What is matcha tea? Is it different from loose leaf green tea like a sencha tea? Where does it originate from? Who drinks matcha green tea? Why is matcha tea such a popular health drink? And most importantly, should I start drinking matcha tea?
Well…these are some common questions we get asked all the time from customers, friends, and family alike. So, we thought, why not address them all in one of our blog articles so you can learn all about this amazing drink that is great for your health!
What is Matcha Tea?
Matcha tea, also commonly known as matcha green tea or matcha, is one of many variants of teas that are derived from the tea plant – the Camellia Sinensis. The word ‘Matcha’ literally translates as ‘powdered-tea’.
That isn’t the only difference between matcha and other teas though. The difference in the look and taste profile of matcha versus other tea varieties lies in their differing growing conditions and harvesting techniques:
- Sencha (Loose-leaf green tea): Grown under direct sunlight, harvested with the full leaves and stems, and processed through steaming and drying to preserve the light natural flavour
- Matcha: Grown under sunlight, until 6 weeks before harvest where it is covered under shade to increase the production of chlorophyll and amino acids for a much more intense umami taste. Then only the youngest leaves are harvested, steamed, and dried. After which they are destemmed and deveined through a laborious process which results in Tencha. The next step? The slow grinding of the Tencha manually with large stone mills to create the fine bright green matcha powder that many enjoy. It takes an hour to stone grind just a single 30g tin of Matcha.
The significantly higher level of care, skill, and processes involved in creating quality matcha is also the reason why it is more expensive than its loose-leaf counterpart. If it is cheap we can guarantee you that corners have been cut.
The Origins of Matcha Tea
In the early 7th century of the Tang Dynasty in China, green tea was first introduced as a medicinal substance for the royal and elite members of society. It was later adopted by the masses as well as Buddhist monks.
However, it was a Japanese Buddhist monk, Eisai who is largely credited with bringing this tea back to Japan where it evolved into the traditional Japanese tea ceremony we know of today.
So, in a way, matcha is both Chinese and Japanese in origin. However, in Japan it has continued to flourish and they have honed their craft of matcha production. In China it was a lost art for sometime and it is only more recently that they have returned back to the ancient way of brewing tea!
Why Buy Japanese Matcha?
With its origins, it is little wonder why we still find that the two most common sources of matcha are from China and Japan.
So why should you favour Japanese matcha over its Chinese counterpart?
- Visually, Japanese matcha is brighter whereas Chinese match tend to be duller
- Japanese matcha is usually much finer and more uniform which results in a smoother and better finish.
- Japanese matcha has a more unique umami flavour as it is typically grown in shade compared to Chinese matcha which is not and hence tends to be more bitter.
- The Japanese tea growers have crafted their Matcha production techniques over centuries.
Why Drink Matcha Tea?
Here is a list of health benefits of matcha tea. They are all derived from scientific studies and will answer this question for you:
- Full of antioxidants
- Prevention of cancer, heart disease, and many more
- Enhancement of cognitive function
- Skin rejuvenation
- Weight loss or control
- And many more…
Want to get started on Matcha after learning all about it? Check out our online store here for our latest offers on premium Japanese green tea powder.