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I have been in and out of the health and wellness industry for nine years now. So it is safe to say that for me, I was really late to this matcha trend. Especially since I saw the hints of it coming nine years ago. I finally hopped on board a couple months ago, and now I need to get you on board too because we have seriously been missing out.
I don’t know why it took me so long to try it. I honestly think I was just intimidated.
“I have to mix it a certain way?” “I have to heat the water to a particular temperature?” “If I don’t do it right, it will taste like dirt??” “Some brands are terrible, and some are amazing? How do I know which is which!?”
I was intimidated. I didn’t want to try it and hate it, I didn’t want to fail at making tea. I would be the only one who knew, but that was besides the point.
Cut to a few months ago when I was designing my new detox program. I wanted to find the best replacement for coffee. I also was searching for the best detox teas. Wouldn’t you know it, I found one tea that was great for both results. Matcha Tea.
I couldn’t see any way around trying it. The benefits are documented all over the internet. It is exactly what I was looking for, both as a detoxing drink and as a coffee replacement. So I clearly had to include it in the detox plan, and there is no way I can recommend something I haven’t tried myself.
So I jumped in. I bought a traditional bamboo matcha wisk and scoop from Amazon and set out researching brands. I was happy (but not surprised) to find that one of the brands I love, The Republic of Tea, was incredibly well rated for their matcha tea.
While researching I found that it is important to get 100% ground Japanese tea. Green tea easily attracts lead and other heavy metals and toxins from the earth. Japan has the highest standards on how it’s grown, but for added protection grab the organic option. If it’s from an organic field you won’t have the concern of pesticides and other toxins at all.
Brand is also important, because some are more bitter than others. A good quality matcha has been grown correctly; shaded long enough to increase the chlorophyll content (which gives the tea it’s sweetness), and has been harvested correctly; having had all of the leaves de-stemmed before being ground.
Now for the important parts; all of the benefits of matcha, and what I actually thought.
Benefits of Matcha Tea
The benefits of matcha seem to be too good to be true, however, many of these benefits have been studied for decades now. Some even for centuries in Japan.
A cup of matcha has about half the caffeine as a cup of coffee, but the effects of the caffeine last longer than a cup of coffee.
That is because of the type of antioxidants found in matcha, which bind to the caffeine molecules. As the catechins (antioxidants) slowly break down, the caffeine is released. This can provide sustained energy for 6-8 hours.
Matcha is super loaded with antioxidants.
You know how they say green tea has antioxidants? (If you didn’t, now you do) Well, if you aren’t up on all of this stuff (I get it, because there is so much stuff) antioxidants fight free radicals and free radicals cause cell damage. Since matcha tea is the whole leaves ground up into a powder, you are getting all of the benefits from that tea leaf instead of just what happens to brew out into the water. Therefore, more antioxidants. Also, more of all of these other wonderful benefits.
It has Chlorophyll which binds to heavy metals in your system and naturally cleanses them from the body.
This is also what gives it the bright green color and keeps it from being bitter. Along with Chlorophyll, matcha is also rich in fiber and vitamins, including vitamin C. So, adding a cup of matcha tea to your daily routine can help with detoxing even when you are not on a detox program.
Matcha helps to calm the mind and relax the body
while also enhancing mood and concentration, thanks to the amino acid L-Theanine. (Here is a great article explaining what L-Theanine and what it does to the body) L-Theanine was first identified by scientists in Japan in 1949. The benefits were unmatched, and eventually a synthetic Theanine was created. It can now be easily found by itself on the shelves of your local Whole Foods. However, as with anything else, the natural and whole form will always be a better choice for your body.
Lastly, matcha also contains minerals such as selenium, chromium, zinc & magnesium, and may help lower blood sugar and cholesterol.
While all green tea will have some of these benefits, you would have to drink 10 cups per day to equal what you would get from one cup of matcha.
What I Thought of the Matcha Tea
Clearly after reading all of these benefits, I could hardly wait to try it. As a work-at-home blogger and content creator, I need all the concentration I can get. Working at home is no joke, it is easy to find yourself unmotivated and off-track. Concentration sounds like just what I needed. Add in the sustained release caffeine, and I knew I would be able to really up my game.
The first cup I had was not my favorite drink ever. It was a very different taste than I was expecting. Looking back, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t a fan because I was expecting something different. Have you even taken a sip of iced tea thinking it was going to be cola or vice versa? It was like that. I’m not even really sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t that. The second cup I had though, was way more enjoyable.
Matcha tea has an umami taste, (as opposed to bitter, sweet, sour, etc.) which is not to say that it can’t lean towards having a bitterness or a sweetness to it. Umami is, as I’ve best heard it described by breakawaymatcha.com, a meaty brothiness. It has a bit of a savoriness to it. Similar to that of a portabella mushroom. I don’t mean to say that matcha tastes like mushroom tea, but they have the same flavor profiles. In the way that a chocolate cupcake and honey are both sweet.
By the time I reached my 4th and 5th cups, I was pretty much in love.
Obviously some of the benefits I listed above are not things I am able to tell just by how I feel. I have no idea if my cholesterol or blood sugar has been affected, I didn’t have problems with those things to begin with.
My moods and concentration though? Absolutely affected. Mornings are a super-productive time for me now, and I have actually been putting out about 3x the amount of content that I was a few months ago, before I started drinking matcha. Could some of that be in my head? Yes. Could all of it be in my head? No.
Also, I have all but stopped drinking coffee. I used to drink 4-6 cups a day. That was average and not even an exaggeration. Some days I could make it to 8 cups. Not only did I cut out the coffee, I didn’t replace it 1:1 with the matcha. I drink 1-2 cups of matcha a day, and the 2 is much more occassional than the 6 cups of coffee was.
One of the things I didn’t expect, is that when I have matcha I tend to choose healthier snacks. Coffee always made me want dessert. Let’s be honest, coffee pairs really well with sweets. Matcha makes me want fresh vegetables and nuts. (Unsalted nuts at that, but that’s always been a personal preference.) I don’t know that this is a universal feeling, I sure haven’t read anything about others feeling the same way, but it was a big bonus for me.
To address the way you make it; it is not as difficult as most websites made me feel it was. I personally got the bamboo wisk and love it, but it’s not super necessary. Try using a fork, and I bet it would work almost as well. It does not need to be super-frothy to be delicious, although it is a good way to tell if it’s been mixed enough.
The best directions I’ve found were here on theteaspot.com. The biggest difference from other sites being that they recommend mixing the powder with a splash of cold water before pouring in the hot water. This allows the matcha powder to mix easier with the hot water. I will say though, I have done it with and without this step and it still works, I just find it to blend more smoothly with the cold water step.
I am so happy I came around and tried matcha. It has not only improved my mornings, my productivity and my snack habits, but I actually enjoy the occasional cup of coffee again. I had come to a point with coffee that I felt I needed it, and I was drinking so much of it that I rarely enjoyed it. Matcha has given me both a new drink to love and a renewed appreciation of another drink I love.
Interested in knowing first when I launch my new detox program to the public? Hop on the list here.
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