In North America, the perception is: Green tea is good for you. Green tea will help you lose weight. Green tea has more antioxidants than regular tea; drink it for better skin.
In Japan, there are many different types of green tea. Green tea is an integral part of the culture as tea ceremonies are regularly held. I enjoyed some of the different types of green tea (ryokucha) including:
- Genmaicha (green tea with roasted brown rice)
- Hojicha (roasted green tea)
- Matcha (the only type of tea that can be used for tea ceremonies)
Can you guess which one is my favourite? 😉
I went to Japan between November and December of 2015. When I came back, I felt like Toronto became obsessed with more aspects of Japanese food other than ramen overnight. It’s a good thing because I really enjoy a nice cup of matcha.
Matcha is unique to Japan and only the highest quality leaves are used for matcha.
What are the benefits of Matcha?
- rich in antioxidants
- when paired with lifestyle changes, can help to boost metabolism
- rich in chlorophyll
The claims sound very similar to that of regular green tea. Why matcha? Matcha’s heath benefits are unparalleled to any other green tea as matcha tea drinkers ingest the whole leaf and not just the brewed water. As a result, one glass of matcha has as many antioxidants as ~10 glasses of green tea.
A research study at Tufts University using the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) method shows that matcha houses 20x more antioxidants than pomegranates or blueberries.
For skin health, we all know that we need more antioxidants in our diet be it from vegetables and/or fruit. The next time you think about having green tea, go for a cup of matcha! Your skin will love you.
How does matcha taste?
Many factors affect the taste of matcha including:
- Grade of matcha
- Region from which the matcha comes from
- Production Quality
When drinking a good cup of matcha, you want the colour to be green. The more green the matcha powder is, the better it is for you. Matcha grows in the shade forcing the leaves of the tea tree to produce more chlorophyll.
Matcha initially will have a strong flavour (some would describe a bit bitter) but the sip should end on a sweet note.
Where can you find a good cup of matcha?
- Tsujiri (Yonge/Sheppard OR Yonge/Dundas)
- Mary Be Kitchen (Yonge/St. Clair)
- The Library Specialty Coffee (Near St. Patrick Station)
- Neo Coffee Bar (Near George Brown College St. James Campus)
Keep in mind- the Japanese enjoy matcha powder only mixed with water. Over here in North America, we have made matcha a very trendy thing by adding it into our lattes and/or desserts. Why do we do this over here in North America? Most people aren’t used to the flavour of matcha. If you truly want the benefits of matcha, please drink it in pure form. I’m not saying you can’t have a matcha latte here and there; however, you won’t be having it the way matcha was intended to be enjoyed.
Food For Thought: Matcha is still a form of green tea; therefore, it will have caffeine. Don’t overindulge. To make sure your body is properly hydrated, you still need to drink water (H20) to keep your skin happy.
Now knowing a cup of matcha is approximately equal to the antioxidant level of 10 cups of regular green tea, does this motivate you to buy some good quality matcha powder and add it into your oatmeal, smoothie and/or other culinary creations?