Let's chat matcha!
We see it all over the internet, but let's go a bit deeper into this amazing micro-grind and discover why it's so popular.
Are all ground green teas matcha?
The short answer?
Green tea originated in China, but matcha is exclusively from Japan. In fact, in Japanese "MA" means powder "CHA" means tea!
Matcha is always shade-grown
While many green teas are grown in direct sun, matcha spends a large portion of it's growing season in the shade.
The plant must work extra hard to stay alive and therefore produces more antioxidants and chlorophyll, giving matcha leaves a unique deep green colour and a savoury umami full-mouth feel.
1. The leaves are hand plucked in the spring
2. They are steamed until dried (contributing to the electric green matcha colour)
3. The leaves are sorted by texture
4. The leaves are de-veined and cooled to develop flavour
5. This tea is now at a unique stage called “TENCHA”
6. The leaf is then slowly stone ground using granite (but not too fast or the leaves will oxidize and become brown!)
Buckle up! We're going deep into the matcha leaf.
Essentially, within each tea leaf, there are very powerful antioxidants called catechines (kat-eh-kins). Within those catechines is something called EGCg.
"Although there are many different types of beneficial compounds in tea, current research indicated that EGCg is the polyphenol antioxidant with the broadest and most potent ability to protect your body's cells from cancer.*"
*source: Cancer Hates Tea, Maria Uspenski, Page 29
Those catechines are are found more predominantly in green and white tea versus black teas/oolongs/pu'ehrs.
But when we steep a cup of tea, we actually toss away the majority of those EGCg, as they reside in the actual leaf of the plant!
When we make matcha, it is technically a diffusion instead of an infusion because we consume the leaf in its entirety. Consuming one cup of matcha packs more punch and catechines than approximately 10-15 cups of regular green tea.
Types of matcha
Ceremonial Matcha – young leaf, smooth, umami flavour
Culinary Matcha – older leaf, slightly bitter flavour
Matcha has been traditionally prepared and served for over 1000 years in Japanese culture.
Full of healing antioxidants and a vegetal, smooth, long-lasting flavour, drinking a cup is drinking an ancient tradition - not to mention - it tastes great!