The Matcha tea is originated from China, but it was in Japan that it became famous worldwide.
This powder green tea was discovered in China during the Tang Dinasty, but they were Buddhist monks who brought matcha tea to Japan. It helped them medidate better, kept them alert and relaxed – but not asleep, and therefore, became very popular in the region, where there were at that time, more than 200 Buddhist monasteries.
Formerly tea leaves were commercialized as pressed discs to facilitate the transportation along the “Tea Route”. The Tea Route started in the small cities of China where the tea was cultivated and then continued to the capital and then to Japan, Thibet, India and many other countries. The porters carried up to 100 kilos on their backs, along the route, and earned 1 kilo of rice for each 10 kg of tea. (Source: Manual del Sommelier de Té de Victoria Bisogno).
The matcha is obtained from the same plant as the green tea (of the Tencha type), the Camelia Sinesis. This tea type is particularly rich in antioxidant compounds due to its traditional way of cultivation. During most of its growth time, it is shaded by natural bamboo fabric as a protection against sun which allows the plant to create high amounts of bioactive compounds, including chlorophyll and l-theanine.
The results of cultivating the plant in shade before harvest are the unique taste and the color of the resource and its infusions. This is why Matcha tea is considered as the most aromatic green tea and a product of the highest quality.
The difference is that the green tea leaves are brewed in water and only part of its components are soluble and therefore ingested. In counterpart, the matcha is composed by grinded green tea leaves so the whole leaves are ingested with their soluble and insoluble components. Therefore, higher levels of chlorophyll and high amounts of oxidants that cleanse the organism are ingested what makes it 10 times more effective in weight loss, fat burning and thermogenesis.
The matcha tea is commonly considered as particularly beneficial to health and its main components are:
- Antioxidants: the high antioxidant potential of the matcha tea are mostly related to catechins, a kind of polyphenols, which have a beneficial effect on human health, and occur naturally in the leaves of Camelia Sinensis. The Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) has a strong antioxidant activity due to their ability to neutralize free radicals and to increase the detoxification activity of enzymes. It may prevent, for example, ischemic heart disease, cancer and the premature aging of the cells of the organism and the brain.
- Caffeine: typically, a 250ml cup of matcha, which is made with one teaspoon of matcha powder, contains 70 milligrams of caffeine and the same cup of regular coffee can contain anywhere from 95 to 200 milligrams of caffeine, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. In the short term, caffeine can boost the metabolic rate and increase fat burning. (Sources: WomensHealthMag and U.S. National Library Medicine)