Furthermore, Organic Matcha provides a high amount of Antioxidants and other nutrients, while it is void of any pesticides or herbicides, or any petrochemicals used in the protection of the plant against Mother Nature.
Therefore, it makes perfect sense to drink Matcha Green tea Regularly or to use it in recipes. The point is to be adventurous.
Want some ideas to start with, look for articles from my Newsletter Summer Edition 2015 - The newsletter is packed with delicious and original recipes.
Please, read below a very interesting and somewhat instructive extract from an article published in the Daily Mail:
“One coffee addict travels to Japan to attempt the challenge”
· Matcha provides 34mg of caffeine – but its effect lasts longer than a coffee's 60mg
· Matcha contains higher levels of antioxidants per gram than Goji berries, dark chocolate, pecans, Açaì berries and even spinach
I stare into my bowl of warm, frothy green tea and take a large sip despite my scepticism that this will give me any kind of kick after a 30-hour flight from New York to Osaka.
I am in Japan to discover the health benefits of Matcha green tea and as a habitual coffee drinker, am curious to see whether I can be converted to swap my twice-a-day americano habit to the healthier green stimulant.
A Matcha hit provides 34mg of caffeine – not bad considering an espresso coffee provides 60mg, but the tea's effect is much more intense and lasts longer because it contains amino acid and L-Theanine.
L-Theanine has a calming, relaxing effect and slows the release of tea-caffeine.
I decide to give up all types of coffee for three days while in Japan and will only drink Matcha for my caffeine fix as I go on a journey to learn about the centuries-old tradition of the tea and the health benefits that follow.
Japanese Zen Buddhist monks have been using Matcha as a meditational drink for over 800 years through tea ceremonies and more recently westerners have been tapping into the Superfood too.
James Shillcock, founder of the first UK Matcha beverage company Vivid Drinks, who joins me in Japan, aims to make it a mainstream drink in the west.
‘More and more people are switching from coffee to Matcha and I believe in five years’ time people will be asking for their cup of Matcha in the west, rather than espresso’, he tells me.
East meets west: A traditional Matcha 'espresso' is pictured left, while companies like Vivid Drinks have put Matcha into ready to drink beverages for the western market (right)
‘The Vivid brand is deeply rooted in the traditions of Japan and its Zen monks – a belief that focus and concentration, provided by the L-Theanine and natural caffeine in Matcha, is essential for everyone whether you’re an elite athlete or a student studying for exams’, Shillcock says.
Just as the coconut water craze has swamped western markets over the past ten years, Matcha green tea is predicted to be the next big wave.
Interest in the UK has already tripled since 2013, with companies like Vivid Drinks bringing the ready-to-drink format to stores like Wholefoods.
Over 250,000 new customers started purchasing the product in its first year.
Even after my first Matcha ‘espresso’ of the day I am pleasantly surprised by the caffeine kick and feel alert without any kind of edginess or anxiety that sometimes comes with a strong coffee.
Matcha also provides 3.25mg of calcium, 1.85mg of vitamin C, 20.5mg of potassium and 274mg of protein per serving amidst other vitamins and antioxidants that outnumber Superfoods like Goji and Açaì berries.
If you compare that to what you'd get from a tea bag – one bowl of Matcha is equivalent to approximately 10 cups of regular green tea.
That is because Matcha powder uses the entire green tea leaf, instead of just dipping the leaf in hot water which provides only around 10% of the plant’s nutrients.
Tea plantation: Jessica talks to a Japanese tea farmer in Nishio, Japan, where the matcha comes from
As far as the ready-to-drink beverages are concerned, Shillcock says: 'We see Vivid as the smarter persons Red Bull.
'When men and women discover the prolonged naturally energising effects of Matcha they will turn their backs on artificial products.'
To find out more about how Matcha is made, I travel to Nishio, in the Chubu region of Japan, which is the country's leading producer of powdered green tea.
I arrive at a small tea field where I am greeted by two representatives from Matcha manufacturer Aiya from Germany, who introduce me to their local farmer.
The farmer tells me that despite his youthful appearance, he’s 67 years old and has been farming green tea leaves and drinking Matcha for 47 years.
He says he only drinks Matcha, no coffee, because 'Matcha is the most pure thing to drink.'
'We have an exclusive contract with this farmer and have our own factory within metres of the tea plantation so the leaves can be taken straight from the field and into production', Aiya representative Thomas Groemer says.
'Every hour counts in the process of Matcha', Groemer reveals as he walks me from the tea field to the factory and shows me through the process.
The tea leaves are steamed, air dried and roasted before going through an extensive process to grind them into fine powder using traditional Japanese stone-masonry wheels.
At the end of the production line, a professional tea taster, Mitsuhiro Sugita, who has dedicated his 40-year career to Matcha, personally tests each batch and calls for changes when needed.
Mr Sano shows me the art of tea tasting, much like wine tasting, where one must sip in a small mouthful, while breathing in air before spitting it back out.
The grades range from a natural sweetness to subtle bitterness, with the lower grades also tasting thicker, as if some sediment is detected.
The overpowering green tea aroma in the factory stimulates my senses and all of a sudden I’m craving my second bowl for the day.
Matcha market: Jessica (back right) samples ice cream, brownies and cookies made from Matcha in Nishio, Japan, with Aiya representatives and the founder of Vivid Drinks
We walk over to the neighbouring café to sample another batch.
This time our tea is accompanied by an array of Matcha treats. From brownie, to ice cream and cookies, it seems that the Japanese have found ways to add the tea powder into almost anything.
The wide variety of products that Matcha can be added to has inspired Shillcock to also expand his Vivid Drinks range after already finding success with his line that combines the tea with natural juices.
Within Japanese culture, not just Buddhist monks, green tea plays a huge part in society – which might just be a key ingredient to the populations’ long life expectancy rate of 81.25 years and lowest obesity rate in the industrialised world (at only three per cent).
The trend travelled west after scientists discovered Matcha’s high levels of antioxidants.
Matcha also effects metabolism and a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition claims the green tea produces an increase in energy expenditure (a measure of metabolism), combined with a significant effect on fat oxidation.
It also found that consuming the tea can increase Thermogenesis (body’s rate of burning calories) from a normal 8% to 10% of daily energy expenditure, to between 35% and 43% of daily energy expenditure.
As a health aficionado myself, the more I learn about the benefits of Matcha, the more I am being converted to the drink.
After three days of drinking the tea I feel extremely alert and refreshed, without any withdrawal symptoms from coffee.
Obviously long term benefits take time but I make sure to stock up on the organic green tea powder before I head back to New York and have decided to swap one of my daily americanos to Matcha.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2713411/Would-swap-coffee-Matcha-green-tea.html#ixzz3guXQ4qRH
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Olivier is a Michelin-Star trained chef, also a student in Nutrition and Naturopathy, embracing fully his passion for good food and healthy eating. He should graduate July 2016.