What Is Matcha & How To Make It Easily?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have probably seen the matcha craze of the last ten years. From tea to ice cream and skincare products, matcha is everywhere.
Not only is matcha tasty, but it offers a number of health benefits. In fact, in order to equal the number of antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin B12 and B6, carotene, and L-Theanine in one cup of matcha tea, you would need to drink ten cups of loose leaf green tea!
Consumers today want to know how their food is processed, and matcha is no different. This article will break down how matcha is made. And how to make yourself the tastiest cup of matcha possible.
What is Matcha?
To get an idea, compare this to green tea that contain 25 mg of caffeine, and a serving of espresso which contains about 64 mg of caffeine. Matcha is bright green and has a soft, fine texture.
Alright, ready to learn how matcha is made?
Matcha’s Growing Process
Matcha comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. This same plant also produces black tea, green tea, and matcha tea. The way its grown can change the type of tea produced from it as well as the flavor, L-theanine, and caffeine levels. Consuming the whole matcha leaf is what gives it its added nutrients.
Where it’s Grown
A lot of the world’s matcha is grown in the Uji province of Japan, near Kyoto. Uji provides the perfect growing conditions for matcha, and tea is an important part of Japanese cultural tradition. In fact, growing and serving tea is considered a sacred art form. The process of harvesting and producing matcha is very labor-intensive and time-consuming.
Over the course of about a month, the Camellia sinensis leaves bud and reach the perfect maturity level. In the plant’s early stages, it is given a moderate amount of light. But once the matcha sprouts, it is gradually shaded, and eventually grown entirely in shade.
The delicate, supple leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant need to be protected from the sun, and it is the shade that gives the leaves their particular softness. Being grown in shade is also what gives matcha its unique taste and properties. The amino acids it develops due to this growing process give matcha its sweet and umami taste, lacking the bitterness that green tea has.
Matcha is harvested four times a year. At harvest time, the leaves will be soft and vibrant green, unlike other types of teas. The first harvest, typically in early May, is considered the best, with the subsequent three being considered lower in quality. This is because the plants produce fewer nutrients later in the season. Each harvest is unique, with the matcha producing different nutritional and flavor components.
At harvest time, the top parts of the tea plant are hand-picked. It requires hand-picking because only a trained eye can identify the specific leaves necessary for matcha. And only a few leaves are picked from each plant during the harvest, unlike regular green and black tea, which uses most of the plant leaves.
When the leaves are harvested, they are steamed to maintain their bright green color. This preserves the flavor and nutrients as well as prevents bitterness and oxidation. Then the leaves are cooled and dried, and the stalks and veins are removed.
These leaves without stalks and veins are called “Techa.” Once the Techa is prepared, it is broken into smaller pieces and then ground into a fine powder. Typically granite grindstones are used because of their smooth and even mill.
In order to prevent heat from forming and changing the matcha properties, grinding must be done slowly. In fact, it can take an hour to mill just one ounce of matcha! Once it is ground, the matcha is then stored and preserved. It should be kept in a cool spot away from sunlight.
Understanding the labor-intensive harvesting process of matcha certainly helps justify the higher price point!
How to Make Matcha Tea?
Not unlike making instant coffee, matcha tea is quite easy to make. Once your matcha powder is in your mug, pour a small amount of hot water on top and whisk vigorously until it’s fully combined and a pleasant foam forms.
It’s best to use a bamboo whisk rather than metal because it imparts no flavor and gives you more control over foam. Then, you can add the remainder of your hot water (or steamed milk of your choice). The trick is to use water at around 80°C/176°C, rather than boiling water, so you don’t burn the matcha and make it bitter.
When choosing the right matcha tea for you, you want to ensure it is bright green and fresh. We love the Jade Leaf Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder because it’s certified organic, is grown in quality conditions in Japan, comes with a product guarantee, and is highly reviewed.
We also love MAJU’s Organic Moringa Powder because of its pure ingredients and top-notch production methods. Plus, both of these matcha teas are Climate Pledge friendly.
Benefits of Matcha
Matcha is well-known for providing:
- Antioxidants: Matcha tea contains polyphenols and the antioxidant amino acid L-Theanine. Antioxidants prevent inflammation and diseases like cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
- Long-lasting energy: Matcha’s caffeine levels mean you get an energy boost, but at the same time, the L-Theanine slows down caffeine absorption. With matcha, instead of having a caffeine high and then an energy crash, you get prolonged, smooth energy throughout your day. L-Theanine supports calm and focus, helping you be more productive. 
- Cholesterol reduction: The catechins in matcha tea naturally lower cholesterol levels, preventing heart disease. 
- Weight loss: Caffeine can also support weight-loss efforts by boosting metabolism and curbing hunger.
- Anxiety relief: Matcha has been clinically proven to relieve anxiety. 
While the process of producing matcha is not simple, it is well worth it. The delicious flavor, long-lasting energy, and nutritional benefits of matcha tea are simply unbeatable. Try swapping out matcha for your regular tea, and see the benefits for yourself.
Written by Stephanie Moore
Stephanie is a professional writer who is a ‘SIBO survivor’ herself with broad experience writing in the health field. She is a regular writer for SIBO Survivor and calls Berlin, Germany home.