As a people we have yet to understand the significance or impact of what has been done (and is being done) to the soil and thereby - the quality of food that is being produced today. And this means what we are eating and putting in our bodies. It may look like “corn” or some other veggie, but in many instances that is about it. It looks like corn, smells like corn, even tastes like corn, but it really is a “franken-veggie” crossed with the dna of animal protein or other.
What makes Matcha what it is? Here is a brief overview of the powerful components within Matcha Green tea.
L-Theanine – L-Theanine is a unique amino acid found almost exclusively in the tea plant (Camellia sinensis) and is the primary amino acid component of green tea. The shading of the tea plants before harvest, increases the L-Theanine content, giving Matcha its characteristically pleasant and sweet flavor.
The effects of L-Theanine are truly amazing. It has the unique ability to stimulate the production of alpha waves in the brain; a state otherwise mostly achieved by meditation and characterized by a calm alertness and relaxed mental clarity. This is one reason why the Zen monks appreciated a good cup of Matcha before their "lengthy" meditation sessions.
The relaxing effects of L-Theanine act antagonistically against the stimulatory effects of caffeine on the nervous system thus smoothing the body’s reaction and leading to an experience of dynamic bliss. Clinical studies have also shown L-Theanine to reduce stress, to lower blood pressure, to improve memory and learning abilities, to diminish PMS symptoms and to have a mild antioxidant activity. L-Theanine is fast acting, the desirable effects are generally noticeable within the first 30 minutes after enjoying a cup of Matcha and can last for up to 6 hours.
Thermogenics – Green tea has long been studied as a weight loss aid. Research now indicates that drinking green tea can boost metabolism by 35-40%, thus increasing fat burning capacity without any adverse side effects.
Anti-oxidants – The catechins found in green tea are some of the most powerful natural anti-oxidants, thereby having a strong anti-aging effect on the body. The anti-oxidants in green tea are 100 times stronger than Vitamin C, and 25 times stronger than Vitamin E.
Matcha green tea contains 70 times the anti-oxidant capacity of orange juice, and 9 times the beta carotene of spinach.
Chorophyll - Matcha contains extremely high levels of Chlorophyll, thus the brilliant emerald green color. Chlorophyll is one of the most powerful blood detoxifyers, as well as supporting a healthy blood alkalinity.
Polyphenols and Catechins – These phytonutrients are quickly becoming known as the most potent cancer fighting substances known to man. Matcha green tea contains the highest levels of these precious derivatives.
Adaptogenics – Green tea is an “adaptogen” which means it supports the adrenal glands by lowering levels of the “stress” hormone Cortisol.
Blood Pressure Lowering Catechins – Green Tea contains specific catechins that can lower blood pressure by preventing contraction of blood vessels through inhibition of Angiotensin.
Cholesterol Lowering agents – Green tea has been shown to decrease the levels of LDL (‘bad”) cholesterol while having no effect on HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
Blood Sugar Stabilizers – The polysaccharides in green tea can protect against insulin spikes thus stabilizing blood sugar levels.
Anti-microbials – Green tea contains potent anti-biotics and anti-virals, lending itself to the prevention and treatment of many common ailments including flu, cold, food poisoning etc.
These anti-microbial catechins also prevent tooth decay and gum disease, as well as sweetening bad breath by balancing the gut microflora.
Matcha Ceremonial Green Tea is the tea that is used in the well-known Japanese tea ceremony which was established by Zen-master Sen-no-Rikyu in the 1570s. The tea ceremony follows four basic principles: Harmony (wa), Respect (kei), Purity (sei) and Tranquility (jaku).
Within the tea ceremony, every step, every movement, and every moment is accurately defined. The ceremony takes place in a specially designed room exclusive for the ceremony. It is exactly four and a half mats of space (one Tatami mat is 170 x 85 cm or ten square feet). The room itself is kept simplistic to enable the guests to focus only on the essence of the ceremony and tea. In the winter season, a Kama (iron kettle) is placed in a small opening in the floor of the tea room which is heated by charcoals. In earlier times, these utensils were a true work of art.
The host seats facing toward the tea bowl (Chawan), tea container (Natsume), a Matcha whisk (Chasen) and a bamboo scoop (Shaku). The arrangement also varies in season. Even the wood for the charcoal is meaningful because wooden charcoal maintains the ideal temperature for Matcha as it provides its own aroma. It is said that even the age of the wood is part of the conversation piece in the ceremony.
The ceremony itself follows strictly defined principles. As the guests enter the room, the host will start to prepare the Matcha, in slow but stern motions. From the first welcome to the last sip of tea, and even the light conversation after, it all holds meaning in this sacred ceremony.
But the most fascinating part of the tea ceremony is indeed the philosophy behind it all. In Japan, the tea ceremony is called "Chado" or "Sado." If you translate it, this means: the way of tea. Even the dignified old tea masters still consider themselves as students. For they say that 60 years of experience in "The Way of Tea," only means you are one step ahead in the journey.
As you can see, there is much history and much heritage behind the world of Matcha tea. For those, as ourselves, …Westerners… Matcha is but a recent discovery of our 21st century that adds one more layer of health and wellness that is now available to all.
The Ancient Superfood
Although Matcha Green Tea has been around for well over 800 years, it is only now beginning to be recognized within the health community as a superfood that surpasses virtually every other anti-oxidant superfood today. Matcha’s roots go back to ancient China when it was used medicinally. However, as Matcha came to the mainland of Japan over 800 years ago, it grew into a traditional ceremonial beverage loved and revered by the Japanese.
Gradually an awareness is dawning, but it has been slow coming, after all- how good can drinking green tea really be? But Matcha is no “ordinary” green tea. It is the "Ceremonial" tea of the ancients.
Matcha’s Superfood Qualities…
Matcha is the most effective way to experience the amazing health benefits of green tea. It is a beverage for both the mind and the body. Matcha delights the senses, purifies the body and lifts the spirit.
Matcha tea is approximately 10X stronger than regular brewed green tea. The anti-oxidant activity of Matcha is higher than that of blueberries, 100 times more potent than Vitamin C, and 25 times more active than Vitamin E. Matcha contains over 70 times the anti-oxidants of fresh orange juice, and over 9 times the beta carotene of spinach. Matcha also contains a good helping of fiber, as well as all the essential vitamins and minerals for optimal health.
Matcha also contains high amounts of L-Theanines—a unique set of natural amino acids found almost exclusively in shade grown green tea such as Matcha and is known to reduce stress and anxiety. The unique property of L-theanines, provides the body for sustained energy of 3 to 6 hours without any caffeine crash.
This unique combination, which almost exclusively exists in Matcha, also heightens the concentration to help provide increased mental clarity and focus. With virtually zero calories, this makes Matcha the ultimate "energy drink"—without any of the side effects found in the highly sugared, over-caffeinated beverages sold in stores today. Matcha is extremely rich in 3 very important nutrients that are of high interest for healthier lifestyle living: Insoluble Fibers, Antioxidants, and L-Theanines.
Matcha’s Antioxidant Properties…
Worldwide research points to green tea’s antioxidant polyphenols for its potent beneficial properties. Epigallo-catechin gallate (EGCG: also an antibiotic) is the most prominent of these. Together with tannins and flavonoids they are collectively called ‘catechins’ and account for about 40% of its dry weight. Researchers at the U niversity of Kansas found antioxidant levels of matcha green tea 100 times more effective than vitamin C and 25 times better than vitamin E.
Green tea contains more beneficial astringent tannins than other tea. These are preserved through the steaming of the leaves and keeping them green. Researchers tell us the caffeine activates the tannins, while the tannins counter balance the caffeine. Recently they discovered that L-theanine, a nonessential, non-protein amino acid naturally present in the green tea bush (Camellia Sinensis:” and the main compound responsible for the unique flavor of green tea, enhances learning ability, induces relaxation and inhibits caffeine stimulation.
Our organic matcha is harvested in early June to mid July, when the tea leaves are most tender. The stems, twigs and veins are removed from the leaves. Then cutting, winnowing, and drying prepares them for one of the thousand small granite stone mills. It takes about one hour per mill set to make thirty (30) grams of our organic matcha!
Unlike brewed teas that are steeped and discarded, Matcha is the whole leaf. The whole leaf is consumed being whisked into warm water. It is literally a green tea concentrate.