Green tea is one of the most popular drinks in the world. It has all sorts of health benefits, such as weight loss and improved heart health. One variety of green tea, matcha, is claimed to be even healthier than the other types. It is grown and prepared differently than other green teas, and the whole tea leaf is consumed.
But does matcha really live up to the hype? This article takes a detailed look at matcha green tea and its health effects.
What is Matcha?
Matcha and regular green tea both come from the Camellia sinensis plant, which is native to China. However, matcha is grown differently than regular green tea. The tea bushes are covered for about 20–30 days before harvest, to prevent direct sunlight. The shade stimulates an increase in chlorophyll levels, which turns the leaves into a darker shade of green and increases the production of amino acids.
After harvesting, the stems and veins are removed from the leaves. They are then stone-ground into a fine, bright green powder, known as matcha. Because the whole leaf powder is ingested, instead of just water infused through the tea leaves, matcha is even higher in some substances than green tea. This includes caffeine and antioxidants.
One cup of matcha, made from half a teaspoon of powder, generally contains about 35 mg of caffeine. This is slightly more than a cup of regular green tea. Matcha can have a grassy and bitter taste, and is often served with a sweetener or milk. Matcha powder is also popular in smoothies and baking.
Matcha is a type of powdered, high-quality green tea. It is grown and prepared differently than regular green tea, and has higher amounts of caffeine and antioxidants.