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Matcha Demystified

by Jade Monk November 25, 2016

Matcha Demystified

What is Matcha

Matcha is one of the most premium and oldest variety of Japanese green tea (Tencha) granite ground by artisans to produce a fine powder. It’s enjoyed by drinking as tea or as an ingredient in lattes, smoothies, ice cream, chocolates and much more!

Matcha is made from a premium spring-picked Japanese green tea. Blocking direct sunlight slows the rate of photosynthesis in the tea leaves and results in a higher amount of amino acid called L-theanine. The combination of caffeine and L-theanine, increases alpha-brain wave activity that induces a calmer, yet more alert, state of mind.

The health benefits of Matcha tea exceed those of green tea because when you drink Matcha you consume the whole leaf, not just brewed water. 

Since over 800 years Zen Buddhist monks have used Matcha tea as meditational drink. Matcha is very exquisite: only a few dozen tea farmers in all Japan own the extensive know how to produce this tea.

Matcha tea leaves grow slowly in shaded tea plantations. The fresh leaves are dried and milled by granite stone mills into an ultra fine, jade green powder, and finally whisked with a bamboo whisk.

The result is a uniquely creamy, full-bodied and beautiful cup of green tea. 

Matcha is a special type of premium Japanese green tea (Tencha) granite ground by rare artisans to produce a fine powder. Its enjoyed by drinking as tea or as an ingredient in lattes, smoothies, ice cream, chocolates and much more!

Matcha is made from a premium spring-picked Japanese green tea. Blocking direct sunlight slows the rate of photosynthesis in the tea leaves and results in a higher amount of amino acid called L-theanine. The combination of caffeine and L-theanine, increases alpha-brain wave activity that induces a calmer, yet more alert, state of mind. 

The health benefits of Matcha tea exceed those of green tea because when you drink Matcha you consume the whole leaf, not just brewed water.

One bowl of Matcha is the equivalent of 10 glasses of green tea in terms of its nutritional value and antioxidant content.

The History of Matcha

Tea is a beverage with over 5000 years of history. The discovery of drinking tea is dated to around 2500 BC, and southwest China’s prefecture Yunnan is known as the birthplace of tea. In the 7th Century AD tea was already popular across China. Buddhist monks helped tea to break through on such a scale.

Matcha has been used by Buddhist monks since ancient times. The monks used to produce natural remedies from different plants and since tea was known as medicine at the time of its discovery, it was only natural for the Buddhist monks to powder it as they would powder other plants to obtain traditional Chinese medicine. Matcha was born.

In 1191 Zen Master Eisei brought the new and revolutionary idea of drinking tea from China to Japan. Eisai traveled throughout the country and planted tea. In his book “Kissa yojoki” Eisei writes “Tea is the ultimate mental and medical remedy and has the ability to make one’s life more full and complete. Tea has an extraordinary power to extend someone’s life. Everywhere where people will plant tea, long life will follow”. From this point on, Matcha became the “secret medicine” of Buddhist monks and the imperial court. Although powdered tea has not been popular in Japan it continued to be an important item at Zen monasteries, and became highly appreciated by others in the upper echelons of society during the 14th through 16th centuries.

In the 16th century another Zen-master shaped the image of tea in Japan: Sen-no-Rikyu invented the tea ceremony. This highly sophisticated art of drinking tea has greatly influenced the image of Japanese tea in the west. The tea that is used in the famous tea ceremony is Matcha tea. With the growth of the tea ceremony Matcha became popular among the powerful Samurai class in Japan.

For almost 750 years Matcha remained almost a secret tea amongst Japan’s elite.

Matcha Cultivation and Production

Matcha is made from shade-grown tea leaves also used to make  Gyokuro. The preparation of Matcha starts several weeks before harvest and can last up to 20 days, when the  tea bushes are covered to prevent direct sunlight. [4] This slows down growth, stimulates an increase in chlorophyll levels, turns the leaves a darker shade of green, and causes the production of  amino acids, in particular L- Theanine. Only the finest tea buds are hand-picked. After harvesting, if the leaves are rolled out before drying as usual, the result will be  Gyokuro (jade dew) tea. However, if the leaves are laid out flat to dry, they will crumble somewhat and become known as tencha (碾茶). Tencha can then be de-veined, de-stemmed, and stone-ground to the fine, bright green, talc-like powder known as Matcha. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matcha - cite_note-6 

It can take up to one hour to grind 30 grams of Matcha.

The flavor of Matcha is dominated by its  amino acids.The highest grades of matcha have more intense sweetness and deeper flavour than the standard or coarser grades of tea harvested later in the year. 

What is L-Theanine

Matcha also contains high amounts of L-Theanines—a unique set of natural amino acids found almost exclusively in shade grown green tea such as Matcha and Gyokuro, and also known to reduce stress and anxiety — This unique property of L-theanines, when combined with tea caffeine, will slowly release in the body for sustained energy of 3 to 6 hours without any caffeine crash and other side effects.

This unique combination, which almost exclusively exists in Matcha, also heightens the concentration to help provide increased mental clarity and focus. With virtually zero calories, this makes Matcha the ultimate "energy drink"—without any of the side effects found in the highly sugared, over-caffeinated beverages sold in stores today.



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