Integrative Nutrition Blog

Your Quick Guide to Matcha

October 15, 2018

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Are you interested in jumping on the matcha bandwagon but confused about where to start? We’re here to help! We’re breaking down all the need-to-know information on the trendy green goodness and how exactly it should be used.

What is matcha?
Matcha is a traditional Japanese powder made with finely ground tea leaves. It’s traditionally sifted, mixed with hot water, and whisked. While matcha has been around for centuries, wellness gurus have spotlighted it recently for the immense health benefits it offers and the variety of ways it can be consumed. Along with increased energy and less brain fog, matcha has been shown to boost metabolism and help skin glow. The taste of matcha is smooth and earthy, with suddle hints of sweetness. From lattes to smoothies to muffins, there’s no shortage of methods out there to begin incorporating matcha into your diet to reap its benefits!

Why drink matcha?
Unlike most teas, matcha is the entire ground tea leaf, making it higher in overall vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids. Matcha stands out as a powerhouse food because of its high nutritional content, packing in over 100 times more antioxidants than a regular brewed green tea. Because of this, matcha is a great tool for weight loss and improving hair, skin, and nails, as well as overall health.

Does it have caffeine?
The caffeine content of matcha is higher than bagged tea, but matcha releases a calmer, more relaxing dose than coffee. Unlike the jitter-filled buzz that comes with drinking coffee, matcha has even been shown to help with concentration and clarity of mind and decrease stress levels and anxiety.

Integrative Nutrition Health Coach Jules Chase ’17 tells us, “After beginning to notice sensitivities to caffeine, I started to seek out alternatives to my morning coffee. As a major coffee lover, I was doubtful that anything could substitute my beloved beverage, but matcha won me over. I like to make a matcha latte with equal parts hot water and warm almond milk all whisked together. Matcha can be a bit bitter, so I’ll typically add a small amount of raw honey as well. I’ve found this drink gives me a calm, sustained energy boost while being much easier on my digestive system.”

What kind should I buy?
The quality, origin, type, and grade of matcha are important factors in figuring out which one is best to purchase. There are a variety of types and price ranges when it comes to matcha, but keep in mind that less expensive versions may be lower quality or made with fillers.

When it comes to the grade of matcha, focus on what you’re using it for. Will you be enjoying a nice hot cup of matcha tea or are you looking to start cooking and baking with it? Ceremonial-grade matcha is made for blending and whisking with hot water and drinking. This grade of matcha is not intended for mixing with other flavors, sweeteners, or milks. It should be enjoyed simply for its authentic earthy tones. Culinary-grade matcha is what you want if you are making your first batch of matcha pancakes or a matcha protein smoothie.

How do I make it?
While there may be a lot that goes into purchasing a quality matcha, making it is simple! There are just three easy steps!

  1. Sift 1–2 teaspoons of matcha in a sifter, breaking up any clumps that have formed.
  2. Add 1–2 ounces of hot water (avoid using water at boiling point; it should be just under a boil).
  3. Using a traditional matcha whisk, whisk briskly from side to side in a zigzag-like motion until it is fully blended. Add more liquid and enjoy!

Coconut milk, nut milk, hemp milk, and oat milk are also delicious add-ins, especially if you are trying matcha for the first time or are not a fan of it on its own.

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