Green tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world, and matcha green tea is a close second. Matcha, powdered green tea, has become increasingly popular in the western world. Matcha lattes and matcha desserts can be found in many hip cafes, and matcha powder is easily accessible in most health food stores. But what exactly is matcha? Where does it come from? And how is it different from regular green tea? Keep reading to find out!
A Brief History of Matcha Tea
Matcha green tea powder is made from finely ground, shade-grown green tea leaves. The leaves are grown under special conditions, and only the tips are harvested. The remaining stems and veins are removed, and the leaves are stone-ground into a fine powder. This powder is whisked with hot water to produce a frothy, bright green beverage.
Matcha tea has been around for centuries. It was first developed in China and later introduced to Japan in the 12th century by a Buddhist monk named Eisai. Matcha quickly became popular among Japanese nobility due to its numerous health benefits. During the Kamakura period (1185-1333), matcha was used as currency! In 1191, Eisai wrote a treatise on Buddhism and Zen entitled “Kissa Yojoki” (Drinking Tea to Remain Young), which helped cement matcha’s reputation as a healthy beverage.
Matcha finally made its way to the west in the 18th century when Dutch traders brought it back from Japan. However, it wasn’t until the 21st century that matcha took off in popularity. Due to its unique flavor and many health benefits, matcha has become a favorite among tea drinkers worldwide.
Japanese Matcha Tea Ritual
The Japanese tea ritual, or “The Way of the Tea,” was created in the 1500s by a student of Zen named Murata Juko. Murata Juko formalized the fragmented pillars of past tea ceremonies into a ritual that included tea cultivation, consumption, and tea ceremony. While Murata Juko formalized Japan’s traditional tea ceremony, Zen Master Sen-no-Rikyu popularized it. Master Sen-no-Rikyu created the four basic principles of The Japanese Tea Ceremony, which are:
- Harmony (wa)
- Respect (kei)
- Purity (sei)
- Tranquility (jaku)
These four basic principles are still followed in many modern Japanese tea ceremonies. In Japan, “The Way of Tea” is a spiritual practice that helps one to find harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility in everyday life.
What are the Health Benefits of Matcha Tea?
Matcha green tea is packed with antioxidants and nutrients that have been shown to boost metabolism, aid in weight loss, prevent diabetes, lower cholesterol, and improve heart health. Matcha also contains L-theanine, an amino acid that has been shown to promote relaxation without causing drowsiness. Unlike coffee, matcha will not leave you feeling jittery or anxious. In fact, many people find that drinking matcha helps them focus and be more productive.
How Does Matcha Compare to Coffee?
While coffee and matcha contain caffeine, they affect your body differently due to their different chemical compositions. The caffeine in coffee is absorbed quickly by your body, resulting in a sudden burst of energy followed by an inevitable crash. The caffeine in matcha is released slower thanks to its inclusion of L-theanine. This means you’ll enjoy sustained energy levels throughout the day without any adverse side effects associated with coffee.
Whether you’re looking for a healthy alternative to coffee or want to try something new, matcha green tea is a great choice! This delicious beverage contains antioxidants and nutrients that offer numerous health benefits. So what are you waiting for? Grab a cup of matcha today!