January 17, 2009


Recently I've noticed various reports and stories about Matcha, this inspired me to do some more research on my own into that magic green powder which I so often pour into my Chawan, mix with hot water, and serve to my guests during a Japanese tea ceremony. Matcha obviously has a great history being introduced to Japan by China more than a thousand years ago. At early times green tea was only made from the leaves but after Japanese monks became more interested in this marvelous elixcer, powdered green tea was developed.

Matcha Production:

Matcha is the green powdered tea used during Japanese tea ceremonies. Only the leaves of trees which grew in the shadow are used to make Matcha. After the green tea leaves are harvested they are steamed, dried and then further processed to remove the leave veins, stems and impurities. Resulting in remains of only about 10% of the original harvest, and this is called the "Tencha". The Tencha is then ground to a fine powder (traditionally in a stone mill). It takes about one hour to produce an ounce of Matcha, because grinding any faster would result in a burnt tasting tea.

Matcha Increasing Popularity:
Matcha is becoming increasingly popular in the Japanese and international beverage and food market because of its versatility and health benefits. Matcha's flavour blends well in dairy-based recipes and its powder form makes it easy to work with. Matcha is being used in Matcha ice cream, Matcha cakes, Matcha chocolate, Matcha latte beverages, Matcha Mochi (rice cake) etc. There is no limit to the recipes that Matcha can be added to.

Matcha and Caffeine:
Matcha does contain a small amount of caffeine, but like all green teas also contains L-theanine. L-theanine increases the alpha wave activities in the brain, which creates a feeling of relaxation. L-theanine is associated with increasing the ability to focus and concentrate, but not agitate the nervous system. Researchers believe that this maybe on of the reasons that drinking tea tends to have a calming, refreshing effect, rather than the jittery effects of coffee. Because drinking coffee gives a quick,sudden boost of caffeine which is absorbed quickly unlike caffeine from Matcha which is released over 8 to 10 hours. It has been noted that Buddhist monks frequently drink Matcha, green tea, Oolong tea, etc, and rarely appear agitated or nervous. It could be the L-theanine!

Matcha Health Benefits:
When brewed, the powdered leaf is not strained or left in the pot, but is whisked into a frothy concoction and consumed. Since you are actually ingesting the green tea leaves when you drink Matcha you are receiving the full benefits of all the nutrients and antioxidants in the leaves. According to researches done in Japan, brewed Matcha contains nearly 10 times the polyphenols and antioxidants of regular teas, 2 times the antioxidants of a glass of red wine, approximately 9 times the beta-carotene of spinach, and 4 times that of carrots.Listed below are some of the many health benefits of Matcha green tea.

  • Significantly increases energy (over 8 to 10 hours) without the caffeine "jitters".
  • Improves mental alertness (L-theanine component).
  • Increases calmness and reduces stress (L-theanine component).
  • Boosts metabolic rate by 35-40%.
  • Powerful "Anti-Aging" activity due to the super-charged antioxidants.
  • Lowers blood pressure.
  • Decreases level of LDL or "bad"cholesterol.
  • Minimizes symptoms of PMS.
  • "Super" cancer-fighting and cancer-preventative activity (due to extremely high levels of polyphenols and catechins).
  • Eases constipation due to high level of easily absorb able dietary fiber.
  • Stabilizes blood sugar levels.
  • Powerful anti-biotic and anti-viral activity.
  • Strong blood detoxifier and alkalyzer, due to the high Chlorophyll content.

Matcha Nutritional Chart:

Per 10 grams.
Green Tea
Black Tea
0.3 g
0.02 g
0.06 g
1.0 g
0.07 g
0.03 g
2900 μg
Dietary Fiber
3.9 g
3.1 g
0.2 g
0.2 g
42 mg
3 mg
1 mg
1.7 mg
0.2 mg
270 mg
27 mg
9 mg
Vitamin A
480 μg
Vitamin B1
0.06 mg
Vitamin B2
0.14 mg
0.05 mg
0.02 mg
Vitamin C
6 mg
6 mg
2 mg

Besides this, Matcha also contains: Niacin, Folate, Riboflavin, Thiamin. Trace minerals, Magnesium, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorus. Sodium: 250mg per 10 grams.

With this post I hope more people will try drinking Japanese Matcha from now on. This long list of heath benefits is hard to find in any other vegetable, fruit, or tea. So I guess it's worth giving it a lash.

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