Matcha powder is a type of green tea that is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. The leaves are dried and then ground into a fine powder. Matcha powder has a number of different uses, including in tea, smoothies, and baking.
Matcha powder is a popular ingredient in many recipes, but it can be tricky to work with. There are a few things you should know before you start using matcha powder in your cooking.
This guide will teach you the dos and don’ts of matcha powder, including how to buy, store, and prepare it. You’ll also learn how to tell if matcha powder is of good quality, and what the different uses for matcha powder are.
What is matcha powder?
To put it simply, matcha is powdered green tea. Okay, it’s a bit more than that, but at the root of it all, that’s what you have. It’s most often recognized as the tea used during chanoyu, or Japanese tea ceremony, and has been referred to as “the espresso of tea” because of its caffeine content.
Now, not just any green tea can be powdered and called matcha. Genuine matcha comes from high-quality shade-grown green tea which is steamed, leaf veins and stems removed, and finely chopped.
In this form, the tea is known as tencha and is ready to be ground into matcha powder. Historically, the tencha would be stone milled; today it is most often ground by machines.
The benefits of matcha powder
Matcha is also rich in antioxidant properties and has firm anti-inflammatory properties which can soothe irritated skin. If you suffer from rosacea, acne, or any skin condition that brings irritation, matcha can lend a cooling hand.
Matcha can bring healing to all skin types and for those with oily skin, the tannins in matcha can help regulate sebum production. This study into the effects of green tea and polyphenols on sebum production and acne showcased that there was indeed some evidence that tea polyphenols could be used to treat acne thanks to their sebum reduction properties.
Protects the liver
Some studies have also shown that matcha may be able to help protect your liver. The liver is one of the most essential organs in the body and keeping it in tip-top shape is super important for our overall health and well-being. The liver is responsible for getting rid of toxins and processing nutrients – a pretty important job right?
The study conducted gave 80 people with fatty liver disease (nonalcoholic) 500mg of green tea extract for 90 days. It gave some of the participants a placebo instead.
At the end of the 12 weeks, those who had taken the green tea extract were found to have fewer liver enzyme levels compared to the placebo group. As it’s these enzymes that show liver damage, it seems the green tea had certainly worked its magic.
May Help Prevent Cancer
Matcha is rich in catechins, compounds found naturally in the tea that acts as powerful antioxidants. Matcha has 137 times more catechins than green tea.
Matcha is especially high in a type of catechin called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which has anti-cancer properties. Several test tube studies show EGCG’s effectiveness in preventing skin, liver, and lung cancers.5 Since these were test tube studies, more studies need to be conducted in humans to have conclusive evidence for the effects of EGCG.
We kickstart all the matcha benefits you need with the news that yes, matcha lowers your LDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is also known as bad cholesterol and too much of this can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and other serious health issues that you want to be sure to avoid.
Matcha can sweep away that bad cholesterol by upping your HDL cholesterol levels. HDL cholesterol is also called good cholesterol as it knows how to clear out the junk from your arteries.
Research from 14 trials on the effects of cholesterol and green tea (what matcha is made of) showed that sipping green tea beverages resulted in significant reductions when it came to LDL concentrations in the body. That’s something worth sipping about.
Helps weight loss
Can you lose weight with matcha? Matcha contains EGCg (epigallocatechin gallate), which increases CCK (cholecystokinin), the hormone responsible for making you feel full* (12). Drinking matcha between meals will help you feel full and resist those sneaky snacks that are full of calories.
High in antioxidants
As mentioned, matcha tea comes chock full of antioxidants and holds ten times the amount of normal green tea. Yep, matcha tea is the winner of all superfoods as it comes out on top as having the highest antioxidant rating of all consumables out there.
The ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity) test found that matcha measured in at a staggering 1384 units per gram. This is 125 times higher levels of antioxidants than spinach. Also, matcha has a huge amount of EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) which is great news for those who want to reduce inflammation, fight free radicals, and prevent a whole host of chronic diseases.
This study from Consumer Lab found that brewed matcha tea contained more catechins per gram than the usual brewed green tea. Considering green tea has high numbers of 25-86 mg per serving, you are sure to be stuffing yourself full of goodness with every single sip.
Promotes Heart Health
Studies show that drinking matcha may be cardioprotective and prevent heart disease. One review found that drinking matcha has a positive effect on cholesterol levels, reducing total, LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, and triglycerides.
In combination with a healthy diet and exercise, matcha may help keep your heart healthy.
The dos of matcha powder
How much matcha green tea do we recommend per day?
At PureChimp we recommend you consume 1-2 servings a day of matcha green tea (based on 1g servings/around 1/2 a level teaspoon).
We think 1-2 cups of matcha is more than enough to keep you looking youthful for many years to come.
We advise no more than 5 cups of matcha tea a day to keep within the NHS-recommended daily caffeine limits, but realistically you only need 1-2 servings a day to get all the benefits.
PureChimp Matcha Tea contains 32mg of caffeine per serving.
We also recommend avoiding green tea supplements, as they can contain 200mg-500mg of EGCG per tablet. There is potential for liver damage at 800mg+ per day. Our matcha tea contains 59mg EGCG per 1g serving.
It is best to be safe and stick to regular green tea & matcha tea. They are both natural and as nature intended.
GO WITH THE MAJORITY!
The majority of people tend to consume 1-2 servings of matcha a day, which is the equivalent of around 10-20 cups of regular green tea.
Many of the studies done on the effects of green tea are based on pretty high levels of the stuff – from about 5 to 10 cups daily. This makes a daily dose of matcha the perfect drink for people looking to improve their health.
What time of the day should I drink matcha?
We recommend that matcha is consumed in the morning and early afternoon, due to the caffeine content.
The don’ts of matcha powder
First, you need a bowl (chawan), whisk (chasen), and a small spoon, usually a bamboo scoop (chashaku).
Place a small amount, about 2 – 4 gms of Matcha into the bowl. If the Matcha is clumpy, add it through a fine sieve (strainer or colander).
Add about 2 ounces of hot, (not boiling) water and whisk it to remove all the clumps and achieve a uniform consistency. Make sure no tea remains along the side of the bowl. The result is a frothy liquid which is then enjoyed right out of the bowl.
If you do not possess a Matcha bowl or appropriate accouterments, you can still enjoy Matcha. Just place your Matcha in a cup or mug, add a small amount of water and make it into a paste using a spoon. Add more water, and keep stirring until the Matcha is completely dissolved. Typical measurements would be 1 teaspoon of Matcha to about 6 ounces of water.
Recipes using matcha powder
Store it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Matcha can be refrigerated. Drink it up as it’s not one of those items that get better with time. Use it when it is vibrant and green. Expose it minimally to light, air, and heat as these will degrade the quality of Matcha. Unopened, Matcha has a one-year shelf life. Once opened, optimally use within 6 – 12 weeks.
Recipes using matcha powder
Matcha Granola with Blueberries
On its own, matcha can have an intense, sometimes bitter taste. In this green granola recipe, roasted nuts and juicy blueberries do wonders to tone down its strong green flavor. Plus, serve it up for breakfast and you’ll get that much-needed a.m. caffeine boost.
Chocolate Matcha Butter Cups
Move over, peanut butter cups. Coconut butter and matcha powder combine with a bit of almond flour to create the drool-worthy soft yet slightly chewy center in this rich morsel. Don’t skip out on the matcha-sea salt topping!
Healthy Matcha Green Tea Coconut Fudge
Healthy fudge? Now we’ve seen everything. A combination of cottage cheese and psyllium husk gives this treat a healthy dose of protein and fiber. Coconut butter lends a luscious texture, while shredded coconut, matcha powder, and stevia create a subtly sweet flavor.
Vanilla Matcha Protein Smoothie
Matcha is the ideal addition to a pre-workout shake thanks to its mellow caffeine boost and ability to promote “calm alertness.” This mix has a subtle green tea flavor that’s complemented by the addition of a vanilla bean.
Matcha is rich in antioxidants and offers many potential health benefits. When matcha powder is used for green tea, there can be positive effects on cholesterol, blood pressure, and brain function.
Because of matcha’s caffeine content and potential to interact with medications, talk to your healthcare provider about whether this form of green tea is a good fit for your personal health goals.