What is Matcha and Why is it so Popular?
What is Matcha and Why is it so Popular?
Whether you live in the USA, Japan, England or any other country in the world, you’ve probably either had a cup of tea, or you’ve at least seen a cup of tea before. There’s the standard green tea, chamomile, black tea, and the most recent detox teas. However, there’s also a natural, organic tea known as matcha. What is matcha tea, you might be wondering?
What is Matcha?
Well, matcha is a kind of green tea that comes in powder form. It originated from the Buddhist monks hundreds of years ago, before the tradition of drinking matcha moved over to Japan. It’s been ritualistic to drink the green powdered tea ever since. The best way to describe matcha powder is through its emerald green color. It’s 100% natural and doesn’t contain any artificial coloring or preservatives to appear as green as it is.
The powder is derived from a plant, known as Camellia sinensis. There is a certain process that goes into harvesting the finely grounded powder. First, the plant takes about three weeks until it’s fully grown and ready to move onto the next step. After that, the harvester ensures that the leaves from the plant are plucked in its entirety. Once that’s complete, it’s time to steam and dry the leaves to ensure that the pigmented color remains the solid emerald green that it is known for. Before technological advancements, millstones were the main source for grinding the leaves into powder. However, nowadays, because millstones are very tedious and occasionally unreliable, it’s easier for most companies to use grinding machines. Grinding machines have become so mainstream, that you can even find them on Amazon and JC Penney.
Although matcha tea grows from the Camellia sinensis plant, matcha has evolved into many different drinks. Ordering a matcha green tea from an organic coffee shop may not be the same as ordering a matcha green tea from Starbucks. Although the roots of origin are the same with both drinks, other ingredients may be added to increase the matcha’s flavor (such as different ranges of sugar, additives, and custom requests).
Why is Matcha so Popular?
Since social media is a valuable asset in today’s generation, matcha tea has been promoted and made more aware to society than ever before. Websites such as Tenzo Tea, Teavana, The Vitamin Shop, Starbucks and even name brand companies like Walmart and Amazon have been trying to actively promote the matcha tea industry. If you go to Instagram and type in the hashtag, “matcha”, about four million posts pop up. Most of the accounts associated with the hashtag are either accounts promoting their homemade matcha foods/drinks, or they’re accounts that promote their favorite matcha friendly shops/bakeries. There are also similar hashtags, such as “#matchalatte,” “#matchaholic” and “#matcharecipes” to condense certain searches. The matcha tea industry has definitely expanded, as a result of growing social media trends. Recently, it’s become very trendy to post appetizing pictures of food and drinks on one’s Instagram feed. By constantly posting appealing items, more people will give the post a ‘like’ or a ‘comment’, and therefore, that person will gain more followers. Matcha is a huge part of today’s trend - - and a positive one at that.
How Healthy is Matcha?
Although there are many matcha tea benefits, it all depends on how you use matcha that determines whether or not you’re getting the most out of the powder. While matcha originated in the form of natural, organic tea, nowadays, many chefs and food guru’s are getting creative with the powder. Bakeries and shops are not only selling matcha in the form of tea and lattes, but now, they’re creating matcha style brownies, cakes, fudge, crepes, and so on. Many people might think these are healthy treats, since matcha originally comes from a plant. While those may be healthier alternatives to standard double fudge brownies, anything added to the matcha must be used with caution. Have you ever heard the phrase: “Do it in moderation”? Well, the same applies here. The matcha powder itself might be natural, but the white sugar, milk chocolate, and cream that’s added to the powder contains factors that outweigh the benefits of what matcha is all about. The health benefits of matcha have been studied for years, and it’s been shown that drinking matcha tea could reduce high blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety, dementia, and even schizophrenia.
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