No doubt you’ve heard of the frothy, green concoction that is matcha tea. So much so that you might have jumped on the matcha bandwagon quite some time ago, only to have jumped off in favour of this months latest green drink craze (celery juice anyone?). But I’m here to encourage you to pick your matcha habit back up again and make it a lasting one!
Matcha has been on the scene in the western world for a few decades, but has only become mainstream in the last 5 years or so. No doubt you will have seen the bright green beverage feature on many a menu in your hood as every café scrambles to be on board with the trends. In Japan however, matcha (introduced from China) has been a special part of tea ceremonies and rituals for centuries, and plays an integral part in these deeply spiritual gatherings.
What is it, and why is it good for me?
When prepared traditionally matcha is a powdered Japanese green tea ferociously beaten into hot water with a bamboo whisk. It differs from your usual brew in that the leaves are stone ground and dissolved into the water, instead of simply steeping the leaves and removing. This of course equals more nutrients in your cup, not your compost. And nutrients are there ever! Because the plants are sheltered in shade for a period during their growth, the leaves have an abundance of amino acids like chlorophyll, which gives a piping hot cup of matcha that lovely deep green hue. We all now know that green equals good when it comes to what we ingest so matcha is a powerhouse in that respect. Add in a load of fibre, plus vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc and magnesium and it’s one hell of a tonic.
Another factor is the presence of the phytochemical EGCG. All you need to know about this sciency acronym is that EGCG is purported to boost immunity and metabolism, have disease-protective properties, and aid weight loss through thermogenesis and fat-oxidation. (Bring me another cup pronto!)
“That’s all well and good, but I need my caffeine!” you say
Reeeeelaaaaax. Matcha has caffeine. In fact it has 3 times more caffeine than a standard cup of tea, and about the same as a cup of coffee. The difference is that matcha also has a nifty little amino acid called l-theanine. Without getting too technical this stuff offsets the jittery feeling caffeine can produce by creating a feeling of relaxation without sleepiness. You get that alert, ‘I’m good at everything’ feeling, but it’s coupled with a calmness created by the l-theanine.
Any negatives then?
Well, it might be worth noting that a cup of matcha may expose you to around 30 times more lead than a cup of regular green tea. This is because plants absorb whatever is in the soil they’re grown in, and (even organic) matcha has been shown to contain lead. The reason the lead is more present in matcha specifically is because you’re ingesting the leaves too, and 90% of the lead absorbed is within the leaves. Don’t freak out though – the health benefits far outweigh this niggly negative, it is just recommended to stick to one cup of matcha a day to err on the side of caution.
Written by Ché Miller
About the author
Ché has always had a passion for hospitality having completed a conjoint Bachelors Degree in International Business and Hospitality Management. She has spent the last 15 years working in the hospitality industry. This passion led her to working in a premier health retreat in Australia in her twenties. There she found the knowledge she gained there inspired her to start living a healthier life.
Now Ché loves to combine her two favourite things, hospitality and wellbeing. She scours the island for the best nourishing restaurants, products and services. Ché has been living in Mallorca since early 2017, having moved from her home in New Zealand. She absolutely loves the energy of the island and everything it has to offer.
Ché’s other interests include ashtanga yoga, boxing, reading, writing, and really good coffee.