By now you’ve probably heard of matcha. How could you not? The green stuff is getting a lot of attention these days. From food bloggers to wellness gurus, everyone seems gaga over matcha. But what is it exactly? And is it worth the hype?
MATCHA: THE 411
Matcha is powered green tea and produced by covering green tea plants with cheese cloths. Before they are dried and stone ground they are steamed to stop fermentation. It’s quiet a process, creating a richer texture and a taste that is much stronger than the leaves that come in a bag. To make, a tablespoon of powder and a small amount of water are mixed together with a bamboo whisk. Once it froths, warm water or milk is added, along with sweetener.
Like regular green tea, matcha has many health benefits such as antioxidants. It also contains caffeine, making it a nice pick me up during afternoon slumps. But there are also some downsides to the powder, mainly that it contains traces of lead which the plant absorbs through its environment. Even when grown organically, contamination is still a possibility. While the risk is much lower with regular green tea because the leaves are tossed, matcha consists of the ground plant, including the leaves. See the dilemma? Because of this, experts advise to stick to one cup of day. The New York Times covered this topic which you can read more about here and if you want to check out a study about lead and green tea, read this.