Green tea powder, Matcha has unusual benefits. Excellent source of bioavailable vitamins, minerals and trace elements.
Matcha refers to a particular kind of Japanese Green Tea. Matcha (抹茶) means "finely ground tea" or "tea powder". It is therefore a tea which has been reduced to powder and which is mixed with hot water in a very specific way (Usucha or Koicha, see below). It can still be mixed with other ingredients for cooking recipes (ice cream, cake, smoothie, etc.). This type of tea is not only prepared in a special way, it also offers exceptional health benefits. Matcha is gaining international popularity, although the quantities sold abroad are still relatively low. Japan exports only 4% of its domestic production. The green tea powder is perceived as a noble and refined, because very expensive to produce. However, there are large differences in quality and the relatively high base price can reach peaks for the most luxurious Matcha. The most recognized regions for quality Matcha production are Uji (Kyoto) and Nishio (Aichi) which have excellent value for money. The regions of Kagoshima and Miyazaki on the island of Kyushu in the south of the archipelago also produce a large quantity of very good Matchas.
Matcha: green tea powder
Composition of Matcha
Basically, Matcha has the same virtues for the body as the tea from which it originates, usually Tencha or sometimes Gyokuro (see below). The Matcha offers particularly powerful medicinal properties because, unlike a traditional infusion, the entire leaf is ingested with all the nutrients it contains. The Matcha from Tencha offers a spectrum of chemical composition identical to Sencha, with much less tannins but remarkably rich in:
Caffeine and amino acids, especially L-Theanine (ie caffeine very assimilated by the body)
Catechins, including ECGC, antioxidants (the highest ORAC of all known foods)
Iron (10-17mg per 100g)
A dose of 1 to 1.5 teaspoons of green powder corresponds to the amount of caffeine available in a coffee. But Matcha caffeine is much healthier because it is linked to other molecules that complement its effect and make it more tolerable by the body. The Matcha can therefore particularly appreciate the morning on waking as "Expresso Health".
Matcha contains 137 times more antioxidants EGCG (catechins) than other Japanese green teas and a higher Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (OAC) ratio. The ratio is 1384 TE / g compared to the Acai berry with a ratio of 1027 TE / g and blueberries of 24 TE / g.
Another particularity is the large amount of beta-carotene and vitamin A, both of which are particularly important for the eyes but also for the skin, the mucous membranes and the metabolism.
With 10-17 mg iron per 100g, depending on the quality, Matcha is a food that has the highest rate.
The character of a matcha is pronounced largely through its degree of quality. Generally, it is described as having a very refined flavor slightly astringent and bitter with a note of sweetness and a lot of freshness. In the higher quality products, the freshness develops again and the bitterness is significantly lower - which makes it even finer at the tasting.
Matcha: Accelerates metabolism
Matcha – Detox
Grinding the tea leaf allows to release some particular molecules in the tea that are not available (or less) in other teas. The presence of catechins, vitamin and antioxidants (bioavailable) is particularly marked in the form of powder. Compared with the basic benefits of Senchas, Gyokuros and Banchas, Matcha (Tencha) has different properties and effects due to its unique composition. Its effect on general health is inferior to those of Sencha and Gyokuro, but its particular composition has an essential complementary role. According to us, it has a powerful detoxifying effect for the liver. The Matcha should not be seen as a medicine or as better or worse than another tea but actually as complementary. It is usually recommended to taste it 2 to 4 times a week, but in some cases it will be drunk every day. One should not forget the very invigorating effect of its caffeine, it was particularly particularly appreciated in Japan by monks in meditation. The Health Preparation Tips article provides a good overview of the therapeutic applications of this very special tea.
Production of Matcha
Matcha is traditionally made from green tea Tencha, and more rarely from Gyokuro. Only tencha powder can be described as matcha. The other variants of powdered teas are simply called Konacha (粉 茶 literally: tea powder). The production of Tencha is closer to the Gyokuro because it is a tea that is also "shaded" for 3 to 4 weeks before harvest. Like any shade tea, it is richer in caffeine, amino acids and some bitter chemical compounds. At harvest, as for Gyokuro, the most delicate shoots are picked and immediately roasted with water vapor, then dried. You can see article 10 tips for people sensitive to caffeine.
Thereafter, the leaves are sorted in order to remove the stems and buds and retain only the leaves. Unlike Sencha and Gyokuro, leaves are not rolled. The rolling of the leaves has been developed to break the cells and release the ingredients of the plant. The Tencha is spared from this process.
Finally it passes to grinding to the stone of granite. It is a long and meticulous process that reduces the leaves of Tencha into a delicate, extremely fine powder. This traditional process produces only 30g of precious powder per hour, this partly explains the high price of this kings' commodity.
Natsume: Matcha Box
Stockage and Conservation
It seems obvious that a tea powder as fresh and delicate will not keep its effects for very long. The Matcha is consumed fresh. On the market Matcha is found in small opaque and waterproof boxes from 20g to 40g.
The Matcha is very delicate, he does not like the light at all. Care must be taken to keep it as safe as possible. A tea powder that spends only a few hours exposed to light will lose a significant part of its potential.
It is sensitive to temperature too. Beyond 30 ° C the effect is almost as harmful as exposure to light, it alters severely above 25 ° C. It is therefore advisable to keep it in the refrigerator in a package protected from air, light, humidity and generally exposed to no foreign influence. Temperature variations are also bad for Matcha. It is therefore recommended to store it in a waterproof environment of the first use, otherwise it absorbs moisture and ages quickly. At temperatures below 25 ° C the Matcha can also be transported in small portions (for 2 or 3 days) in traditional lacquered pots (Natsume). The Natsumés protect it well from external aggressions. It is often preferable to leave the Matcha in the original manufacturer's boxes, as these are designed to be waterproof and completely block light. These boxes will be stored in the refrigerator.
A good Matcha keeps well for 3 or 4 weeks after opening, which is why it is recommended to consume it quickly. In Japan, the storage of Matcha sealed pots is often done in freezers. Before opening one of these sealed pots, it is desirable to let it "warm up" a good time in the refrigerator because the thermal shock could damage the powder. The Matcha absorbs high moisture at the opening which oxidizes and deteriorates. Matcha: the different qualities are recognized by the color
Different Ranges of Matcha
From the point of view of taste, there are very wide variations between the different types of Matcha. The Matcha high range has more refined shades, a creamy consistency and something nutty. Tea powders themselves exhibit color contrasts according to their quality. The best products offer a bright green color that will produce a Jade color tea. The less good products have darker colors pulling the yellows green. The worst Matchas have brownish hues that will give a much more bitter tea.
From a health point of view, the very high range and medium / high range products are surprisingly similar, as is the case for teas (in sheets). We can quietly opt for the mid-range if the goal is not purely gustative. Lower grades or old products are to be avoided. We think they can be harmful to the body. In terms of flavor, the situation is different. The best qualities are much better than the average and incomparable qualities at the low end.
The lower qualities come from unshaded tea, or tea that is not carefully enough and slowly reduced to powder. As in most cases, we recommend, if possible, to switch to the best matchas, that is, Japanese shade teas such as Tencha Matcha and Gyokuro-Matcha. If you choose a less expensive Matcha it is strongly recommended that they come from neanmus organic farming. Note that from our experience, some organic products may show more bitter flavors. From the purely gustative point of view, the best Matchas are not organic. Yet they present a great degree of purity.
Matcha "Green Jade" source item.rakuten.co.jp
Quality « Ceremony »
Outside Japan, this Matcha quality is hard to find in the trade. It corresponds to the high quality of tea traditionally used during the tea ceremony in Japan. Two types of Matchas stand out. Usucha (薄 茶: black tea) which is liquid and reserved for daily use. And Koicha (濃茶 = potent tea) which is used for the green tea ceremony in Japan. It is softer and sweeter, has a more creamy consistency and is prepared with relatively little water. It is commercially available as Ceremonial Grade, Pinnacle, Competition Grade, Super Premium, Premium, Silver, Gold and Platinum.
This quality is very widespread in Japan and properly dedicated to daily use.
Quality Cuisine (Ingredient Grade)
The Matcha is used in cooking for many recipes: ice cream, drink, chocolate, etc. It provides a powerful and refined flavor so that Matcha can marry with many products. This Matcha is made from stronger leaves and developed in taste. From the point of view of health, this powder is not necessarily bad. But our experiences and the media too often reveal that the agri-food industry does not hesitate to use more than mediocre products. This type of matcha would not be recommended in daily drinks.
It is a tea powder of multiple origin (leaves, twigs, stems, etc.) from tea trees that have not been shaded or partially shaded trees (Kabusécha). The Micro Cha naturally has a slightly different composition from Matcha. Like Matcha, good Micro Chas can also be excellent health supplements.
Matcha traditionnel preparation
The Matcha takes a special role in the preparation of green tea, it is at the center of the tea ceremony. The tea is prepared in a very specific and ritualized way. In this ritual is used the Chasen, the bamboo tea whip. Chasen is soaked in a bowl of warm water to soften its branches. A small amount of powder is poured with the Natsume (bamboo stem that serves as a measuring spoon) into a traditional terracotta bowl. The hot water (extremely high temperature) is poured into the bowl and mixed with Chasen. A detailed guide to the two preparation variants - Usucha (standard, more liquid, sparkling) and Koicha (tea ceremony / special occasions, thick liquid, little or no foam) can be found in the Prepare Matcha article.
Matcha - Recipes
The use of Micro-Cha and Matcha has no limits in the kitchen. There are many recipes for ice cream, latte, cakes, drinks, etc. However, it should be noted here that the health effects of green tea powder apply only when it is fresh, heated above 30 ° C and has not been exposed to sunlight.