachet forms, allowing you to ensure the tea bags are protected and secured through and through.
As such, Salada.com makes sure that their matcha is primed for delivery so that you need not lose any of that beautiful freshness that directly influences the gorgeous taste of this iconic drink.
How Long Should You Steep a Matcha Green Tea Bag?
Matcha green tea bags are a brilliant way to enjoy matcha day after day, as not only are they tasty, but they allow you to enjoy matcha without any of the messy preparation!
But how long should you steep matcha for?
We would recommend steeping matcha for two to three minutes in order to get the best results going forward. This will ensure that you not only get the best flavor of the tea, but that it’s the perfect strength to make it easily drinkable. After this has steeped, feel free to add additional sweeteners or vegan milks at your own discretion! After all, one of the main draws of matcha is that it’s so versatile, you needn’t ever get bored!
Avoid Making These Matcha Mistakes!
Many people, excited to try out matcha for the first time, are usually quite happy to order some teabags or powder and get going! However, just like when getting into coffee, it can be helpful to find what’s best for you and what direction to follow. It’s also good to try a range of different matcha styles (such as drinking it with different supplementary additions) in order to figure out how you most like it.
Of course, it’s quite hard to follow this pursuit if you’re not sure where to begin, or if you’re making mistakes that are harming your ability to truly enjoy matcha.
It’s for this reason that we have decided to compile a few tidbits of advice to help you avoid those beginner mistakes. Let’s see what they are:
Make sure the water temperature is right
Often, when drinking matcha, many people think that the fine powder needs to be perfectly dissolved in boiling water. However, this only serves to scorch the powder and can leave you with something of a bitter aftertaste, and it also ruins some of the nutrients found within.
A temperature of around 80 degrees C or 176 F is the most appropriate to use here, because then you can comfortably whisk the powder into the water as appropriate. This can also help when steeping a teabag, but remember that here you’re not pouring boiling water on the actual ground tea leaves themselves, so you don’t have to follow this rule religiously.
Use the correct whisk
If whisking matcha, it’s important to use the right tool. A bamboo whisk also known as a chasen is the most appropriate option, but a fine whisk with non-metal tips can also be used to adequately and carefully whisk your matcha. The trick is to use a small enough whisk that it can easily be used in a small bowl, and can whisk a small amount of matcha without spilling it over the sides.
If using teabags, then this step can be skipped, of course. It’s usually helpful to have both powder and teabags on hand, depending on your personal preference of course.
Always choose quality
Unfortunately, like with any new product that becomes a health-trend, there are many people looking to make money on those who aren’t willing or able to perform their own research. However, these people shouldn’t be blamed for feeling confused or ordering a product with every honest intention at all.
It’s worth knowing that if you’re not discerning, or if you purchase super cheap green tea or matcha powder, odds are that your matcha will be much lower quality, and may not have been adequately refined. For this reason, it’s important to always go for quality, and to make sure that your retailer is honest and upfront about where they source it.
Salada.com is known for its thoroughly distinctive and high-quality Matcha products and works to be a full advocate of the product and its benefits. As such, you can expect nothing but the best and most attentive effort when aiming to source reliable and high-quality matcha tea.
Practical matcha tips for you!
This includes using it for baking purposes, or using as a cereal topping, or mixed with other ingredients like greek yoghurt. Its amazing deep and bright green color allows it to truly stand out amongst everything else on your plate, and as such as be a tremendous treat for anyone who loves experimenting with new ingredients in the kitchen.
It can be difficult to preserve matcha as well as it needs to be, and so using an airtight container can help prevent unnecessary oxygen exposure when being stored. We would also recommend taking some time to store it in a cool dry place rather than on a countertop, as this can help your matcha last longer.
This is of course another problem that is solved by using matcha blend teabags, as the ratio per cup is perfect each and every time. When using fine powder, however, it’s very easy to blow your socks off by using too much matcha. We know you’re not interested in becoming a green tea plant yourself, so we’d recommend the following measures.
The traditional ratio uses around 1.5-2 grams or one non-heaped teaspoon of powder and around 70-80 ml of water. Of course, you are free to offset that with milk of your choice. Any less an your matcha is sure to taste a little bit diluted (which isn’t always a bad thing for those getting used to it), any more than that and the taste will be quite strong, as if you had brewed a hot cup of joe using too much instant coffee powder.
With this advice, you’re sure to get the best from your matcha!
Let’s summarize the benefits of matcha!
If you’re looking for a quick summary of why you should be drinking matcha, let’s summarize some of the key points of this post for easy referral.
The benefits of matcha are, one, that it’s undeniably tasty. Those who love healthy teas and green tea in general would be hard-pressed not to find something to enjoy in matcha.
Second, matcha is easy to prepare, and can be purchased in a variety of forms. Salada’s excellent tea bag blends are worthwhile for ease, convenience and high-quality ingredients while also being easy to store. We offer pure matcha, asian pear matcha, lemongrass matcha and single serve cups.
Third, matcha is known for its health benefits. It’s good for your body, can relieve stress, and can also serve as a fantastic replacement for coffee or other high-caffeine products. This way, you can make a healthier choice without having to eschew your morning caffeine fix. Matcha is also available in decaffeinated tea bags, meaning you can drink the same great taste all day if you wish to.
Matcha is more than a trend! In fact, it is open to adjustment and can be consumed exactly how you like it. No matter if vegan milks or sweeteners are your preference, you can make sure that a range of tastes are available to you.
Choose Salada for All Your Matcha and Green Tea Needs
We’re also happy to field any questions you may have - the more informed you are, the more you can enjoy fantastic teas! Contact us today!