Get to know matcha if you don’t already, and let me show you just what this amazing superfood can do!
What is Matcha and Where Does it Come From?
Matcha is a green tea popular that originated in Japan, where it still used as a popular medicinal and traditional practice. Matcha isn’t your average cup of green tea though. It’s especially rich in chlorophyll since it never goes through heat during processing. It is made from the same plant as processed green tea, yet is treated completely differently.
Matcha is grown in the shade and exposed to less heat than other types of tea. It’s also richer in chlorophyll than most vegetables or greens because it retains more vitamins and minerals. Matcha also offers a higher dose of the well-known compound found in green tea known as EGCG, which is a catechin that not only fights aging but also a metabolic syndrome.
What Does Matcha Taste Like?
Matcha is one of my very favorite ingredients to use in a smoothie, or in a warm cup of almond milk due to its unique taste. It has a buttery, slightly earthy, and mildly sweet taste that is incredibly calming and balancing.
Why Use Matcha?
Matcha is also higher in antioxidants than acai, goji, or any other super berry out there (except for maqui). Matcha contains roughly 40,000 ORAC values, just in one teaspoon!
It is extremely high in the amino acid known as L-theanine, which is a wonderful amino acid to aid in calming the body and reducing stress. Matcha is also the perfect remedy to balance out your adrenals after they are exhausted from stress, too much chocolate, too much caffeine, lack of sleep, or too much sugar.
Here are 10 Fast Health Facts About Matcha:
- It is a potent detoxifier, with more chlorophyll than wheatgrass or any green vegetable that exists.
- Has been proven to increase metabolism by 30-40% with just two cups a day, compared to regular green tea that only boosts metabolism 4% with 4 cups a day.
- Is a raw food, higher in enzymes, vitamins, and minerals than blueberries, spinach, goji berries or spirulina.
- Has no sugar or fat, but is a good source of fiber with 3 grams per teaspoon.
- Contains muscle-building amino acids that help the body recover after exercise or act as a pre-workout aid.
- Contains a very gentle dose of caffeine that is non-stimulating, yet energizing and balancing.
- Reduces headaches, joint pain, poor digestion, anxiety, and restores a slow metabolism.
- Is an anti-carcinogen, which reduces cancer risks and acts as an internal buffer for an acidic lifestyle.
- Is a powerful anti-aging food due to the high anti-oxidant content. Matcha reduces oxidation in the body dramatically, which leads to more energy, fewer wrinkles, a healthier heart, and a healthier mind.
- Lowers LDL cholesterol, which leads to an increase in heart disease risks, diabetes, weight gain, and high blood pressure.
What Kind of Matcha is Best?
When it comes to buying matcha, you best BUY matcha. Don’t buy the cheap stuff, because it’s likely low in antioxidants, and very muddy tasting. Not good!
You should optimally buy a matcha tea that says ” 100% Japanese green tea” on the label. It shouldn’t originate from China (which is a cheaper, possibly contaminated form of green tea), should not have any additives such as sweeteners or stabilizers, and should not say simply “green tea” on the ingredient list.
Further Tips for What to Look For in Matcha:
- Pure matcha will say “100% Japanese green tea”, and it will either be ceremonial grade (the best kind), or culinary grade (which is almost just as good).
- Ceremonial grade tea means that it is a type of matcha used in traditional practices in Japan where matcha is steeped in a hot bowl of water, and slowly whisked to create a foamy drink.
- Matcha should never be boiled as it harms the antioxidant content, therefore, this is how the whisk method was created. Ceremonial grade matcha tea is seen to be the most elite form since it is used by traditionalist in
- Japan, the however culinary grade will do fine in a pinch.
- Culinary grade is a bit sweeter (which I prefer), with no sugar, and can be used in multiple ways. It contains roughly the same antioxidant content but just doesn’t whisk in the same form or fashion. It’s also just a bit cheaper for the amount, while still being pure grade if you buy the good stuff.
What I Look For When I Buy Matcha:
I’ve bought almost ten types of matcha over the last two years. Some generic brands that claimed to be pure matcha were SO disappointing. I learned you get what you pay for with matcha.
You’ll know you have good matcha if the color is a bright, spring green, almost lime color.
Cheap, low-grade matcha will be a ruddy, slightly brownish-green color, which is NOT what you want.
The smell should be earthy and buttery, not have a harsh, stinky odor.
Many people love DO Matcha green tea. I’ve heard it’s the best and while I’m sure it’s true, I don’t have $38 to spend on 2 ounces, so I’ll probably never know.
I’ve been using two types the last two years, which both last me exactly three months a piece. I only use 1/2 teaspoon per day instead of 1 teaspoon, so I still get the benefits but make it last longer.
My Favorite Matcha Brands (budget friendly):
1. The Tao of Tea, Liquid Jade Powdered Matcha Green Tea, Loose Leaf, 3-Ounce Tin
This is my go-to brand and is $18-$20, which lasts around three months. It’s ceremonial grade, organic, and delicious. You could easily use this as a superfood powder replacement since it is so much higher in antioxidants and chlorophyll. When you look at it that way, it’s a bit cheaper than many superfood powders with fewer servings needed.
2.SerendipiTea Matcha Culinary Grade, Organic Green Tea, 4-Ounce Box
This brand is what I have right now, as I read a couple of reviews and liked what I read. I like this brand too, and you get 1 ounce more in this brand than you do the Tao of Tea brand. It’s a culinary grade, but to me, I feel like I’m getting the same benefits as I do from the Tao of Tea brand above. I also like the taste, which is identical to the Tao of Tea brand in my opinion, and almost identical in color.
How to Choose:
There are absolutely a ton of matcha products on the market today. It’s easy to get duped, so do your homework before you buy anything! I’ll include some resources below to help you find out more about matcha and the best brands out there.
How You Can Use Matcha:
The possibilities for this superfood are endless. You can use it in hot tea, which is traditionally how it’s used, but I like to get creative with matcha since it’s a superfood much more worthy to be used in something with a bit more.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- warm tea
- stirred into a cup of warm almond milk
- stirred into oatmeal with vanilla and cinnamon (if you’re brave and up for new things!)
- added to a smoothie (my daily choice)
- added to raw energy bites or bars
- bake with it (though that eliminates all the benefits but would add a beautiful green hue)
- as a natural food dye for icing or anything else you like
- mixed with coconut butter to make green tea coconut fudge
- stirred into Greek yogurt (great for holiday recipes!)
- sprinkled on top of a smoothie (another top choice for me)
- mixed with kefir or almond milk right before a workout for an energizing boost
- as a replacement for coffee
My Favorite Matcha Recipe:
I’ve had quite a few recipes I’ve never posted with matcha that I’ll be sharing with you over the course of the next couple of months, but until then, I’d like to share my top favorite with you so far AND give you a new one!
During my earlier blogging days, I created a smoothie recipe with matcha that is one of the most popular posts that still gets more views than most all my other smoothies.
It’s my Maca Matcha Magic Green Smoothie (say that five times fast:)
It’s a straightforward recipe, and is hands down the most energizing, calming and relaxing smoothie you’ll ever have (until today’s updated version below!)
This smoothie is great to have after a workout to replenish muscle cells and act as an anti-inflammatory or first thing in the morning to energize you and calm you from those morning jitters! (Hey, you know you get them too, right?) Plus, my Maca Matcha Magic Green Smoothie features maca and hemp, two of my other top superfoods!
I am posting a newer version of the recipe below to upgrade it a bit more and use ingredients I use more often now. We’ll call this smoothie Version 2 for its extra boost of superfood power. Enjoy!
Serves: 1 large (32 ounces) or 2 small (16 ounces) servings
- 1 cup of cold water
- 1 cup of So Delicious Culinary Coconut Milk ( I used Lite)
- One head of romaine lettuce, core removed
- One tablespoon of maca powder (this one tastes the best)
- 1/2 teaspoon of organic matcha powder (see above for my favorite brands)
- One stalk of celery
- 1/2 a cucumber
- Ten cubes of ice
- Five full drops of vanilla stevia (such as NuNaturals alcohol-free)
- One scoop of Sunwarrior Warrior Blend protein powder (vanilla flavor) or Vega One French Vanilla Meal
- Replacement or Vanilla Protein Smoothie Mix
- Optional: cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, chia, cacao nibs, bee pollen and Raw Green Superfood Smoothie
- Mix (a must-have for the ultimate superfood boost!)
1. Insert all the ingredients in your blender in the order listed and enjoy an excellent breakfast, or a filling afternoon treat!
*Note* You could efficiently use this as a meal replacement or a wonderful post-workout replenishment aid.
Don’t live your life without a little bit of color, excitement, and superfoods like these. Life is short, so give yours a boost!:)
I love this smoothie so much I decided to enter this recipe into this year’s So Delicious Dairy Free Spring Fling Dairy-Free Recipe Contest, which you can learn more about here. I have come to love the So Delicious culinary coconut milk products this last year because they are sugar-free and carrageenan free while being super thick and creamy!
The So Delicious culinary milk gives this smoothie more of a milkshake feel for little calories, no sugar, and plenty of healthy fats from the fantastic superfood coconut. You can learn more about this product over at the So Delicious.