The Matcha Tea You Didn’t Know About

For the occasional tea drinker, there are only four types of tea: white, green, oolong (wu long) and black. Fairly correct. What is unknown to most is that these are only the basic types of tea and there are several other varieties that hold equal amount of health benefits as the popular four.

Or maybe more.

Introducing the Matcha Tea. Matcha is a Japanese term which literally means “powdered tea”. It originated from Japan and often used in royal tea ceremonies. Not your typical tea, eh? Matcha is a special type of green tea powder where the whole leaf is consumed unlike other teas that only produce the brew after soaking the loose leaves in boiling water. Therefore, you take maximum advantage of the health elements present in the plant.

When you drink matcha tea, you are ingesting tons of rich nutrients into your body because you are consuming the whole leaf and not just the brewed water. Antioxidants, fiber and chlorophyll are some of the nutritional elements present in matcha which, upon intake, can do wonders for your health. It is a sugar-free drink ideal for diabetics and making matcha tea drinkers less likely to have high blood sugar levels. Not to mention the amount of antioxidants that cleanses the body of toxic build-up. Other vitamins present in matcha are vitamins A, B6, B-complex, C, E, K, niacin, folate, riboflavin, thiamin and minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium and the list goes on.

Matcha green tea powder may very well be the finest grade of tea in the world, but don’t get too excited as it is hard to find the highest grade of matcha outside Japan. Other countries simply do not provide a conducive environment to grow such high-quality products. However, don’t be dismayed as available matcha tea made locally is still quite excellent.

If you are now ready to take your first taste of matcha tea, let us help you decide on how to buy the matcha that suits you.

Most good matcha never leave Japan, so you need to be very careful and meticulous in choosing the right product. There are two basic types of matcha tea: The Usucha or Thin Tea and Koicha or Thick Tea. Usucha are tea plants that are less than 15 years old and it has a stonger and more bitter taste than koicha. Being the most common variety of matcha tea, usucha is mostly recommended to new matcha tea drinkers.

Koicha comes from shaded young leaves of tea plants that are at least 30 years old. This type of matcha tea is finer and more expensive. It has a distinctive sweeter and mellower taste. In tea ceremonies, koicha is prepared with less water than usucha.

Purchasing your first matcha tea can be a little tricky if you don’t know the basics. Here are some tips that might help:

– Examine the color. Greener tea means higher quality;

– Select the powder that has been stoneground because this process allows the tea leaf to retain most of its antioxidants;

– Find a way to verify if the tea is grown and processed in Japan because that’s where all the finest matcha teas originate; and

– Try to determine the part of the tea plant used as some tea makers tend to mix other parts of the plants such as the stem and leaves which brings out a more intense taste.

Now, you’re all set to start on a new matcha tea regimen. Go buy your first matcha and prepare your first cup. Take a sip and enjoy its health-giving benefits that can last a lifetime.

Alicia D. Walker

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