This fine powder, this luminous green, this characteristic taste... and these numerous benefits! Matcha tea is unlike any other tea and is winning over more and more people, especially those who want to take care of their health! Let's take a look at the Matcha phenomenon.
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What is matcha really?
Matcha is a green tea from Japan. The Nipponese drink has a surprising specificity: it is not consumed in the form of leaves, like other teas, but as a powder, an incredibly fine and light powder. The more intense the green colour, the better the quality. But how is the characteristic emerald green of matcha obtained? The tea bushes from which the green tea powder is made are shaded a few weeks before harvest. Deprived of light, the leaves have to produce more chlorophyll to carry out photosynthesis. The result? A bright green colour. This process allows the plant to create more amino acids. This softens the tea and increases the level of catechin (polyphenols), a very healthy antioxidant!
History of matcha tea
It was Eisai, a Zen master, who introduced matcha to Japan in 1191. He brought back seeds from a Buddhist study trip to China. Matcha was then cultivated in very small quantities in Kyoto (Japan), in the first Zen temple created by Eisai: the drink met with unexpected success and was quickly considered the best tea in Japan. The monks established a ritual for tasting matcha, a tea ceremony that has become emblematic of Japan today. They also had the idea of coating the tea to increase its benefits and properties.
To obtain this rare tea, the pluckers select the most beautiful leaves by hand. They are then dried and delicately crushed between two stone millstones, most often made of granite. During the preparation of this Japanese tea, the water completely absorbs the matcha powder resulting from the grinding. It then delivers all its benefits…
What does matcha tea taste like?
Matcha is characterised by a unique, plant-based taste. Not everyone is happy about this! Beware of the bitter character that some references may have. Not all have the same quality. A top-of-the-range matcha is not supposed to be too bitter.
What are the benefits and virtues of matcha?
A tea with beneficial properties for health and the body! Matcha was the favourite tea of Buddhist monks, samurai and emperors. The former were convinced that it allowed them to concentrate while keeping their minds alert during their long meditation sessions. The latter drank it before battle, so that it would give them energy and vivacity. They all believed it had the power to fight fatigue and ensure longevity. A legend that is not without foundation: matcha is said to be a real well-being cocktail, rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. A concentrate of good nutrients, in short!
STIMULATING, RELAXING, ANTIOXIDANT... THE PROPERTIES OF MATCHA
The Prince of green teas is full of antioxidants, vitamins (A, C and E), trace elements (zinc, copper and iron) and amino acids (about 20 times more than a classic green tea). Matcha is said to :
- boost your immunity
- reduce fatigue and boost your energy thanks to the caffeine and iron it contains
- reduce the oxidation of cholesterol
- regulate blood pressure
- fight prostate cancer (helps fight free radicals)
- prevent oral infections
- fight bad breath
- a beautiful skin effect by slowing down the ageing of the cells
The richness of matcha's catechins (polyphenols), molecules with remarkable antioxidant powers, partly explains the thousand virtues attributed to it.
Good to know: the family of antioxidants is vast. One of the most important of these is EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), a powerful flavonoid and catechin, which is found in large quantities in matcha.
And that's not all! Matcha green tea is said to stimulate both the mind and the body: the Japanese drink is an excellent energiser and relaxant. Matcha is rich in magnesium, a mineral trace element known for its anti-stress properties. It also contains theanine.
Theanine is intended to regulate mood and is said to have a beneficial effect on memory, concentration and depression. Ready for your next wellness break? To take full advantage of the benefits of matcha green tea, learn how to prepare it the right way...
How to prepare matcha tea to get the most out of its benefits?
In order for the body to assimilate the many nutrients, the preparation of matcha tea follows specific rules.
CHOOSE ORGANIC MATCHA TEA
To get the most out of the health benefits, Kusmi recommends that you choose an organic matcha tea. If possible, a ceremonial one. Indeed, matcha teas are classified according to "grades", with Ceremony being the highest. The higher the grade, the better the quality of the leaves that make up your matcha. An organic label will confirm the absence of pesticides in your drink. As for colour, a bright green colour is a symbol of quality! So opt for a beautiful electric green.
HOW TO DRINK MATCHA TO EXPLOIT ITS VIRTUES?
As matcha comes in powder form, it is not prepared like tea: it is dissolved in hot water.
To keep its properties intact, it is best to use mineral water. Also, be careful with the temperature: it should be poured at a simmer. If it boils, it will unfortunately burn the antioxidants.
Here are a few simple tips on how to prepare matcha tea, following the ritual steps:
1. Get a tea bowl.
2. Put a little powder in the bowl with a bamboo spatula called "chasaku".
3. Pour in pure water heated to 80°.
4. Grab the traditional bamboo whisk, called "chasen", and stir vigorously, making W's with your wrist.
5. When a layer of foam appears, the mixture is homogeneous and ready to be eaten. You can choose plain or sweet!
A good example to follow? The Japanese, who drink matcha during the traditional tea ceremony. This ritual combines tea drinking and meditation. During the four hours of the ceremony, the master reproduces very codified movements, inviting silence and concentration. During the ceremony, his guests savour both the tea and the happiness of living in the present moment (another very important virtue for the mind!).
How to cook Matcha?
The star of Japanese desserts, matcha is increasingly used in culinary recipes elsewhere in the world, particularly in pastries. In addition to its many benefits, it offers many advantages! Its vegetable flavour and delicate bitterness are a perfect match for sweet tastes. They add a touch of sophistication and originality, accentuated by the recognisable shade of green in cakes, madeleines and financiers!
Want to try matcha green tea? Take the plunge with our matcha box. The box contains a matcha tin, a traditional bowl, a chasen bamboo whisk and a chasaku spatula. The complete kit to prepare tea following the ritual of the land of the Rising Sun.