What is Matcha Green Tea
Unlike other green teas, when you drink matcha you are consuming the actual tea leaves. For this reason alone, matcha contains higher concentrations of vitamins and catechins than green tea alone. There are two types of matcha with regards to the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony called chanoyu. The terms Usucha and Koicha literally translate to "thick" and "thin" tea and are very important in understanding some of the nuances of matcha.
Matcha comes from Gyokuro processed tea leaves that have been shaded for 3 weeks prior to harvesting in May. This causes the new shoots to develop larger thinner leaves with more chlorophyll. The leaves are steamed and dried and meticulously have all stems and veins removed. The pure dried leaves (tencha) are stone ground into a fine powder with the consistency of talc. In the traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony, koicha is brewed with more water than usucha and naturally has a mellower and sweeter taste.
Preparing Matcha Green Tea
The traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony require special training and precise movements and procedures to produce the most exquisite matcha but don't let that stop you from enjoying the great health benefits of drinking our Samurai Matcha or Izu Gyokuro Matcha green tea. To prepare you will need a matcha bowl and a bamboo whisk or a chashaku (bamboo spoon used in Japanese tea ceremonies). For thick tea, use one level teaspoon for 4-6 ounces of water. For thin tea use half a teaspoon. Start by placing the matcha in the bowl called a chawan then pour hot (NOT BOILING) water over the leaves. Then whisk away to get the matcha into a frothy brew.
Don't forget! Matcha can be used for delicious green tea smoothies, Matcha au Lait, Mixed drinks with tea and matcha ice cream. Also try sprucing up some of your favorite breads and entrees.
Health Benefits of Matcha
Matcha contains many trace minerals and vitamins such as A, B Complex, C, E and K. Matcha as in quality green teas are rich in catechin polyphenols which are those compounds found in many health foods that contain high levels of antioxidants to help protect from cardiovascular disease, stabilize blood sugar, reduce high blood pressure and even offer protection against some cancers. Best of all matcha has a significant amount of dietary fiber an zero calories!
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