What’s the Buzz About Matcha?
It’s safe to say that matcha madness is totally a thing right now. In addition to being widely available as a beverage, the nutrient-packed green tea is also popping up as an ingredient in everything from lattes to muffins, and cookies to ice cream. What exactly is this Kermit-colored powder and what’s behind all the hype? Read on to learn more.
Meet your matcha
Matcha is a type of green tea that’s grown in the shade. After the leaves are harvested, they’re steamed and then ground into a powder. Unlike a traditional tea bag, which you steep in hot water and discard, you consume the actual powdered tea leaves when downing a mug of matcha.
Matcha isn’t just any kind of green tea. It contains more caffeine as well as higher concentrations of the amino acid L-theanine than other green teas. One gram of premium grade matcha powder—the daily recommended dose—serves up about 30 mg of caffeine. (An 8-ounce cup of coffee, by comparison, packs about 95 mg.) But unlike the jolt you get with java, the combination of caffeine plus L-theanine delivers a different effect—research shows that it can make you feel alert, yet relaxed at the same time.
In addition, matcha contains much higher concentrations of the antioxidant epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) compared with other types of green tea. The compound may protect against many different diseases including cancer, studies show.
Get your froth on
Want to try the tea? Start by getting some matcha powder, which is widely available in stores and online. To make it, heat water until just before it boils. In a bowl or cup, combine about 1 teaspoon of matcha powder with 6 ounces of the hot water. Using a matcha whisk or electric frother, blend the water and powder together until the matcha becomes frothy. Then it’s ready to drink!