With the growing popularity and hype around matcha and teas, are you curious to learn more about what is it exactly and is it really that great?
We have gathered some of the claimed benefits of matcha and tea for the body along with how to choose the best quality teas for you!
History of Matcha And Tea
Matcha first appeared in the 7th-10th centuries during the Tang Dynasty in China. However, the form of it was not the fine dissolvable powder matcha we have today. Instead, they made tea bricks for easy transportation of tea. It was made by roasting tea leaves and pounding the roasted leaves into a somewhat powdered form and turning it into a brick.
Matcha didn’t become popular until the 10th-13th centuries during the Song Dynasty in China. During this time, a Buddhist monk from Japan named Eisai was studying Zen Buddhism in China and had learned the special matcha tea preparation method. He then brought back the matcha tea seeds to Japan, along with the unique preparation method. He planted the seeds in Kyoto, Japan, and since it was only planted in a small area and not widely available for consumption, it was originally considered a luxurious drink representing a status symbol.
Along with coffee and water, tea is one of the most popular drinks around the world. However, because of its widespread and long history of consumption, it is hard to find the exact original roots of tea. What we do know, is that tea first discovered in China. It was first drank for its health and medicinal properties, but then became more popular during 600-900 AD.
Tea was introduced to other countries worldwide using the newly developed trade systems between countries using ships. An example of this would be the introduction to tea to the United Kingdom during the 17th century. Its popularity created a larger market and high demand for tea and in response, formation of tea markets and farms in other countries emerged.
5 Claimed Health Benefits Of Matcha
Matcha tea’s popularity isn’t just because of its great taste, but also largely due to the health properties it contains. While there is a large amount of health benefits, here are five main claimed benefits of matcha.
1. Helps Your Liver
Drinking matcha can help the health of your liver. According to this 2015 meta analysis, drinking matcha reduces the risk of liver disease.
2. High in Antioxidants
Matcha is high in antioxidants such as Catechins, a type of antioxidant that can help reduce inflammation. In this 2016 study, it was found that consuming matcha helped increasing antioxidants in the body and reduced free radical damage.
3. Lowers Blood Pressure
Matcha is a good way to naturally lower blood pressure. This Time article highlights a research where participants who drank green tea regularly for a few weeks had their blood pressure lowered.
By putting in things like junk food or alcohol into our stomach, we create toxins and matcha can help aid you in detoxifying. This 2015 research shows that the Chlorophyll contained in matcha can help flush away toxins, chemicals, and metals present in the body.
5. Fighting Cancer
One amazing potential health benefit to matcha is its cancer fighting properties. One of the antioxidants it contains is called Catechin, and it's known to prevent cell damage and cancer. This 2001 research article found that matcha decreased tumor cells and slowed cancer growth rates in rats.
5 Claimed Health Benefits of Tea
Along with matcha, tea in all forms, such as green tea, black tea, and oolong tea, contain various health benefits. Here are five potential ways tea can be beneficial to your body.
1. Can Strengthen Your Bones
Drinking tea can help strengthen bones and bone density. In this research done by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was found that those women who drank tea long-term had an increase in bone density compared to those who didn’t drink tea.
2. Might Reduce the Risk of Heart Attack and Stroke
According to this article from Harvard Health Magazine, those who drank tea regularly and in the long term had reduced their risk of heart attack and stroke. Drinking tea also lowers the LDL cholesterol and triglycerides levels, which correlates to less potential for build up in your arteries.
Like matcha, tea in general contains a high amount of antioxidants. These antioxidants can help in fighting cancer, preventing cell damage, and reducing inflammation of the body.
4. Increases Metabolism
Teas also help increase your metabolism and help break down fats. This is because the antioxidants and caffeine it contains work together to help break down fats at a faster rate and increase the body’s energy levels
5. Lowers Stress Hormone Levels
Different types of teas (mostly herbal) can help reduce stress hormone levels in the body. This 2017 study showed that drinking lower caffeinated tea helped its participants reduce their stress levels and sleep better.
What To Look For In Good Matcha Powder
Now that we’ve talked about the claimed health benefits of matcha, how do you know which one to buy and which one is the best matcha powder you can get? Luckily for you, we have all the answers of what to look out for when buying quality matcha!
Since the flavor and health benefits of matcha could be compromised, they should not be exposed to sunlight, air, and extreme temperatures. Because of this, you should look for packaging that is airtight, opaque, and resealable to keep it fresh.
- Tea Grade:
There are three main matcha tea grades that can be found on the market and in turn, the prices are affected by the quality and grade. The highest grade is called ceremonial tea grade and is made from the freshest and youngest leaves on the plant. The second highest is called premium grade. This one is made from the second and third leaves of the tea plant. Lastly is culinary grade and it's mostly used for cooking and baking. It is made from the leaves closest to the bottom of the plant and is coarser in texture and might contain less health benefits.
The color of the matcha you buy is important. It should have a bright, pure green color which indicates that the tea leaves were harvested at the best time and packaged properly. It should not have any brown color, which means it has already oxidized and should not be a dull or light green as it doesn’t contain the same benefits as the bright green matcha.
You should also be aware of the purity of your matcha. Trusted matcha retailers will have the specific origin or region it came from and how the tea leaves were grown right on the bag or packaging. Also, additives or added sweeteners downgrade the matcha blend.
High quality matcha should dissolve completely in warm or hot water. Additionally, it should be a fine and smooth textured powdered and not coarse or gritty.
- Taste and Aroma:
The taste and aroma is also an important part of discerning whether or not matcha is high quality. Those that are stone ground and made with traditional stone mills will be better tasting and higher quality. This is because it preserves the natural taste and sweetness of the matcha. Matcha should not have any harsh bitterness or acidity, but be fragrant, slightly sweet, and smooth.
What To Look For In Good Instant Tea
As mentioned in our previous blog, here are a few ways to find and buy high quality instant tea.
Premium instant tea starts off with the first step of the making process. This includes the tea leaves the instant tea is made of. Those made from quality tea leaves, picked at the optimal time are the best. Additionally, it is good to know what kind of tea leaves are used and what region they were grown in.
Higher quality instant teas will be 100% tea without any added fillers, additives, or artificial sweeteners. Instant tea can be made in various ways, but the best ones are made of dehydrated brewed tea and not filled with crushed tea leaves.
- Taste and Aroma:
The taste and aroma of the instant tea is important. It should taste as good as fresh brewed tea and should not be extremely bitter or acidic in taste. Those instant teas that are dehydrated properly with care will still retain the natural flavors and health benefits of tea.
When Would You Drink Matcha or Tea Powders
Just like quality instant coffee, matcha and tea powders are great for those who enjoy a great beverage without the brewing and steeping waiting time. It is a great option for those with busy day schedules, like college students, that need a midday pick-me-up or for those with no time in the morning to quickly make their morning dose of caffeine. It is also convenient for those who enjoy traveling, hiking, and backpacking since they are lightweight and easy to bring around. They also do not require anything other than water and a cup or travel mug to store the drink!
If You Still Want Instant Coffee
Now, if you still prefer your daily cup of joe rather than tea or matcha, you don’t need to worry because the health benefits of coffee are just as great for your body! Not only is it convenient to take around and make throughout the day, but it also contains caffeine for an energy boost and antioxidants to keep up your immune system. If you prefer coffee as your beverage of choice, try Waka Coffee instant coffee! It is a premium instant coffee made with 100% Arabica beans and freeze dried to preserve the coffee’s natural flavors.