What is Matcha ?
Matcha is the finest quality Green Tea from Japan. It is made from stone-ground and powdered green tea leaves and contains very high levels of antioxidants. Matcha literally means “Powdered Tea” and yet it’s a very special type of green tea grown only in Japan. It is a highly-prized, jewel-green powder that is whisked in a bowl with hot water to make a frothy beverage of the same name, or added to other recipes such as lattes, smoothies, savory sauces, or pastries.
Preparation of matcha is the focus of the Japanese tea ceremony, and has a long association with Zen. Matcha is the only form of tea in which the whole leaf is consumed. Because it is made only from top-quality young leaves that are grown, harvested, and prepared with great care, it has a much more beneficial health profile than other green teas. Its flavor and texture are unlike other teas; matcha is a beautiful and richly-flavored beverage.
How to Prepare Green Tea Matcha:
To prepare a traditional bowl of matcha, you will need a chawan (tea bowl), chasen (tea whisk) and a chashaku (bamboo teaspoon). Begin with 2 oz of freshly-drawn cold water, bring to a boil, then allow it to cool to 170° F. Pour 2 chashaku’s worth of matcha into the chawan, then pour the warm water over the tea. Whisk vigorously in a forward-and-backward motion to create a fine foam.
A Bit of History:
Matcha is the hottest tea in town these days. Rather than being steeped like other teas, Matcha green tea leaves are dried and ground up into a fine powder that can be blended into drinks, sweets, and pretty much anything else you want to infuse with a creamy, subtly sweet earthy flavor and calming energy. It may be the only tea you actually eat, but it’s not new—it’s been used for centuries by Buddhist monks and Samurai warriors to prepare for meditation and improve mental clarity thanks to a brain-boosting, stress-reducing combo of amino acid and L-Theanine.
Some even say it takes 10 cups of regular green tea to match the antioxidant power of one matcha serving.
Reasons Matcha Green Tea is Good For You Even if You Are an Athelete
1. Helps to boost performance.
Tea, like many plant-based foods, is a functional food. A functional food contains essential nutrients like carbohydrate, fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Matcha contains catechins (disease-fighting antioxidants) like epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), and studies have shown increases in performance using EGCG caused by an increase in fat use. In one human study, short-term consumption (945 mg over 48 hours) of EGCG has been shown to increase maximal oxygen consumption without changes in cardiac output, hinting a greater ability of muscle to extract oxygen (Richards, 2010).
2. Keeps you alert.
Tea has the ability to act as a stimulant due to naturally occurring caffeine. Caffeine is also a performance enhancer due to its ability to mobilize free fatty acids, improve alertness, and enhance glycogen resynthesis. Combined with other ingredients such as cane sugar and tapioca in our Energy Chews, you get a great tasting energy boost.
3. Reduces stress.
Tea can act as a mood stabilizer. The presence of the amino acid L-theanine works synergistically with caffeine to improve focus.
4. Boosts immunity.
The phytonutrient count in Matcha is unreal, which helps with immune function. Matcha’s phytonutrients have an array of attributes including anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, anti-hypertensive, anti-microbial, neuroprotective, DNA protective (Ho, 2014), cholesterol lowering, and thermogenic or metabolism increasing properties. Furthermore, In one study, an acute dose of green tea catechins (22 mg per kg of body weight) immediately after exercise in Tae Kwon did show improvements in immune function (Lin, 2014). All of these ingredients and nutrients are essential for an athlete to perform at their best.
5. Improves recovery.
Matcha could help you recover after a hard workout. While much has been made about EGCG’s positive effects on performance, studies have also shown that EGCG may have implications for humans in recovery from exercise as well. One in vitro (outside of the body) study has shown that EGCG can help prevent muscle wasting (Mirza, 2014) which can have massive implications when recovering from intense exercise.