There seems to be a huge amount of hype surrounding matcha recently – we’re talking matcha lattes, matcha smoothies, matcha flavoured desserts. The question is, what is matcha and why is it so popular? In fact Matcha has been very popular in eastern countries for hundreds of years with it’s amazing health benefits. Matcha is a long standing tradition in Japanese culture.
So, what is it? Matcha is basically ‘powdered tea’. If you’ve tried both green tea and matcha, you’ll know they taste nothing alike. When you order traditional green tea, components from the leaves get infused into the hot water, then the leaves are discarded. With matcha, you’re drinking the actual leaves (called Camellia sinenses), which have been finely powdered and made into a solution. As whole leaves are ingested to make matcha, it’s a more powerful source of nutrients than steeped green tea.
Here are a few key benefits of Matcha and why you should try it:
1. Rich in Antioxidants
Antioxidants are nutrients and enzymes responsible for fighting against the negative effects of UV radiation, giving us younger and more youthful looking skin. Antioxidants are something that all health-conscious individuals seek from such foods as raw fruits, green veggies and dark chocolate. Matcha contains more antioxidants than blueberries and pomegranate.
2. Cancer fighting properties
Out of many antioxidants, EGCg is the most widely recognised for its cancer fighting properties. Matcha is loaded with EGCg, scientists have found Matcha contains 100 more times EGCg than other teas on the market, including brewed green tea.
3. Enhances calmness.
Matcha has been used by Japanese Zen Buddhist monks and Chinese Daoists to relax and meditate whilst remaining alert. The preparation of matcha is the focus of Japanese tea ceremonies and sipping on matcha can help you slow down and practice being in the moment. Therefore teaching your mind to remain calm and put you in a positive mood.
4. Boosts Metabolism
Drinking matcha has also been shown to increase your metabolism and help the body burn fat up to 4x faster than average. This is due to the component found in Matcha, EGCg helps boost metabolism. For a metabolic boost, aim for three cups a day. Matcha causes no negative side-effects such as increased heart rate and high blood pressure.
5. Keeps energy high
Matcha is an ideal substitute for caffeine, (yes that’s your coffee!) because it provides an energy boost without the crash. Health professionals say matcha creates an “alert calm” due to a natural substance it contains called l-theanine, which induces relaxation without drowsiness.
6. Detoxifies the body
Ever wondered why matcha is so vibrantly coloured? During the last few weeks before the tea leaves are harvested, the Camellia sinenses are covered to deprive them from sunlight, causing an increase in chlorophyll production. High levels of chlorophyll in Matcha results in a more powerful detoxifier and makes it more capable of removing heavy metals & chemical toxins from the body.
Matcha in Manchester
If you’re looking to try Matcha in Manchester, we’ve got some recommendations for you. Many cafe’s are now adding matcha lattes (hot and iced) to their menu. Coming from a matcha enthusiast, I’ve had a quite a few cups of matcha latte, from multiple cafés in Manchester. If you’re a first timer to try matcha, I recommend Foundation Coffee House for their matcha latte – it’s not too sweet (which tends to be the case in a lot of cafes) and just the right amount of matcha taste.
If you’re looking for an authentic experience to try matcha tea and desserts then it’s a must to visit the Japanese Tea House Chaology located in Ancoats. From matcha roll, matcha cheesecake to matcha tirimisu – you’re in matcha heaven! Desserts are freshly prepared every morning by the owner, and they are simply delicious. Be sure to order their matcha beverages as the owner prepares a Japanese tea ceremony in front of you whilst serving you. Be prepared to wait in the queues though as this place is very popular among matcha lovers.
Alternatively, Wasabi Dessert Room in China town do matcha flavoured waffles and matcha snow ice which is also a treat to indulge in when you’re craving matcha.