Have you ever thought about kicking the coffee habit or tried to look for alternative options to get your mind sharpened in the morning? Heard of matcha tea? Don’t worry if you haven’t, yet. You’re about to find out.
The term matcha literally means “powdered tea”. It is a special form of green tea where the actual tealeaves are ingested (the tea leaves are finely powdered) instead of just tealeaf infused water as normal tea is. Unlike traditional green tea, matcha preparation involves covering the tea plants with shade cloths before they’re harvested. This triggers the growth of the tealeaves with better flavour and texture. They are then hand selected, steamed briefly to stop fermentation, then dried and aged in cold storage, which deepens the flavour. The dried leaves are then stone-ground into a fine powder.
Coffee, café, java, whatever you’re calling it, chances are you’re enjoying it. Coffee beans are picked once ripe, then processed and dried. Green (unroasted) coffee beans are one of the most traded agricultural commodities in the world. Once they have been traded, the beans are roasted to varying degrees, depending on the desired flavour, before being ground and brewed to create coffee. Several research studies indicate that coffee may offer some protection against diabetes. Of course, with benefits come perils, such as heartburn and possibly a laxative result as well as jitters from the caffeine. It doesn’t suit everyone.
When it comes to coffee, you can get nearly the same level of antioxidants from either the caffeinated or decaffeinated version. It contains antioxidants that can reduce inflammation and help cells grow as well as giving your mind a boost.
Because matcha is made from high-quality tea, and the whole leaves are ingested, it’s a more potent source of nutrients than normal green tea. It is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols. They have been linked to protection against illness, such as heart disease as well as better blood sugar regulation.
Even though Matcha tea is healthy, don’t drink more than one cup daily and it’s not recommended to serve it to children, due to risk of lead contamination. Even organically grown green teas have been shown to contain lead, as it’s absorbed by the plant from the environment it’s grown in. Matcha tea contains more lead than normal green tea, as the whole leaves are ingested instead of just the brew from the whole leaves.
If you’re sensitive to caffeine, try choosing decaf coffee as matcha tea also boasts a caffeine load similar to coffee. Matcha tea can contain up to 30 times more caffeine than normal green tea.
According to multiple research studies, drinking either in moderation seems to be beneficial to health. According to matcha aficionados, the caffeine buzz you get from coffee is quite different to what caffeine from matcha makes you feel, it apparently creates a feeling of “alert calm”.
Any sort of caffeine is still caffeine and it shouldn’t be enjoyed before bedtime (at least 4-6 hours before you head to bed) as it might disturb the sleep pattern. Which might create a vicious circle of more caffeine, less sleep and so forth. Less caffeine is more.
Caffeine is also a mild diuretic – meaning, it makes you urinate more than you would without it. Decaf coffee, therefore, has about the same effect on urine production as water.
Remember, when choosing a caffeinated drink, be it matcha tea or coffee, don’t forget to drink plain-old-water to balance out the effect caffeine has on your system!