Using Matcha Green Tea Powder
Posted on 21 October 2015 by Leonie Satori
Fashionably green and incredibly uplifting, Matcha Green Tea powder is packed full of antioxidants and is a versatile additive to hot or cold beverages. In this article we look at the basics of matcha green tea, why it is so popular and the nutritional benefits of drinking matcha green tea.
Matcha Green Tea is said to have been used for centuries by Zen monks to enhance concentration and to boost metabolism, but it has not been until recent years that there have been a resurgence of interest in this powerful green powdered tea.
How is Matcha Green Tea different to regular green tea?
The first thing that needs to be mentioned is the format of this tea, obviously as this tea is prepared from a powdered herb, you are not steeping tea leaves in hot water and then simply drinking the water, you are consuming a quantity of the whole herb in a powder format, so more of the ‘actual’ herb is being consumed.
Essentially Matcha Green Tea powder literally means powdered tea and comes from the same plant as your regular green tea, however, it is in the preparation of the herb that many of the therapeutic characteristics of green tea are developed. Several weeks before the tea leaves are ready to be harvested, the plants are shaded to slow down growth and increase the nutrition and flavour of the leaves. After harvesting, the leaves are dried, then any veins, stems or imperfect parts of the leaves are removed, leaving only the soft, fleshy parts of the plant remaining to become ground into a powder.
The flavour and nutritional components (particularly the amino acids or proteins) of the herb vary depending on the quality of the plants, conditions for growing and the attention to detail of processing.
How do I use Matcha Green Tea?
Traditionally, Matcha Green Tea powder is prepared with hot water and is stirred briskly to distribute the powder evenly with what is called a chasen or bamboo whisk. Another traditional method for reduced clumping of the powder in drinks involves pouring through a sieve before drinking. Really the thickness and strength of the preparation is up to the individual, begining with a small amount - around ¼ teaspoon per cup of good quality of matcha green tea powder is a good place to start. For those who are not accustomed to the natural taste of herbs, may find that they need to add a sweetener to their tea.
The versatility of matcha green tea powder, however does not simply end with a traditional hot tea drink, matcha green tea powder is delicious made as a hot milk drink as you would make a hot cocoa. Green smoothies provide the perfect base for matcha green tea powder and other superfoods complement the antioxidants in matcha green tea quite well. View our simple herbal matcha green tea smoothie recipe (aka Incredible Hulk Smoothie).
Which Matcha Green Tea will matcha my green tea needs?
As with many natural herbal preparations, you get what you pay for when you purchase Matcha Green Tea. As the powder tends to oxidize rapidly when exposed to the air, it is best to purchase your Matcha Green Tea powder in small quantities and if possible in a container that can be re-sealed to keep it fresh while you are using it. Matcha Green Tea powder should be a brownish green colour and have a crisp grassy type aroma when fresh.
What about the antioxidants in Matcha Green Tea?
Much of the focus on Matcha Green Tea powder in recent times has been on the antioxidant benefits of this herb. Many of you would have learned about the ORAC scale for identifying the antioxidant components of foods. The oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) of matcha green tea powder, in comparison to regular green tea is around ten times and the equivalent of eating a generous cup of blueberries.
Other nutrients of note in Matcha Green Tea Powder include theanine, which is reputed to give the tea it's cognitive enhancing capabilities, chlorophyll, as you do in all green foods and trace amounts of numerous vitamins and minerals including calcium, potassium, iron and vitamin C.
Can I have too much Matcha Green Tea powder?
This herbal powder needs to be treated with much respect, the concentrated constituents in this powder, especially the caffeine can be a little to stimulating for sensitive individuals. Speaking from experience, unless you are fond of starting your day on a jittery high, Matcha Green Tea powder should be taken with or after food. It is suggested that if you are sensitive, that Matcha Green Tea Powder should not be consumed late in the day (unless you plan on staying up all night at a rave), and of course, with all things, enjoy in moderation.
About the Author
Leonie Satori is a Naturopath & Medical Herbalist with a passion for good food, healthy living and of course, herbal medicine. When she is not consulting in her wellness clinic in Lismore or blogging about nutrition, Ayurvedic Medicine or natural health, she is studying yoga, growing her own herbs and vegetables or quietly walking in the natural bush land in Northern Rivers NSW.
Contact our health centre in Lismore to book an appointment with Leonie in our naturopathic clinic.