Matcha is becoming super popular. It’s no longer just limited to your lattes and teas, you can find it in protein bars, energy bites, smoothies and more making it easier to enjoy all the benefits from this green superfood. I’m big fan of matcha not only for the health benefits but I love the earthy taste of matcha. My favorite way to enjoy matcha is in the form of a latte. By using almond or coconut milk I find the bitterness fades into a subtle sweetness. Since $5 lattes at the coffee shop aren’t really in my budget I’ve come up with my own deliciously creamy version for home. I actually think it’s better than the coffee shops and best of all and I can enjoy this warm drink as I sit in my comfy pants and slippers and slowly sip with a book in hand – its the perfect cozy situation.
Not only is matcha powder a beautiful vibrant green it boasts of an impressive list of nutrients and health benefits to go along with it. Such as, antioxidants, increased mental clarity, improved cognition, liver and heart benefits to name a few. So lets take a closer look as to why matcha is so stellar.
Why Drink Matcha
Well, besides it’s beautifully green color and earthy taste, matcha is considered a superfood. This green powder is an antioxidant powerhouse! You might be familiar with regular green tea and know that green tea is good for you because of all those antioxidants. Well similarly, matcha has antioxidants but on steroids. One serving of matcha has as many antioxidants as 10 cups of regular green tea! Essentially Matcha is green tea powder but harvested and processed differently. The matcha leaves are specially harvested and then the whole leaves are ground making it more concentrated then just brewed green tea leaves.
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are your body’s defense agents to fight toxins from pollution, chemicals, and radiation that we are constantly exposed to day to day. In particular, a potent antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate (say that 10 times fast!) abbreviated EGCG is found to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory activity and matcha contains this powerful antioxidant.
A lot of what we know at about matcha is because powerful antioxidants found in green tea and blueberries for example have been studied for years and matcha contains these same antioxidants but at an even higher potency.
While matcha has become a trendy drink, I think it’s important to understand some key benefits to have a better purpose for incorporating matcha into your diet. Matcha can enhance an already healthy lifestyle but don’t expect this to cure disease, although those claims may exist there are no scientific studies to prove this. Think of matcha more as a dietary supplement to compliment already healthy habits. Benefits of matcha may help restore your bodies integral well-being and bring harmonious balance. Meaning it may help decrease stress, bring calmness and focus and may enhance brain function and memory.
Matcha itself has limited research but because matcha contains similar antioxidants to green tea studies do exist showing green tea may improve heart health, liver function and mental health. But remember one single health food is not a fix-all. Eating a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables and healthy fats is key to maximize the potential of matcha.
While matcha does have a lot of health benefits it may not be for everyone. Matcha has its own distinctive flavor, slightly grassy, earthy tasting, somewhat bitter followed by a lingering sweetness. Some people find matcha too bitter however adding matcha to foods and beverages helps to minimize it’s pungent flavor. I really enjoy using matcha in the form of a latte. I find using almond milk offers a nutty sweetness that balances out the matcha perfectly. Equally delicious you can use coconut milk which has a creamy sweetness that really made the matcha latte a silky dream. So either almond or coconut milk you can’t go wrong with!
Also, matcha contains caffeine but has a slow release compared to other caffeinated drinks like coffee. Matcha has a lot less caffeine than coffee, only 30 mg/teaspoon compared to 150 mg per 8 ounce cup coffee.
Tips For The Perfect Matcha:
Purchase only the organic communal grad matcha: this ensures the highest quality process and pure matcha. Other forms may be a blend and may not contain the same benefits. I use Jade Leaf Matcha, as seen in the photo above. This is a high quality organic communal matcha that has a great taste.
Some low grade matcha brands may appear dull or dark. A good quality matcha should be bright green.
If you plan on making matcha lattes regularly, I would recommend investing in a Japanese bamboo whisk, I have Helen’s Asian Kitchen Bamboo whisk. It is delicate whisk made specifically for matcha to perfectly smooth and blend matcha. You can use a standard whisk but make sure you blend the matcha well so there are no lumps.
How To Use Matcha
Preparing matcha is simple. I usually prepare the dairy-free milk in a small saucepan while I get my matcha ready. I put 1/2-1 tsp matcha in a mug and add 2 tbsp or so of hot water and whisk in a “z” pattern with my bamboo whisk until the matcha is smooth, lump free and frothy. Then once your milk is heated add to your mug and stir.
If a matcha latte isn’t your thing, there are several other ways to incorporate it into your diet so you can unlock the benefits. Try adding a teaspoon into your smoothie or try my recipe for Matcha Energy Bites which has a subtle matcha flavor but you reap all the healthy benefits of matcha!
Let me know if you enjoyed this post below and if you make this delicious drink please tag #platefulnutrition, I’d love to see your creations!