Matcha has become somewhat of a celebrity in the beverage world. From matcha lattés to matcha ice cream to matcha shots, the superfood green tea is taking over. But what exactly is it? Matcha is essentially green tea on steroids. Matcha has an amazing flavor, gives you the same strong burst of energy as coffee (but without the dreadful crash), and boasts a laundry list of health benefits. Want to learn more? It's time to meet your match(a):
Matcha vs. Green Tea
Matcha literally means “powdered tea.” Regular green tea is tea leaves that get infused into hot water, whereas matcha is the leaves grounded up and made into a fine powder. When matcha is prepared, the tea plants are covered with shade cloths before they're harvested allowing the leaves to grow with a better flavor and texture. The leaves are then hand selected, steamed briefly, dried and aged and then stone-ground into a powder.
Matcha offers a slew of health benefits and has even more nutrients than stepped green tea (because you're ingesting the whole leaf!) Matcha is rich in antioxidants, which help with everything from speeding up your metabolism and cleansing your body of free radicals to regulating blood sugar and protecting against heart disease and cancer.
Matcha contains the amino acid, L-Theanine, an amino acid that promotes relaxation, but also improves mental clarity. Matcha initially came to Japan as an aid to meditation practice–something for monks to drink to remain alert, yet calm. L-Theanine yields a state of relaxed alertness and may also help with memory and learning, as well as dulling the negative side effects of caffeine (jittery energy, crash, etc).
Many coffee shops now have matcha drinks available to order. If you're in NYC, check out Matcha Bar or Cha Cha Matcha, cafés devoted to all things matcha. Also check out our favorite matcha energy drink, Meta Matcha, available online and in select stores. With each bottle containing over 400mg of metabolism-boosting antioxidants, 60 calories and the perfect energy boost, it's tough to say no to the #metamatchamovement.