Mad for Matcha

Despite its highly touted antioxidant count, I was never on board the green tea train. I never liked its grassy taste, and, besides why drink caffeinated beverages if there is so little caffeine that you don’t feel its effect at all? My whole attitude towards green tea turned around when I tried a matcha latte. Frothy and delicious with a powerful kick of energy, one cup of matcha made me a green tea convert.

As opposed to steeping your tea leaves, Matcha is made from blending the finely ground tea leaves into hot water to make a beautiful, vibrantly green, chlorophyll-rich beverage. Add steamed milk (dairy, almond, cashew or coconut) and you have a delectable hot beverage that is energizing and calming at the same time.

Of course there is a beautiful Japanese matcha tea ritual which involves special bowls and bamboo whisks, but I do just fine making my matcha in a cup with my trusty battery-powered milk-frother from IKEA (instructions below).

Why I love Matcha:

It’s a Great Pick-Me-Up:

Because the caffeine content is so low, a cup of green tea is rarely a realistic substitute for that morning cup of joe. Matcha, however does offer a significant dose of caffeine -- 40 to 70mg depending upon type and amount used. A cup of Matcha provides a jolt of energy that lasts longer than the typical coffee buzz. Without the jitteriness or irritability that coffee can impart, Matcha’s sustainable energy is smooth and consistent.

It Improves My Mood:

With generous amounts of the amino acid L-Theanine, matcha can put you in a good mood. Because it is grown in the shade, matcha contains up to 5 times more of the calming neurotransmitter L-Theanine than regular green tea. L-Theanine activates the brain’s alpha waves, resulting in a feeling of calmness; combined with matcha’s caffeine content, the drink offers sustained calm alertness.

It Fights Cancer:

Catechins are powerful antioxidant compounds found in green tea; a specific type of catechin, EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) comprises 60% of the catechins in Matcha. EGCG is recognized for its cancer-fighting properties as they have been found to offer beneficial protection against some types of cancer growth, including breast cancer.

It’s Chock-full of Antioxidants:

Rich in the EGCG antioxidant, which helps to prevent cell degeneration and premature aging, one cup of matcha has the antioxidant equivalent of 10 cups of regular green tea.

It Boosts My Metabolism:

Boosting your body's ability to burn fat, consuming matcha regularly improves the body’s ability to utilize energy, according to a study by the American Society of Clinical Nutrition; the research showed that the daily energy expenditure rate of adults increases 35-45% with regular consumption of matcha.

How to Make a Matcha Latte:

Although traditionally made with a bamboo whisk, I use a regular whisk or an IKEA milk-frother for frothing both the tea and the milk. To source quality matcha, you can visit your local tea shop or order an organic blend from Amazon.

  1. Heat ½ cup of water to just under boiling
  2. Pour hot water over 1 teaspoon of matcha in a large bowl or cup and whisk to dissolve the powder.
  3. Heat ½ cup whole milk or almond or cashew milk and froth with a milk frother (adjust the milk-to-water proportions to suit your tastes)
  4. Pour the matcha into the steamed milk
  5. Add 1 teaspoon of honey or a small amount of stevia, to taste