If you're one of those people who needs three cups of coffee or more to get through your day, you may want to consider making the switch to matcha. Although the beautifully green beverage has only made its way to American cafe menus in recent years, matcha has been a staple of Japanese tea ceremonies for centuries. In addition to having a full-bodied, grassy flavor, this fine powder contains a higher amount of caffeine and antioxidants than green tea. One teaspoon is all that's required to prepare a cup. But the benefits don't stop there — matcha is packed with antioxidants and offers a steadier caffeine fix than coffee does. Let us break it down for you.
1. Matcha is high in antioxidants.
Matcha, like green tea is high in catechins, an antioxidant believed to have cancer-fighting properties. On top of being grown, harvested, and processed differently than regular green tea, matcha is far more concentrated than loose leaf tea, allowing you to enjoy its nutrients in their entirety. Since matcha is ground to a powder, more antioxidants are available with each sip; one estimate claims that matcha offers 137 times the catechins that are in green tea.
2. You won't crash from drinking matcha.
Matcha contains the amino acid L-theanine (known to reduce anxiety and high blood pressure), which combats the jittery side effects of caffeine while still allowing matcha to provide a stable and longer-lasting focus without the crash some associate with coffee.
3. It may aid in weight loss.
Green tea contains the powerful antioxidant EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which has been shown to promote weight loss and boost metabolism. A small study has also suggested that matcha's EGCG may boost the ability to burn a bit more fat during exercise. Although more research on human subjects is needed, matcha tea provides a rich, subtly sweet flavor without the addition of sugar or cream. Plus, it contains very few calories, making it a healthy option overall.
The quality of your matcha can make all the difference — especially when it comes to taste. The best tasting varieties are typically ceremony grade (creamy and sweet), while kitchen grade is at the lower end of the spectrum.