The unstoppable rise of matcha
What is matcha?
Matcha is a very special form of powdered green tea, that comes from the same plant as regular green and black tea, Camellia sinensis. There is a long history of matcha being used by monks to aid meditation. Matcha tea was brought from China to Japan by a monk in the 12th century. Buddhist monks found that drinking this tea before their afternoon meditations enabled them to be more centred and focused. The traditional Japanese tea ceremony still centres on the preparation, serving and drinking of matcha as a ‘tea meditation’.
Why is Matcha is considered ‘the king of green tea’?
Matcha’s recent rise in popularity in the West is in part due to a better understanding of its health benefits. It contains various compounds that are associated with supporting health, reducing stress and increasing alertness.
For example, green tea and matcha both contain a type of powerful plant compound, known as EGCG, which helps to wake you up, get the brain working faster and stay focused.
Does matcha contain caffeine?
There are quite rightly concerns about limiting caffeine intake for health reasons as high amounts can lead to jitteriness as well as difficulty falling asleep. However, research shows small to moderate amounts can also lift mood. Along with black and green tea, powdered matcha tea does contain caffeine, but in amounts lower than coffee. The caffeine in black, green and matcha tea is also balanced by the actions of another compound called L-theanine. This works with EGCG to balance the effect of caffeine and helps prevent the characteristic ‘crash’ associated with coffee. So matcha allows you to be dynamic whilst also developing a sense of inner peace. It’s the perfect brew for our over-stimulated busy world.
Why not try our ‘Power your Morning’ meditation, along with a cup of Pukka tea with energising matcha, found in blends such as Supreme Matcha Green. You can sip the tea before, during and after your meditation, enjoying its warmth and aromas.
Why is matcha good for you?
The health benefits of matcha tea include (1):
Matcha is a natural energy booster and supports a healthy metabolism.
Matcha helps us feel more alert, enhancing memory and concentration. It also helps counter the effects of stress through its L-theanine content.
Matcha contains powerful ‘polyphenols’, a type of plant compound which supports health such as by protecting against free radical damage.
How we grow our highest quality matcha
The difference between matcha and green tea lies in the unusual cultivation and processing methods. Matcha is derived from young green tea leaf tips. Plants are harvested at a young age and unnecessary fibres from the dried leaves are removed. The first step in processing matcha is to steam the leaves to prevent oxidation. The final step in processing is to grind the leaves into a fine powder. Traditionally, this was done by hand in stone mills. Nowadays it is usually done by machine but our supplier in South Korea uses a stone vortex mill, to produce the highest quality matcha powder. Why not try our Clean Green Matcha tea to make a delicious cold brew drink?
Make mine an organic matcha
At Pukka we believe it is important to ensure your matcha and your green tea (and black teas for that matter) are organic. Every one of our teas is certified organic which means that no artificial chemicals or fertilisers are used in their production. This creates a tea which is not only better for you, but also better for biodiversity.
Dietz C, Dekker M, Piqueras-Fiszman B. (2017) An intervention study on the effect of matcha tea, in drink and snack bar formats, on mood and cognitive performance. Food Res Int. 99(Pt 1):72–83.
Author: Dr Vivien Rolfe
Head of Herbal Research
Viv is a gut physiologist and has recently achieved a Foundation in Herbal Medicine. She leads Pukka’s research programme to explore how herbs can benefit our health and be used to widen healthcare choices. This includes research into herbs for Women’s health and as alternatives to antibiotics. She establishes global research partnerships and enthuses the next generation of scientists through Pukka’s Scholarship Scheme. She is a champion of diversity in science and open access to knowledge.
BSc, PhD, PFHEA
Years of experience:
30+ years in the wellbeing industry and academia
Degree in Physiology University of Sheffield, PhD University of Sheffield, Foundation in Herbalism Heartwood, MBA Entrepreneurship (on-going) Edinburgh Napier University, Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
Membership of Nutrition Society, Physiological Society, Society for Chemical Industry, and other herbal and botanical groups.