Matcha matcha man

matcha matcha manI’m sorry, but every time I hear the word matcha, the Village People just pop into my head!

I’ve been on a tea kick for a while. It’s been more intense since I gave up drinking coffee – to the point where I had to cave in and salvage my budget by opening a wholesale account with Steeped Tea.

My love of this green goodness, however, came from a trip to Starbucks. The first time I tried their green tea frappucino (or GTF), I started on a quest to reproduce that cup of GTF yumminess, without the humongous price tag.

That led me to a Google search, and I ultimately purchased my matcha powder directly from Japan. I couldn’t believe how much further my dollar stretched, even with factoring in the shipping cost! Each GTF only used a 1/4 teaspoon of the amazing green powder, and when made into a smoothie with ice, a touch of agave, and (I use coconut) milk, there really wasn’t much difference between the Starbucks version and my own. I did learn, however, that Starbucks increases the level of crackiness by adding a dash of melon sryup.

Well, imagine my surprise when the first flavored matcha sold by Steeped Tea was Melon Ball Matcha! All my hopes and dreams manifested in one tiny teaspoon.

But, let’s step back.

What is matcha, and why is it so good for you? Click To Tweet

The matcha, the myth, the legend …

japanese tea ceremony with matcha

“Kanō Osanobu 71 utaiawase” by 狩野養信・雅信 模写Copied by Kanō Osanobu and Kanō Masanobu.The original work, which was also copied, was made in 1632. – 東京国立博物館 蔵. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Matcha is a Japanese green tea used in tea ceremonies.

In the huge shift toward natural nutrition that is occurring world-wide, antioxidants have become a key player. Matcha is known for it’s high antioxidant content.

Why is matcha different from regular green tea?

Tea, usually, is prepared by steeping tea leaves in hot water. Matcha is prepared differently, because the tea leaves are ground into a fine powder. This powder is then dissolved in hot water, which means you’re consuming the whole leaf, rather than what is released from the leaf during the steeping process. More of the tea’s nutrients are entering your body, and not being left behind in the tea strainer.

EGCG

Antioxidants are nutrients that slow oxidative damage to our bodies. Free radicals are a natural by-product of the oxygen used by the cells in the body.  These free radicals cause damage that results in health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and many more. Antioxidants act as scavengers, eliminating these free radicals which, in turn, lowers the risk of damage.

Matcha is a great source of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is a powerful antioxidant, said to have numerous health benefits. Tests have shown that EGCG slows the growth of some cancers, improves the skin, aids in joint health, and much more.

The American Cancer Society has also reported on the benefits of EGCG.

EGCG is only found in tea. It is present in green and white tea, in black tea (in smaller amounts) and more so in matcha – 1 gram of matcha contains about 60mg of EGCG, and has an ORAC rating of about 1300.

Try these recipes!

Get your free radicals flowing with these really cool recipes:

photo credit: Matcha powder in bottom of matcha bowl via photopin (license)