First, let’s break down the word. “Matcha” consists of two terms, “matsu” meaning to rub, and “cha” for tea. Which makes sense, because matcha is made by taking tea leaves and grinding them into a fine powder. This is a very different method from regular green tea, where the leaves are left intact and just infused in water. Louise Cheadle, co-author of The Book of Matcha, stated that drinking green tea “is a bit like boiling spinach, throwing away the spinach and just drinking the water. You will get some of the nutrients, but you’re throwing away the best bit.”(Reference 1) But with matcha, you are drinking and absorbing all of the nutrients from the entire tea leaves. Before we talk more about matcha, let’s learn about what sets it apart from the regular green tea.
Leaves used for matcha are grown on tea bushes kept under the shade. By doing this, it increases the amount of chlorophyll content in the leaves, which is the main reason how matcha gets its luscious, bright green color. Not only is the color full of life, these tea leaves are full of nutrients. That’s because tea leaves used for matcha is grinded, which generates less heat compared to the process for green tea, which in turns preserves more nutrients and antioxidants. And another fact about matcha compared to green tea is its caffeine level. Matcha is more concentrated than green tea therefore having a higher level of caffeine.
That’s not the only thing matcha has more than green tea. According to a study by ConsumerLab.com, matcha contains more EGCG than green tea. EGCG, epigallocatechin gallate, is a plant compound know for its potential positive impact on people’s health.(Reference 2) It is connected to benefitting cardiovascular metabolic health, preventing heart and brain disease, aid in weight loss, and reducing inflammation.(Reference 3) EGCG is also believed to have cancer-fighting antioxidants. We all know green tea is one of the healthiest teas out there, but did you know how much matcha benefits surpass green tea? Now that we have finished the comparison between the two, lets get into the fine beneficial details of matcha.
1. Mood & Cognition
So we all know by now that matcha has caffeine, and a lot of it as well. But matcha also has an amino acid called L-theanine, which promotes relaxation without drowsiness. The combination of both caffeine and the amino acid resulted in the “improve performance in attention-switching tasks and alertness, but to a lesser extent than caffeine alone.”(Reference 4) Another study, which was conducted on mice, concluded that matcha reduces stress while curbing the bouncy jitters one usually experiences after drinking a high caffeinated drink.(Reference 5) The balanced combination of L-theanine promoting relaxation and calmness, with caffeine for high energy results in a state of relaxed alertness, which is perfect for multitasking and getting work done.
2. Fighting Cancer
We learned earlier that matcha contains a high number of antioxidants. These antioxidants are classified as catechins, aka EGCG. These catechins are known to have antitumor properties, inhibiting cancer growth and the like.(Reference 6) They do so by protecting cells from DNA damage and prevent tumor cell proliferation, according to the National Cancer Institute.(Reference 7) EGCG is also popularly known to have lots of potential in people with heart issues. “Catechins present in green tea have the ability to prevent atherosclerosis, hypertension, endothelial dysfunction, ischemic heart diseases, cardiomyopathy, cardiac hypertrophy and congestive heart failure by decreasing oxidative stress, preventing inflammatory events, reducing platelet aggregation and halting the proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells,” stated in a study published in the Chinese Journal of Natural medicines.(Reference 8)
3. Other Benefits to the Body
But the benefits does not stop there. EGCG has been known to boost metabolism. Which is connected to the aid of weight loss. That is something most of us wants to hear. Another thing you should listen about is the importance of our liver. The liver plays a key role in our health in flushing out toxins and processing nutrients. Matcha also plays a key role in supporting the health of this important organ. A study gave matcha to diabetic rats for 16 weeks and found that it prevented damage to both kidneys and the liver.(Reference 9) Another combined study of 15 studies found that drinking green tea helped decrease the risk of liver disease!(Reference 10)
To conclude, we will talk about quality. As with everything there is high and low quality. Ceremonial grade matcha refers to the highest quality, which people tend to use in tea ceremonies. Premium grade is suitable for daily consumption. Matcha used for cooking is of the lowest grade, but is perfect to use for desserts. The best quality comes from the first flush, or the first picking, of the tea leaves during the spring time. This is the best time after the plants have rested all winter and produce the most nutrient dense and flavorful leaves. And if you are familiar with Vorda’s matcha, we only use the first flush leaves. Higher quality matcha teas are also less bitter and grassy. They are known to give an umami taste. This umami flavor comes from the high amino acid content. Umami flavor is a delicacy in foods.
We sourced Authentic Matcha and Green Tea here from Shizuoka Prefecture in Japan, where the Mt. Fuji situates.
If you have made it this far, thank you for sticking it through. This blog post is a bit longer than usual, but with it you have probably gained much more knowledge of highly praised matcha. Even though this post was quite hefty, there is still much more to matcha. So why don’t you get yourself a cup and try for yourself? Vorda has two matcha teas of the highest quality. One is the Organic Matcha Mix. Since the higher concentration and quality of tea brings bitterness, we helped you out by balancing it out with a bit of organic cane sugar. We didn’t do too much though, we found the perfect ratio of sweetener to add so you can enjoy it right away without adding anything more. And our other matcha product is the Matcha and Sencha Infusion tea. These two are Japan’s most famous green teas. You can tell this tea is rich in nutrients and other health benefits. Come explore the world of matcha.
1. Sifferlin, Alexandra. (2018, March 8). Should You Drink Matcha Tea? Retrieved from https://time.com/5188377/matcha-tea-benefits/.
3. Hill, Ansley. (2019, April 26). EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate): Benefits, Dosage, and Safety. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/egcg-epigallocatechin-gallate.
4. Manning-Schaffel, Vivian. (2017, July 18). What is Matcha? And is it Healthy? Retrieved from https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/much-ado-about-matcha-it-really-healthy-ncna783886.
5. Unno et al. (2016, November 15). Anti-stress effects of drinking green tea with lowered caffeine and enriched theanine, epigallocatechin and arginine on psychosocial stress induced adrenal hypertrophy in mice. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27765356.
6. Hirota et al. (2018, February 28). Cancer Prevention with Green Tea and Its Principal constituent, EGCG: from Early Investigations to Current Focus on Human Cancer Stem Cells. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5824026/.
7.Tea and Cancer Prevention. (2010, November 17). Retrieved from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/tea-fact-sheet.
8. Bhardwaj and Khanna. (2013, July). Green tea catechiins: defensive role in cardiovascular disorders. Retrieved from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23845542.
9. Yamabe et al. (2009, August). Matcha, a powdered green tea, ameliorates the progression of renal and hepatic damage in type 2 diabetic OLETF rats. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19735169.
10. Xueuru et al. (2015, June 15). The effect of green tea intake on risk of liver disease: a meta analysis. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4538013/.