First of all, what is Matcha?
Many people don’t realize matcha is derived from the same tea plant as green tea. Matcha is made of 100% green tea leaves that have been ground to a fine powder. However, it’s not just regular green tea leaves that are used; matcha is covered with shade cloth for between 20-30 days before it’s harvested to boost its nutrients, making it a nutrient powerhouse, more potent than the more well-known green tea. The shading process increases the natural amino acid and chlorophyll content, giving matcha its vibrant green colour.
Once harvested, the tea leaves are quickly steamed to stop oxidation, air-dried, de-stemmed and then ground to a fine powder. With regular green tea, the leaves are steeped in water and discarded before drinking – with matcha you consume the entire leaf, not just what is left over from steeping tea. Due to this, along with the growing techniques, when you consume matcha you’re getting 137 times the antioxidants and 10 times the nutritional content than regular green tea!
The birth of Masuta Matcha
Rosa Chhun is passionate about all things matcha. After being a matcha drinker for many years and sampling many brands, a visit to Japan bought about the realization the matcha she’d been drinking for years was of poor quality. Rosa had become accustomed to drinking matcha that was bitter and didn’t have the same vibrant shade of green, the two biggest indicators of poor quality. This comprehension kicked off a journey to discover the finest organic matcha in Japan and make it easily available to consumers. Of top importance was finding a tea farm that was organic, putting quality above all else, and one that maintained some of the traditional methods to produce the highest quality product. Her journey culminated in a tea farm located in Uji, Kyoto who adopted organic tea farming decades ago. Rosa’s focus on establishing her New Zealand owned and operated Masuta Matcha business was putting prime importance on quality and a brand that consumers could trust.
The Masuta Matcha Difference
Matcha is now a trendy commodity and as such there are now many brands on the market, however not all are created equal. Masuta Matcha has several key features that sets it well above the rest including:
• It is grown, stone ground and packaged at the source:
Many brands purchase matcha in bulk and then repackage, exposing it to air, light and heat, causing it to oxidise which affects the taste and color. Masuta Matcha is ground to order and packaged immediately after to ensure the freshest possible product. Only small quantity orders are placed to ensure the matcha doesn’t sit on shelves for too long.
• Stone ground:
Grounding is slow business with just 40 grams ground in 60 minutes. Traditional hand carved granite stone mills are used to grind the matcha, the only method that results in ultra-fine powder. The slow turning stone mills is an important part of the process, faster milling increases friction, generating heat which burns the leaves, affecting taste and colour.
Both grades of Masuta Matcha are a vibrant green. This indicates the matcha has been correctly shade grown to increase the chlorophyll content. The tea plants react to limited exposure to sunlight by producing more chlorophyll (this is because leaves need to produce more to thrive without direct sunlight). This process turns the tea leaves to a vibrant shade of green. Chlorophyll is great for helping the body detoxify and can protect the skin from sun damage. Lower quality matcha will be a duller green with a brown or yellowish hue, therefore containing less health properties.
• No additives, sweeteners or fillers:
Many brands mix their matcha with these to hide the bitterness and make it more palatable. During the mixing process matcha will oxidise as it’s exposed to air, light and heat – further compromising the quality.
• No bitterness:
High quality matcha shouldn’t have any bitterness – the bitterness means less I-theanine as it provides a sweeter taste and is one of the key health benefits of matcha.
• Sourced from a single farm in Uji, Kyoto:
Kyoto is the birthplace of matcha and the terrain and climate there is the ideal place for growing it. Unlike most brands who source from multiple regions and blend, Masuta Matcha has one source, meaning an assurance of high quality and taste.
• Organic Certification:
Both grades of Masuta Matcha are 100% Japanese Certified Organic by JAS. This means no artificial pesticides or fertilizers (only organic fertilizers are used), no GMOs and the tea must be processed and packaged in facilities that are regularly checked and dedicated for organic tea. Since the 2011 Earthquake in Japan, the presence of radiation has been a concern for consumers, Masuta Matcha is tested for radiation every year.
The Amazing Health Benefits of Masuta Matcha Tea
Here’s the quick rundown:
• Matcha contains 17 times more antioxidants than blueberries! Antioxidants provide protection against free radicals in our bodies which cause aging, tissue damage, inflammatory diseases, as well as cancer and heart disease.
• Contains 10 times the nutritional content of regular green tea, so 1 cup of matcha = 10 cups of green tea.
• High levels of complex catechins, in particular EGCG, which helps fight bacteria and infections.
• EGCG also increases thermogenesis, which promotes fat oxidation and increases resting metabolic rate.
• Polyphenols found in matcha have the ability to reduce skin damage from UVA rays, which are responsible for ageing.
• Provides energy and focus for up to six hours. Matcha contains a large number of amino acids such as L-theanine which stimulates brain activity as well as promotes a state of relaxation and calmness – something you don’t get from coffee. L-theanine also helps the body metabolize caffeine slowly, resulting in a prolonged period of energy and focus lasting 3-6 hours, unlike other caffeinated drinks which typically lasts 1-2 hours. Matcha won’t cause your energy levels to crash or give you the jitters you can typically experience from drinking coffee. Matcha has a lower level of caffeine than coffee and there isn’t enough of it to trigger the production of cortisol (the body’s stress and fat producing hormone), and the presence of l-theanine promotes a state of calmness and relaxation that can help reduce nervousness and anxiety.
• Matcha has high levels of chlorophyll, which is a natural detoxifier, helping the body get rid of harmful toxins.
• Other benefits of matcha that are linked to clinical studies range from improving skin to supporting heart and brain health.
How to Use Masuta Matcha Powder
If you’re new to matcha powder, try these ways of getting more of it in your diet.
1. Make matcha tea.
2. Use it in your baked goods: Matcha powder can be easily incorporated into baked goods like muffins, scones, healthy cookies by replacing a small amount of flour with it. The powder will colour your baked goods green, which can be fun for kids or for special occasions.
3. Mix it in your morning oats or bowl of granola: One of the easiest ways to add matcha to your diet is to simply stir some into your breakfast.
4. Give your green smoothie a super boost: Make your green smoothie even greener by adding a few teaspoons of matcha powder to make it even healthier.
5. Make a matcha latte: Place ½ teaspoon of matcha powder into a cup. Fill about a quarter of your cup with hot water (not boiling), then top the rest off with steamed milk, great with non-dairy options like almond or coconut milk.
For more information on the amazing Masuta Matcha and to purchase it online check out www.masutamatcha.com