unique-flavour-of-matcha

Why Is the Flavour of Matcha So Unique?

For starters, matcha is a special kind of green tea that has been processed meticulously and with great care. In fact, unlike other forms of tea, this one isn’t steeped, but consumed fully- “eaten.” Furthermore, the reason a lot of people are getting more and more interested in giving this drink a try is because it’s packed with a wide range of health goodness– it contains antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and loads of fiber– all available in one drink. Best of all, it’s also very easy to prepare– all you have to do is pour hot water (not boiling) over the green powder, froth it, and you can enjoy all its goodness.

matcha-powder

The Complex and Captivating Taste

The amino acid and chlorophyll present in this type of tea is the reason behind its unique rich taste, and lingering sweetness that most can’t get enough of. Traditionally, it’s prepared using a bamboo whisk, for it to get frothy.

Those who have tried this tea describes the taste as something similar to the first taste of red whine or dark chocolate– that’s why for most, it’s an acquired taste– it’s either you love it or hate it. Though, if you’re going to use it as an ingredient, the taste becomes subtler and more enjoyable– most end up saying that it makes any dessert or drink, “creamy.”

The Secret Behind Its Taste

matcha-tea-setGreen tea has always been a part of traditional Japanese tea ceremonies for centuries. Back in the days, Zen Buddhist monks drink this tea before meditation, because it allows them to concentrate better and attain calm mental alertness. Aside from them, Japanese samurai also drink matcha because it gives them the peace, harmony, and tranquility they need– we all know how violent their lives can be.
Moving on, only the best leaves are handpicked, dried, and ground using granite stone mills– this results to an ultra-fine green tea powder that’s jade in color.

How Is It Produced

how-is-matcha-madeA few weeks before spring harvest, the farmers carefully cover the tea plants using tarps or bamboo mats. The purpose of this is to reduce the amount of sunlight that hits the plant. This is an essential step, because it ensures that the production of chlorophyll would increase, turning the leaves dark green– the distinct color of the highest-grade matcha powder.

Once there leaves are ready for picking, the harvesters carefully choose the ones that can be powdered, and to prevent them from oxidation, they are steamed right away. Although great care has already been given during picking these leaves, they are still sorted depending on their quality and grade; then they are de-stemmed and de-veined. At this stage, the leaves are labeled as “tencha.”

Tencha leaves are usually cheaper because they’re are rolled, but dried and ground using grinding wheels. Thus, the taste is also different.

The Plant It Came From

matcha-tea-leavesJust like other forms of tea, matcha also comes from the plant called, “camellia sinesis.” The leaves of this plant can be dried directly, and this turns into the simplest for of green tea. When it’s fermented, then it becomes oolong tea, and if fully fermented, black tea.

Among these types of tea, matcha is the premium kind– just like what has been mentioned earlier, before it turns into the kind of tea that we all enjoy, it undergoes a process that gives its unique smell, taste, and quality.

However, it’s also important to note that the plant “camellia sinesis” comes in different varieties– that’s why if you notice, some matcha tastes better than other. Wherein, the highest-grade of organic matcha powder comes from Japanese varietals.

These varietals have been discovered 900 years ago, and the best Japanese growers and farmers would tell you that it’s the best form of tea you’ll ever have. No doubt about that, as these families know how to cultivate this variety in order to have the superior tea.

How to Prepare the Best-Tasting Matcha

To enjoy the best tasting green tea, it’s always ideal to prepare it the traditional way. That means stay away from instant ones, but opt for the ‘premium’ ones. Sift the powder first, then pour hot (but not boiling water). Then, start whisking using a bamboo whisk– this should be done in a zigzag motion and until it becomes frothy. After that, you can enjoy the best-tasting matcha and enjoy its benefits.

sencha-and-matcha

Main differences between Sencha and Matcha


In the last few years, more and more people have been joining the movement back to our ancestor’s natural ways of living and eating. This means more herbal supplements and natural foods are being consumed. With so many varieties of the organic and natural foods in the grocery and supermarket shelves, so is the confusion on which ones are best for us.

matcha-green-teaThe traditional green tea drank in and shipped out of Japan is Sencha and Matcha. Even though both are categorized as green tea, they are very different from each other. There have been arguments about which one is greater than the other, however, each type has its unique health benefits and taste and varies with the form (loose leaf or powder). The way each type is cultivated and processed plays a big role in its final taste and nutrition. And for the loose leaf, the water temperature and infusion duration causes variations. Here are some key differences between the two:

1. Nutrient Content

Compared to brewed green tea, Matcha is more beneficial since no nutrients are left in the leaf. Since it is powdered tea, all the nutrients including the water-insoluble vitamin C. The fact that Sencha is grown in direct sunlight, it contains vitamins C and E in higher amounts than Matcha which on the other hand is grown in the shade hence more vitamin B6.

2. Processed Size

Matcha green tea is stone ground making it very fine and allowing for 100% consumption of its health benefits. It can be used for cooking or baking since it is in powder form making this an excellent tea. Sencha, on the other hand, is available as loose leaf or coarse ground particles like what we get in tea bags.

3. Preparation

Since matcha tea is powdered, it does not get sieved of filtered out during preparation. The entire leaf is consumed with all its nutrients in the fine powder. This makes it up to 15 times more potent in nutrition compared to Sencha which on the other hand is brewed then filtered out leaving only the soluble content in the water.

4. Catechin Content

Since Sencha grows in sunlight it tends to have a higher concentration of catechins, a form of antioxidants useful for your cell health and prevention of cancer development. Catechins are a unique polyphenol type that benefits your body by acting as an antioxidant and boosts metabolism too. Matcha does not compare in this case due to its very low levels of this important compound.

5. Calm Alertness

By being grown in the shade, Matcha tea contains more caffeine and L-theanine, the rare amino acid. This amino acid has calming effects that help increase focus and concentration. Consider this when studying for that exam or preparing a high power marketing presentation.

6. Energy

Given its higher caffeine contents, Matcha is known to give longer lasting energy levels for a productive day no matter what you want to do. This is the reason many people use it as a coffee substitute instead of just drinking the regular green tea.

7. Color

The green tea matcha is super green though the other one, Sencha is dark green. The longer the time Matcha is grown in the shade, the lighter the green color.

8. Taste

Sencha has a sharp bitter taste whereas Matcha gives out an earthy taste that has a smooth, creamy texture since it is ground to powder.

9. Aftertaste

Unless you are taking poor quality matcha with a sharp aftertaste, it leaves you with a pleasant aftertaste whereas Sencha has a bitter aftertaste that is astringent or fruity on your tongue when drank.

Conclusion

After deliberating on all the main benefits of the two green tea types, Matcha emerges the best. However, each tea variation has significant health benefits and should be considered for your cup. But when you compare it to powdered sencha then the tables are turned since the contents of sencha are much more superior as long as it can all be extracted by grinding to a powder instead of brewing.

When looked at another way, both tea types cannot be compared since it will be like comparing oranges to apples. They are cultivated, processed and prepared differently meaning there is little ground for comparison. They are both valuable in nutrition in unique ways.