Matcha is having a serious moment among the fit-celebs and nutrition bloggers, so we wanted to get to the bottom of the Matcha trend. We’re explaining what matcha is exactly and why it’s so good for you; plus, how you can start incorporating this superfood into your morning routine ASAP.
What is matcha?
Matcha is premium green tea powder from Japan, and has a grassier taste and is brighter in color than other forms of green tea. Matcha powder can be used for making tea; in addition, it can be used as an ingredient in cooking. Since matcha is a powder, when you drink it as a tea (the powder whisked in water) you’re ingesting the whole leaf, as opposed to other green teas where the leaves are steeped in water. As a result, matcha exceeds the nutrient density of other green teas when consumed.
Matcha’s nutrient benefits
Matcha is packed with nutrients including antioxidants, fiber and chlorophyll. According to the Matcha Source, one glass of matcha is the equivalent of 10 glasses of green tea in terms of nutritional value and antioxidant content, and antioxidants help delay cell damage (fight off aging) and fight off disease. Polyphenols, found in all teas, have antioxidant properties and one study suggests that matcha has 137 times more polyphenols – called pigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) – than other green teas. EGCG is the polyphenols compound found in green tea that is said to boost metabolism through fat burning properties.
Although matcha’s caffeine content is comparable to a cup of coffee, its nutrient properties including L-theanine, an amino acid that relaxes the mind, leaves you feeling energized and focused rather than jittery.
Where to find it
Matcha is becoming more accessible in coffee shops where it’s served straight-up or as a latte. We tried a variety of flavors including DAVIDsTEA mint and vanilla, which had varying consistencies and potencies of the grassy vs. sweet flavor.
We also tried an at-home concoction, purchasing powder from a specialty health-food retailer (like Whole Foods), from fitness it-girl Hannah Bronfman. Her recipe blends matcha powder with coconut oil for a creamy, morning elixir. Bonus, add a tablespoon of vanilla protein powder to stave off hunger.
At number nine on Well+Good’s 2016 wellness trends, matcha is here to stay and something we’ll be sipping well into the New Year.