What is matcha, and how is it different from other green teas?
Though a Japanese staple, matcha’s history originates in China. Matcha, like other green teas, comes from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant. Enjoying a resurgence of popularity, matcha is different from other green teas in how it is prepared.
Matcha comes from the Japanese words, matsu, meaning “to rub,” and cha, which is “tea,” and this is exactly how matcha is made. Whereas typical green tea is made by infusing water with the dried leaves, matcha is made by first grinding young tea leaves into a bright green powder, and then whisking it into hot water.
On top of preparation, matcha has a number of other differences to infused green tea. Unlike regular green tea, the tea bushes that produce matcha are shaded from sunlight for almost the entire month just before harvest. This boosts chlorophyll levels and increases amino acids.1
What are the benefits of matcha?
This higher level of amino acids is one of the potential benefits of matcha. Thanks to the harvest process, matcha contains heightened levels of L-theanine. This particular amino acid has been shown to affect brain function, namely our brain’s ability to rest. Though a high source of caffeine, L-theanine influences caffeine’s effect on the body, meaning it may reduce the jittery feeling of caffeine, providing a more relaxed state of alertness.2
Both matcha and green tea are sources of antioxidants, which is accompanied by a number of health benefits. However, as matcha tea utilises the whole leaf, the concentration of antioxidants is much higher. Antioxidants are responsible for fighting free radicals in your body. Free radicals are basically unstable atoms that can damage cells, so it is important to consume antioxidants regularly. One study found that antioxidants in matcha may be 3x higher than in low quality infusion green teas.3
Not only do antioxidants fight off free radicals, but they are heart healthy. Catechins, a type of antioxidant, found in green tea may decrease cholesterol. As high levels of cholesterol can lead to heart disease, it’s important to maintain healthy levels, and the reduction of certain cholesterol types can reduce one’s risk for heart disease.4
Matcha may also aid in weight loss, as it was shown in one study to enhance fat oxidation during exercise. Catechins don’t only promote heart health, but they are also behind the weight loss potential of matcha. Paired with caffeine, catechins can increase energy expenditure and boost fat burning.5
Does matcha have any disadvantages?
Though matcha has a lot of benefits, it is important to note that it does have quite high levels of caffeine. While regular green tea typically contains around 35 mg of caffeine per serving and coffee has around 40 mg of caffeine per serving, matcha packs in 49 mg or more of caffeine into each cup. This is a lot! Even with the potential buzz reduction from L-theanine, many people may still experience the unpleasant jittery effects of caffeine from matcha. Here is where Bliss can help.
Bliss contains powerful herbs which can pacify the nervous system, assist with restoring calm and clarity, and reduce anxiety. Caffeine provokes these negative, hyperstimulated emotions and experiences by increasing cortisol, also known as the stress hormone.6 Ashwagandha, or withania somnifera, helps to reduce cortisol. Thereby, mitigating the negative effects of caffeine, like stress, so you feel calmer. Not only can the powerful adaptogenic herbs, like ashwagandha, in Bliss restore a sense of calm, but they work to provide steady, clean energy throughout the day!
Here is how we recommend enjoying Bliss in your matcha tea.
Blissful Ayurvedic Matcha Tea for One:
- 1 teaspoon matcha powder
- 2 teaspoon sweetener of your choice (Monkfruit, coconut sugar, or maple syrup recommended)
- ¼ teaspoon One Eleven Bliss
- ½ cup hot water
- ½ cup steamed, frothed milk of your choice
- Begin by boiling water and steaming milk separately
- Sift matcha powder into your favourite mug or cup
- Once water is boiled, pour into the mug until it is filled halfway
- Stir in sweetener and ¼ teaspoon One Eleven Bliss
- Froth heated cup of milk and pour in until mug is filled
Does it matter when matcha is drunk?
It’s best to consume matcha after a meal for better digestion and nutrient absorption. Though we recommend drinking matcha with a morning meal, rather than in the evening. As matcha tea may amplify weight loss when drunk just before exercise, it can be beneficial to drink matcha after breakfast and before partaking in a morning exercise routine such as a walk in nature or yoga sequence.