What is matcha tea?

We’ve all stood behind someone ordering a matcha latte and wondered what the heck that amazingly vibrant coloured milky tea drink is. So, what exactly IS matcha?

Matcha is a green tea powder made from finely powdered dried tea leaves. They are grown specially by being shade-grown for three to four weeks before harvest. Funnily enough, this method produces more theanine and caffeine in the plant- giving it its slightly bitter taste. Although matcha plays a significant part of Japanese culture, they are originally from China.

Brief history of matcha tea

Contrary to popular belief, matcha is not the new hipster fad many believe it is – this drink has history!

Matcha originated in China in the Tang dynasty when monks would steam green tea leaves, letting them dry out then packing them into tea bricks. To drink the tea, they would break off a piece of the brick and grind it with a mortar until it was a fine powder. Then they would sprinkle the fine powder into a wide bowl, add hot water, salt and stir.  Being in brick form made the tea really easy to transport and trade. This method of drinking tea eventually lost favour in China but remains popular in Japan where it has become a huge part of their culture.

Matcha was introduced to Japan in 1191 by Buddhist monk Myoan Eisai – a zen master who had been studying in China. On his return to his home country, he not only brought fresh ideas but a pouch of green tea seeds. These seeds were planted on the grounds of the Daitoku-ji temple in Kyoto. This is where the famous Japanese tea ritual originated. Not only did Eisai continue his teachings, but he also explored the properties of green tea by grinding the leaves into a fine powder and established the now famous tea ritual. He believed that matcha was the ultimate medicine for your mind and health and would make your life more complete. He wrote about that in his famous book ‘Book of Tea and Mulberries’.

Matcha tea in Japan

Matcha in the Muromachi period in Japan was even more popular than it is even today in the west.  It became so popular with the Samurai it became a commodity that could raise your social status. It was hard to come by and regarded as a luxury and a status symbol.

16th century in Japan brought in the era of the tea ceremony. This ritual is highly choreographed and called ‘the way of tea” (Chado). It follows the four principles of tea, harmony, purity, respect, and tranquillity. These elements remain the cornerstones of the famous tea ceremony today.

If we have learnt anything from the history of matcha it’s to relax and take time over your tea. To sit and ponder while you sip and bring some Asian zen to your life. Or, as we like to say at Leafy Bean – ‘Breathe, Relax, Enjoy’.

matcha tea

Is matcha tea good for you? (7 benefits of matcha tea)

Matcha tea is all the rage for an obvious reason- it is very good for your health! In fact, the benefits of matcha cannot be understated. From helping with weight loss, to its detoxing properties, and promotion of good heart and liver health, here are 7 benefits of matcha tea.

  1. Packed full of antioxidants

Matcha has a high concentration of catechins; a natural flavonoid and antioxidant found in certain plants. Catechins found in tea have been known for their protective quality against various human cancers, including colon and rectal cancers. In addition, catechins promote gut and digestive health by lowering the intestinal pH. Regular intake of matcha tea can do wonders for your general immune health.

  1. Calming and relaxing properties

Many studies have demonstrated the anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects of matcha. This is because the theanine which develops during the shade growing phase of matcha harvesting lowers the body’s physiological response to stress. It does this by modulating monoamine levels in the central nervous system, and glutamate and glycine neurotransmissions. As a result, theanine found in matcha has calming effects in the brain and also lowers the body’s stress-related heart rate.

  1. Rich in fibre, vitamins, and chlorophyll

Matcha is rich in fibre, vitamin C, and chlorophyll- all of which go a long way in promoting a healthy immune and digestive system. Some of the main benefits of vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, include its role in the absorption of iron, the proper functioning of the immune system, wound healing, and the maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth. In the same way, the chlorophyll-rich matcha also detoxifies the blood, eliminates fungus in the body, and prevents cancer.

Matcha tea

  1. Promotes healthy, glowing skin

Matcha’s ability to promote healthy, glowing skin is twofold. The vitamin C found in matcha promotes the formation of collagen, which improves skin elasticity and hydration.

In addition, the antioxidants found in matcha tea reduce damage to skin cells caused by environmental pollutions and UV rays by promoting cell regeneration.

  1. Improves brain function

Research has shown that matcha has been linked to improvements in attention, reaction time, and memory. In fact, a study demonstrated that consuming two grams of match tea powder daily for two months helped improve brain function in older people. In addition, the caffeine found in matcha tea has been linked to faster reaction times, increased attention, and enhanced memory. Not to mention the fact that the concentration of caffeine in matcha is actually higher than in green tea. Precisely, 35 mg of caffeine per half teaspoon (about 1 gram) of matcha powder.

  1. Helps with weight loss

Matcha has been known to promote weight loss by speeding up the body’s metabolism. Thereby increasing energy expenditure and fat burning. In fact, one study showed that consuming matcha during moderate exercise increased fat burning by 17%. Don’t be surprised if you see matcha listed as one of the ingredients of any weight loss supplements that you buy!

     7.  Promotes heart health

Seeing as heart disease is one of the leading causes of death around the world, it’s no wonder the properties found in matcha are a complete game changer! EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate) found in matcha is a natural inflammatory substance. This reduces the inflammation of the blood vessels which leads to high blood pressure. Inflamed blood vessels trigger blood clots, which are the primary cause of heart attacks and strokes.

How to make matcha tea

You’re in luck- matcha tea is super easy to make!

There are three things that you need to make matcha tea:

  • one tea bowl/chawal (or a small, shallow dish)
  • a tea whisk (chasen)
  • a tea scoop/chasaku (or a tea spoon)

Seeing as matcha floats, it is important for the powder to be emulsified with hot water. The recipe couldn’t be simpler! Scoop a teaspoon of matcha into your tea bowl, add a little bit of hot water, and stir. When it is fully mixed, add more hot water, and voila!

matcha tea

 

If we have learnt anything from the history of matcha it’s to relax and take time over your tea. To sit and ponder while you sip and bring some Asian zen to your life. Or, as we like to say at Leafy Bean – ‘Breathe, Relax, Enjoy’.

Stay tuned for leafy bean’s incoming matcha tea products. Reap all the benefits of matcha tea with the unparalleled quality of Leafy Bean’s tea products.

In the meantime, why not check out our amazing range of black tea, green tea, and even rooibos!

 

 

What is matcha tea?

We’ve all stood behind someone ordering a matcha latte and wondered what the heck that amazingly vibrant coloured milky tea drink is. So, what exactly IS matcha?

Matcha is a green tea powder made from finely powdered dried tea leaves. They are grown specially by being shade-grown for three to four weeks before harvest. Funnily enough, this method produces more theanine and caffeine in the plant- giving it its slightly bitter taste. Although matcha plays a significant part of Japanese culture, they are originally from China.

Brief history of matcha tea

Contrary to popular belief, matcha is not the new hipster fad many believe it is – this drink has history!

Matcha originated in China in the Tang dynasty when monks would steam green tea leaves, letting them dry out then packing them into tea bricks. To drink the tea, they would break off a piece of the brick and grind it with a mortar until it was a fine powder. Then they would sprinkle the fine powder into a wide bowl, add hot water, salt and stir.  Being in brick form made the tea really easy to transport and trade. This method of drinking tea eventually lost favour in China but remains popular in Japan where it has become a huge part of their culture.

Matcha was introduced to Japan in 1191 by Buddhist monk Myoan Eisai – a zen master who had been studying in China. On his return to his home country, he not only brought fresh ideas but a pouch of green tea seeds. These seeds were planted on the grounds of the Daitoku-ji temple in Kyoto. This is where the famous Japanese tea ritual originated. Not only did Eisai continue his teachings, but he also explored the properties of green tea by grinding the leaves into a fine powder and established the now famous tea ritual. He believed that matcha was the ultimate medicine for your mind and health and would make your life more complete. He wrote about that in his famous book ‘Book of Tea and Mulberries’.

Matcha tea in Japan

Matcha in the Muromachi period in Japan was even more popular than it is even today in the west.  It became so popular with the Samurai it became a commodity that could raise your social status. It was hard to come by and regarded as a luxury and a status symbol.

16th century in Japan brought in the era of the tea ceremony. This ritual is highly choreographed and called ‘the way of tea” (Chado). It follows the four principles of tea, harmony, purity, respect, and tranquillity. These elements remain the cornerstones of the famous tea ceremony today.

If we have learnt anything from the history of matcha it’s to relax and take time over your tea. To sit and ponder while you sip and bring some Asian zen to your life. Or, as we like to say at Leafy Bean – ‘Breathe, Relax, Enjoy’.

matcha tea

Is matcha tea good for you? (7 benefits of matcha tea)

Matcha tea is all the rage for an obvious reason- it is very good for your health! In fact, the benefits of matcha cannot be understated. From helping with weight loss, to its detoxing properties, and promotion of good heart and liver health, here are 7 benefits of matcha tea.

  1. Packed full of antioxidants

Matcha has a high concentration of catechins; a natural flavonoid and antioxidant found in certain plants. Catechins found in tea have been known for their protective quality against various human cancers, including colon and rectal cancers. In addition, catechins promote gut and digestive health by lowering the intestinal pH. Regular intake of matcha tea can do wonders for your general immune health.

  1. Calming and relaxing properties

Many studies have demonstrated the anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects of matcha. This is because the theanine which develops during the shade growing phase of matcha harvesting lowers the body’s physiological response to stress. It does this by modulating monoamine levels in the central nervous system, and glutamate and glycine neurotransmissions. As a result, theanine found in matcha has calming effects in the brain and also lowers the body’s stress-related heart rate.

  1. Rich in fibre, vitamins, and chlorophyll

Matcha is rich in fibre, vitamin C, and chlorophyll- all of which go a long way in promoting a healthy immune and digestive system. Some of the main benefits of vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, include its role in the absorption of iron, the proper functioning of the immune system, wound healing, and the maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth. In the same way, the chlorophyll-rich matcha also detoxifies the blood, eliminates fungus in the body, and prevents cancer.

Matcha tea

  1. Promotes healthy, glowing skin

Matcha’s ability to promote healthy, glowing skin is twofold. The vitamin C found in matcha promotes the formation of collagen, which improves skin elasticity and hydration.

In addition, the antioxidants found in matcha tea reduce damage to skin cells caused by environmental pollutions and UV rays by promoting cell regeneration.

  1. Improves brain function

Research has shown that matcha has been linked to improvements in attention, reaction time, and memory. In fact, a study demonstrated that consuming two grams of match tea powder daily for two months helped improve brain function in older people. In addition, the caffeine found in matcha tea has been linked to faster reaction times, increased attention, and enhanced memory. Not to mention the fact that the concentration of caffeine in matcha is actually higher than in green tea. Precisely, 35 mg of caffeine per half teaspoon (about 1 gram) of matcha powder.

  1. Helps with weight loss

Matcha has been known to promote weight loss by speeding up the body’s metabolism. Thereby increasing energy expenditure and fat burning. In fact, one study showed that consuming matcha during moderate exercise increased fat burning by 17%. Don’t be surprised if you see matcha listed as one of the ingredients of any weight loss supplements that you buy!

     7.  Promotes heart health

Seeing as heart disease is one of the leading causes of death around the world, it’s no wonder the properties found in matcha are a complete game changer! EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate) found in matcha is a natural inflammatory substance. This reduces the inflammation of the blood vessels which leads to high blood pressure. Inflamed blood vessels trigger blood clots, which are the primary cause of heart attacks and strokes.

How to make matcha tea

You’re in luck- matcha tea is super easy to make!

There are three things that you need to make matcha tea:

  • one tea bowl/chawal (or a small, shallow dish)
  • a tea whisk (chasen)
  • a tea scoop/chasaku (or a tea spoon)

Seeing as matcha floats, it is important for the powder to be emulsified with hot water. The recipe couldn’t be simpler! Scoop a teaspoon of matcha into your tea bowl, add a little bit of hot water, and stir. When it is fully mixed, add more hot water, and voila!

matcha tea

 

If we have learnt anything from the history of matcha it’s to relax and take time over your tea. To sit and ponder while you sip and bring some Asian zen to your life. Or, as we like to say at Leafy Bean – ‘Breathe, Relax, Enjoy’.

Stay tuned for leafy bean’s incoming matcha tea products. Reap all the benefits of matcha tea with the unparalleled quality of Leafy Bean’s tea products.

In the meantime, why not check out our amazing range of black tea, green tea, and even rooibos!