Matcha. This vibrant green powder is now a featured functional beverage in coffee and tea shops, becoming so popular it’s growth is predicted to increase 25% each year until 2018 in North America(1). This traditional Japanese beverage can provide more health benefits per cup, knocking green tea out of the top spot.
What is Matcha?
Originating from the plant Camellia Sinensis, Matcha is the finely powdered form of green tea. Equivalent amounts of Matcha contain 137 times the Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)catechin content compared to green tea(2). This polyphenol is an intense antioxidant and is more effective at reducing free radical damage in the body(3).
After these leaves are shade-grown, color from chlorophyll, umami flavor and chemical compounds within the plant are intensified due to the absence of sun. This differs from the process of photosynthesis which normally takes place in the plant. After harvest, leaves are flash steamed and fully dried without the use of heat. They then undergo a grinding process which creates extremely fine particles after the slow spinning within stone mills and a green concentrated powder is formed.
There are two traditional ways Matcha can be prepared, Usucha and Koicha.
Usucha, the more popular method, is also known as the thin method. 2 grams of powder is mixed together with 2 ounces of water in a chawan, a traditional Japanese ceramic bowl. Whisking vigorously, a bamboo whisk called a chasen, creates a thin layer of foam at the top of the drink. The foaming occurs due to the saponins, a chemical compound called glycosides contained within the green tea leaves. The beverage is then consumed similarly to espresso.
Koicha, the thick version, is prepared similarly except uses 4 or 5 grams of Matcha powder with the same amount of water(5).
Ready-to-Drink Functional Beverages
Beverage companies have picked up on the Matcha craze and have started formulating it into a ready-to-drink beverage. Motto, mixes agave nectar, apple cider vinegar, Matcha, honey and sparkling water to create a refreshing, energizing drink.
Vivid, with the slogan "sharpen your mind" utilizes Matcha's neuroprotective benefits to promote this ready-to-drink beverage that is mixed with lemon or elderflower.
Don’t want to drink your Matcha?
- Blend 1 scoop of Matcha with coconut ice cream
- Mix a scoop into morning oatmeal
- Bake Matcha into muffins and cupcakes or even add them to breakfast pancakes and waffles
- Elaine Watson. Matcha green tea market on fire, says report; "This is not a passing fad, but a major trend." Food Navigator-USA. 2015. Access:http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Markets/Matcha-green-tea-market-on-fire-says-report
- Weiss DJ, Anderton CR. Determination of catechins in matcha green tea by micellar electrokinetic chromatography. J Chromatogr A. 2003. 1011(1-2):173-80.
- Fujioka K, Iwamoto T, Shima H, Tomaru K, Saito H, Ohtsuka M, Yoshidome A, Kawamura Y, Manome Y. The Powdering Process with a Set of Ceramic Mills for Green Tea Promoted Catechin Extraction and the ROS Inhibition Effect. Molecules. 2016. 21(4) doi: 10.3390/molecules21040474