Rhian from kenkotea.com.au shared that you may have heard that green tea is healthy for you. Well, what if I told you matcha is an extra potent version of green tea that is made from the exact same plant, but due to its production process, is packed with even more nutrients and health benefits than regular green tea.
Whether you already drink matcha or you’re looking to start, here you’ll learn everything you want to know about the health benefits of matcha.
Type Of Green Tea
Matcha is a type of green tea made from grinding shade-grown tencha leaves into a very fine powder. It’s quite striking to look at due to how bright green it is. While its main use is tea, matcha is used for many things, such as matcha lattes, sweets, and baked goods.
The primary difference between matcha and green tea is that the leaves are shaded for three to four weeks before they’re processed to make matcha. This shading process increases the nutritional content of the leaves. These shaded leaves – tencha – are then ground into matcha green tea powder.
When you prepare matcha powder you ingest the entire tea leaf. So you get 100% of the nutrients of the tea. That’s different to brewed green tea, where the leaves are steeped in water and then discarded. With matcha, the tea powder is mixed into the drink itself, so you get all of the nutrients and more of the benefits from the tea leaf.
That’s why many consider matcha tea to be the healthier, more potent alternative for those who enjoy green tea. While other Japanese teas like sencha, genmaicha and hojicha powder are still very healthy, their nutrient levels are a bit lower than matcha. If you’ve enjoyed green tea before, you’ll likely enjoy matcha tea too. It can even be used as an alternative to coffee and other caffeine-bearing drinks, as we break down near the end of this guide.
Grown under shade
Let’s talk more about the plant that makes matcha tea possible. That’d be the Camellia sinensis plant, whose leaves and buds are used to produce tea of all kinds. White tea, yellow tea, dark and black tea, oolong tea, and of course green tea, all come from the same plant species.
To produce matcha, the leaves of the plant are kept under shade for 20 days before the harvest. This limits the growth of the plant and causes a build-up of chlorophyll levels in the parts of the plant that are used to make tea. This triggers an increased production of amino acids, mainly theanine, which we cover in more detail later.