Uncovering the Antioxidant Power of Matcha

7 Facts You Didn’t Know About Japanese Matcha tea ceremonies.


In honor of matcha’s rich history and legacy in Japanese culture, we offer today’s blog topic: 7 Facts You Didn’t Know About Matcha

  • Matcha has one of the highest levels of antioxidants of all known “super foods.” With an ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) value of 1384 TE/G, a single cup has more than 5x the antioxidants of blueberries.
  • To produce matcha, the tea bushes are covered with shades of cloth at least 20 days prior to harvest. This shades the plants from direct sunlight, increasing the levels of chlorophyll and enhancing the production of L-Theanine.
  • Matcha creates a calm alertness thanks to L-Theanine.
  • Samurai used to drink Matcha tea before going into battle due to its energizing properties.
  • The Japanese have been drinking Matcha for more than 800 years.
  • Matcha is the traditional tea served in Japanese tea ceremonies.
  • Matcha is an ingredient in many mainstream Japanese foods, including Kit Kat Bars and Pocky.

Matcha, the vibrant green tea powder, has been a staple in Japanese culture for centuries, celebrated for its rich flavor and myriad health benefits. Here are seven intriguing facts about matcha that you might not have known:

  1. Origins in Zen Buddhism: Matcha's use was first popularized in Japan by Zen Buddhist monks, who valued the tea for its ability to promote alertness and concentration during long hours of meditation. This unique aspect of matcha comes from its combination of caffeine and L-theanine, an amino acid that has calming effects on the brain.

  2. Shade-grown Leaves: Unlike other green teas, matcha is made from tea leaves (Camellia sinensis) that have been shade-grown for about three weeks before harvest. This process increases the chlorophyll content and gives matcha its distinctive bright green color. It also boosts the production of L-theanine.

  3. Whole Leaf Consumption: With matcha, you're consuming the whole tea leaf in powdered form. This contrasts with traditional tea drinking, where the leaves are steeped in water and then removed. Consuming the whole leaf means you're getting all the nutrients from the leaf, including higher levels of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

  4. Grading System: Matcha is graded based on its quality, which affects its taste, color, and price. The highest grades of matcha, often referred to as ceremonial-grade matcha, are reserved for traditional tea ceremonies and have a delicate flavor suitable for traditional preparation methods. Culinary-grade matcha, which is still high in quality, is used for cooking and baking.

  5. Energy without the Jitters: Thanks to the presence of L-theanine, matcha provides a more sustained energy boost compared to the quick jolt and subsequent crash associated with coffee. L-theanine moderates the effects of caffeine, leading to a gradual increase in energy without the nervousness or jitteriness.

  6. Rich in Antioxidants: Matcha is exceptionally high in catechins, a type of antioxidant. One of the most powerful catechins in matcha is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), known for its cancer-fighting properties. Antioxidants help stabilize harmful free radicals, which are compounds that can damage cells and cause chronic disease.

  7. Traditional and Modern Uses: While matcha has been a part of traditional Japanese tea ceremonies for centuries, its versatility has made it popular in modern cuisine. Today, matcha is used in a variety of dishes and beverages, including lattes, smoothies, and desserts like ice cream and cakes, offering a unique flavor and color.

Matcha continues to gain popularity worldwide not only for its health benefits and unique flavor profile but also for its versatility in culinary applications. Whether enjoyed in a traditional tea ceremony or as a vibrant addition to modern dishes, matcha offers a fascinating blend of history, culture, and nutrition.

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