Updated: Jun 13, 2021
Matcha is specially grown and processed finely ground powder green tea leaves which are traditionally consumed in East Asia. 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 shaded growth, the plant Camellia sinensis produces more theanine and caffeine. The powdered form of matcha is consumed differently from tea leaves or tea bags, as it is suspended in a liquid, typically water or milk.
The flavour of matcha is dominated by its amino acids. The highest grades of matcha have a more intense sweetness and deeper flavour than the standard or coarser grades of tea harvested later in the year.
How Matcha can be used ?
Matcha is used in various desserts, it is mixed with milk and sugar as a drink; and mixed with salt and used to flavour tempura in a mixture known as matcha-jio. It is also used as flavouring in many Western-style chocolates, candy, and desserts, such as cakes and pastries, including Swiss rolls and cheesecake, cookies, pudding, mousse, and green tea ice cream. Matcha can be mixed with Greek Yogurt to make frozen yogurt. It may also be mixed into other forms of tea. The use of matcha in modern drinks has also spread to North American cafés, such as Starbucks, which introduced "green tea lattes" and other matcha-flavoured drinks after they became successful in their Japanese store locations. It has become integrated into lattes, iced drinks, milkshakes, and smoothies in Japan.
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Because the whole leaf powder is ingested, matcha is even higher in some substances — such as caffeine and antioxidants than green tea.
One cup (237 ml) of standard matcha, made from 4 teaspoons of powder, generally packs about 280 mg of caffeine. This is significantly higher than a cup (237 ml) of regular green tea, which provides 35 mg of caffeine.
However, most people don’t drink a full cup (237 ml) of matcha at once because of its high caffeine content. It’s more common to drink 2–4 ounces (59–118 ml). Caffeine content also varies based on how much powder you add.
Health benefits of matcha
Antioxidant Powerhouse And May Help In Ailing Heart Disease And Inflammation -
Matcha is more concentrated in antioxidants, a single cup (237 ml) may be equivalent to about 3 cups (711 ml) of regular green tea. Matcha is very high in antioxidants, especially catechins. Its most powerful catechin is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG has been studied extensively. It may fight inflammation in your body, help maintain healthy arteries, and promote cell repair (4).Emerging evidence suggests that EGCG may improve endothelial function, hypertension, coronary heart disease, obesity, insulin resistance, as well as glucose and lipid metabolism.(5) Studies have shown that who drink green tea have 31% lower risk of developing heart disease.
This is mainly attributed to the antioxidants and plant compounds in green tea, which are found in even higher amounts in matcha.
Found to Boost Mental Relaxation and Alertness – matcha contains much higher levels of L-theanine than other types of green tea. L-theanine significantly increases activity in the alpha frequency band which indicates that it relaxes the mind without inducing drowsiness. (6). Intake of Green Tea Inhibited increase of Salivary Chromogranin A after Mental Task Stress Loads. Concentration of chromogranin A (CgA) in the saliva was used as an index of autonomic nervous system activity. (7).
Matcha, “a feel good green tea” - L-theanine can also increase the number of feel-good chemicals in our brain, leading to improved mood, memory, and concentration. (8).
Furthermore, studies indicate that powdered matcha green tea may improve brain function and reduce age-related mental decline in older adults. (9)
Matcha and weight loss – Several Human studies reveal that green tea increases total calories burned by boosting our metabolic rate. It has also been shown to increase selective fat burning by up to 17%. Green tea has thermogenic properties and promotes fat oxidation. (10)
Safety Limits and Side Effects with Matcha consumption
Some side effects and risks are associated with matcha consumption. Because matcha is highly concentrated in both beneficial and harmful substances, it’s generally not recommended to drink more than 2 cups (474 ml) per day.
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Hepatic and Kidney toxicity – While individual tolerance varies, high levels of the plant compounds found in matcha may cause nausea and symptoms of liver or kidney toxicity. The hepatotoxicity is probably due to (-)-epigallocatechin gallate or its metabolites which, under particular conditions related to the patient's metabolism, can induce oxidative stress in the liver. In a few cases, toxicity related to concomitant medications could also be involved. (11)
Some individuals have shown signs of liver toxicity after consuming just 6 cups (1.4 liters) of green tea daily for 4 months — or about 2 daily cups (474 ml) of matcha . (12)
Matcha, a wonder green tea which has potential health benefits and can do wonders if taken in permissive limits. It is healthier than normal green tea and can be widely used in many dessert preparations apart from just a tea for consumption. However excess consumption may pose health threats.
1. Kaneko, Shu; Kumazawa, Kenji; Masuda, Hideki; Henze, Andrea; Hofmann, Thomas (March 2006). "Molecular and Sensory Studies on the Umami Taste of Japanese Green Tea". J. Agric. Food Chem. 54 (7): 2688–2694. doi:10.1021/jf0525232. PMID16569062.
2.^"Aiya's Blog - The Different Grades of Matcha (and Their Characteristics)". www.aiya-america.com. Retrieved 9 September 2017.
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12. J Hepatol. 2006 Mar;44(3):616-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2005.11.041. Epub 2005 Dec 27.