The matcha latte is popping up on the menu of all the coolest cafés, but what exactly is this green beverage, and is it good for you? Our resident Nutritionist and GoodnessMe Box Health Editor Melissa Fine answers all your questions about matcha.
What is Matcha?
A unique green tea produced by the artisanal tea growers of Japan, matcha is traditionally served as a ceremonial beverage. Not just a cup of green tea, matcha contains up to 137 times the antioxidant content of your regular green tea.
What’s the Difference Between Matcha and Regular Green Tea?
While your typical green tea leaves are steeped in hot water and then discarded, matcha is made with the whole tea leaf. Good quality matcha is steamed to prevent oxidation and then naturally air-dried and stone-ground into a fine, almost lime-green powder.
What Does Matcha Taste Like?
Unlike your regular green tea, matcha isn’t astringent or bitter. Instead, matcha is much smoother on the palate, with a nice balance of sweet and savoury flavours and aromas.
Be cautious of matcha lattes and frappes from commercial coffee joints though – they can be made with ‘matcha’ syrup, which is laden with refined sugar and artificial colours and flavours.
You’ll find more legit matcha at the health food store and health conscious cafes. In a premium-grade organic matcha, only the youngest, greenest and most delicate leaves are used. This ensures no bitterness is left behind and that the vibrant colour of the matcha is retained (no one wants a dirt-green matcha).
Does Matcha Contain Caffeine?
Yes, but about half the amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee… Great for a gentler pick-me-up, without the coffee-jitters, and a nice substitute for your second or third coffee of the day.
How Do I Make a Matcha Latte?
Simply mix a flat teaspoon of matcha powder with boiled water, allow the water to cool a bit before mixing the matcha, so that the nutrients aren’t destroyed by the heat. Top with your favourite frothed milk and voila! If you’d like a little sweetness, sweeten to taste with ½ to 1 teaspoon of raw honey, or 1-2 drops stevia for a sugar-free option.
What are the Health Benefits of Matcha?
There are many, to name a few:
- Matcha is rich in L-theanine, an amino acid which can encourage relaxation and mental calm and clarity.
- It’s also a good source of chlorophyll – a green plant pigment traditionally used as a detoxifier and internal cleanser.
- A strong antioxidant, matcha works to fight cell-damaging free radicals in the body.