The Ultimate Guide To Matcha (Plus Recipes!)
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know by now that a morning matcha latte whipped up in my Vitamix first thing in the morning is kind of my go-to. My ride or die. I dream about it. I plan out what elixir I’ll create for myself and as soon as I stir with the sun, on goes the kettle!
I’ve been diving more into Ayurvedic philosophies lately and uncovered that I am a Pitta Vata dosha. And one of the things Pitta’s are recommended to avoid – is coffee. Cue tears. That was a sad day…Now I don’t avoid coffee completely, let’s be real I love my java, but I do keep it to one or two a week as opposed to one or two a day.
Coffee is absolutely fine for you, in moderation (as with everything!) and my pick is a delicious organic brew with oat milk plus added adaptogens, collagen, cashews (and sometimes ice) to make my favourite glow coffee. (Have you tried this Oatly brand of Oat Milk? OMG. Do it! You won’t regret it.)
But without my daily caffeinated infusion, I went searching for a new morning ritual. I had always heard about how great Matcha was for you and knew that it was a huge trend (there are dedicated Matcha cafes EVERYWHERE now!) but I’d always been hesitant to try it because of it’s ‘earthy’ taste.
But I’ll try anything once, so onto Amazon I jumped and ordered the Ippodo matcha (only the Rolls Royce of Matcha – hey, if I was dipping my toe into Matcha land, I was going to do it RIGHT). After a rather interesting first experience, I trialled, I tested and then I became addicted. I was officially matcha converted.
So I’m sharing this ultimate guide to matcha – let’s deep dive into what the heck matcha even is, the incredible health benefits of matcha (read: miles long), why there is a right way and a wrong way to enjoy matcha and a few of my favourite ways to enjoy matcha!
First up – matcha’s insane benefits.
It elevates, yet sustains your energy.
No post-coffee buzz slumps here! Whilst matcha does contain caffeine (30-70 mg of caffeine while coffee is between 95-144 mg), the amino acid L-Theanine and caffeine work together harmoniously to produce that focused, mood boosting, sustained energy many matcha lovers have come to adore.
L-Theanine is a calming, soothing amino acid found in tea leaves (and some mushrooms!) and works with neurotransmitters in your brain to regulate mood, appetite, emotions, concentration, energy and other cognitive skills. It also reduces the chemicals in the brain linked to the big bad wolves of stress and anxiety. Combine that with a pep of caffeine, and well, you have a seriously soul-satisfying blend to supercharge you through your day.
It is packed to the rafters with antioxidants:
Antioxidants fight aging. THAT’S IT I’M DONE, article over, you’re sold, right? (Approaching 30 and seeing a few signs of aging on my face, I know I was!)
On the ORAC scale (ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity. Higher numbers contain more antioxidant affects to our body.) Matcha is a whopping 1384. Compare this to spinach at 26, goji berries coming in at a far off second at 253 and pomegranate at 105, the reason why the antioxidant levels in matcha are so high is because it’s the only tea that is prepared using the entire tea leaf. So whilst you’ll get a high of the antioxidants we know and love from green tea, you dispose of half of the good stuff in the tea bag. But don’t go eating green tea leaves now….that’s what makes matcha so amazing!
But not all antioxidants are created equal. Great news for matcha lovers, because among antioxidants like polyphenols and flavonoids – both of which are in matcha too by the way – catechins are the most potent. One specific catechin called epigallocatchin gallate (EGCg) is known for its phenomenal cancer fighting properties and benefits – and guess what? EGCg makes up 60% of the catechins in matcha. So fighting aging, cancer, tissue damage and some inflammatory diseases are amongst matcha’s superpowers. Who needs Superman, when we’ve got MATCHA.
Just call it Immuni-tea.
Those magical antioxidants? They also boost your body’s immune system and together they stand and fight diseases, infections and inflammation. Got a cold? Drink matcha. Struggling with your skin? Drink matcha. In need of a detox? Drink matcha. Matcha is naturally an effective metabolism booster and due to it’s off the charts levels of chlorophyll which give it it’s vibrant green colour, it’s a powerful detoxifier able to remove toxins and even heavy metals (from things like harvested fish where the heavy metal levels are way too high, side note: buy wild, sustainably caught fish whenever possible).
And to top it off, in all it’s green goodness, matcha is full of Potassium (that positively affects blood pressure, risk of heart disease and stroke, arthritis, digestive disorders, and fertility) plus Vitamins A & C, Iron, Protein, and Calcium.
Matcha tea is grown primarily in Japan and is a type of green tea that receives shading during its last few weeks before it’s harvested and made into the fine, glowing green powder we love. This practice causes all sorts of chemical wizardry to occur, which make for a more nutritious tea leaf.
There are two main classifications of matcha: Ceremonial Grade and Food Grade. Now whilst Food Grade is okay, and what you’ll likely find in most cafes matcha lattes and teas, the antioxidant count in Food Grade Matcha just isn’t comparable to Ceremonial Grade.
What’s the diff? Food Grade is made from the mature leaves of the green tea plant and Ceremonial Grade Matcha uses the younger leaves of the green tea plant and it’s what I always choose for my morning matcha elixir. Ceremonial Grade is also smoother to drink and honestly, you absolutely can taste the difference – I’ve tried a number of brands and different grades and keep coming back to the ol’ Rolls Royce of Matcha’s Ippodo. Fresh, ceremonial grade matcha tea will be a vivid, vibrant green, whereas older or lower quality varieties will be rather dull. But sometimes between a daily green juice habit to support and Patch plants to purchase (I’m a real plant lady) you’d rather a well-functioning Toyota, instead of taking the Rolls for a spin. All g, I’ve got you. My rule of thumb is that if you are enjoying matcha with just hot water, absolutely have Jeeves bring around the Rolls. That Ceremonial Grade matcha is what you need.
But if you are enjoying a magical morning potion, like I often do, with adaptogens, coconut butter, collagen, the works, then the highest quality Food Grade matcha you can afford will do the job nicely too.
My theory is always, ALWAYS to choose the highest quality you can afford, as my meditation teacher Jac from The Broad Place so perfectly puts it – invest in ‘High Grade Living’. It’s all about making decisions based on bringing the highest grade into your life at every opportunity.
Prepare it mindfully, intentionally. Appreciate the colour, the taste, delight in every single sip of this incredible anti-aging (YAS!), immune-boosting, cancer-fighting wonderfood. Personally, my morning ritual includes brewing my matcha, sitting in the armchair by the bay windows of our flat and sometimes - if I’m lucky enough - soaking up a pocket of morning sunshine.
The Right Way To Enjoy Matcha
Savoring matcha has long been a ritual – hence Ceremonial Grade matcha, it’s traditionally enjoyed in Japan as part of a tea ceremony.
So for the love of Ippodo, don’t glug it down in a hurry as you rush out the door in the AM on the road to work. Revel in the ritual. Prepare it mindfully, intentionally. Appreciate the colour, the taste, delight in every single sip of this incredible anti-aging (YAS!), immune-boosting, cancer-fighting wonderfood. Personally, my morning ritual includes brewing my matcha, sitting in the armchair by the bay windows of our flat and sometimes if I’m lucky enough, soaking up a pocket of morning sunshine (I live in London, it’s a rarity!) before I journal for 5-10 minutes.
Make your own ritual. If you have kids, set aside some time before they wake just for you. To pause, appreciate, slow down and tune in. In the Ayurvedic tradition, we should all we rising before the sun regardless!
If you’re saying “but I’ve tried matcha and I don’t like it!” I dare you to try my favourite recipe below. I have a notoriously sweet tooth and whilst I still at a medjool date to my morning potion, I’m beginning to find I no longer need it. As with many things, slowly introduce yourself and you’ll come to enjoy this green wonder, I have no doubt about it.
1 teaspoon of Ceremonial Grade matcha powder
1 cup of hot water (not boiling)
1. In your blender add the matcha powder and blend with your hot water.
2. Alternatively, in your matcha mug, mix your powder with a dash hot water and whisk with your bamboo whisk to make almost a ‘paste’.
3. Add the remaining hot water and whisk with the paste until frothy.
Coco's Morning Matcha
1 teaspoon Ippodo matcha powder
½ teaspoon reishi
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 big tablespoon coconut butter
1 cup hot water
1 medjool date
1. Add all ingredients into Vitamix
2. Blend! Blend! Blend!
3. Pour into matcha mug and savour
If you’re thinking Phwoar! Those ingredients are expensive. You’re not wrong, my friend! But they last YONKS. So a one-off purchase lasts me about 3 months (Matcha powder less so as I sometimes use it in smoothies and baking too.)
There you have it! How do you enjoy your matcha? Will you try this recipe?