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Matcha (pronounced MA-CHA) is a powerhouse tea like no other. It’s unlike tea, in the typical sense, since you aren’t steeping leaves. Rather, matcha is a fine-ground, powdered, high-quality green tea. The green tea leaves are ground into powder. That’s part of what makes matcha green tea so unique: Rather than steeping the leaves in hot water, matcha is ground into a fine powder that is mixed with hot water.
You’re digesting the green tea leaf and, because of that, you’re getting all the great benefits of the tea. More so than if you steeped the tea. It’s even said that matcha green tea contains six times as many antioxidants as goji berries and 60 times as many as spinach.
Bonus: You can cook with matcha green tea. Check out this delicious matcha pancake recipe.
You can call matcha green tea the ultimate super green tea. Matcha has been a preferred tea in Japan for centuries. It’s only recently started become mainstream and popular in the United States, in part to some pretty remarkable health benefits like the 3 below:
1. Energy without the jitters
Matcha tea offers the pick-you-up you’re looking for without the shakes, thanks to a substance in matcha called L-theanine. L-theanine slows down the release of caffeine in the bloodstream. The result? A longer-lasting, jitters-free energy boost for your day.
2. Cancer-fighting benefits
One antioxidant in matcha green tea, catechin, is credited with being a cancer-fighting substance. Matcha’s most powerful catechin – called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) – is believed to be anti-carcinogenic in nature (according to the American Cancer Society).
Although all green teas contain EGCG in varying amounts, a 2011 study published in the Journal of Chromatography A concluded that matcha contains around 137 times more EGCG than the average green tea.
Indeed. Matcha’s antioxidant activity is thought to be higher than the current superfoods, including goji berries, pomegranate, acai, and dark chocolate.
3. May lower LDL cholesterol
A 2009 study in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that matcha green tea protects the liver and kidneys against damage by reducing total cholesterol and triglyceride levels, among other things. Simply put: matcha green tea may be your strongest ally in reducing bad (LDL) cholesterol, helping to prevent future instances of cardiovascular disease.
So, what does matcha taste like?
Not only is matcha tea uniquely healthy for you, but it’s also uniquely flavorful.
Matcha green tea offers a robust, rich mouthful because you’re drinking the tea leaves. Matcha tea is miso-y in its brothiness. The robust flavor is full of umami, the fifth taste — next to sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. It’s a great additional to an active lifestyle.
Sip Tip: Try Matcha green tea after your morning yoga class or run, or before you hit the slopes.