BEST MATCHA TEA UK 2022 BUYER’S GUIDE
In Japanese cha means “tea,” and ma means “powder,” thus matcha translates to “powdered green tea.” Because the entire leaf is ingested in powder form, it is the most potent green tea in the world. The lack of processing results in extremely high nutrient levels. Matcha is the healthiest form of tea. Today, Japan only exports a very small amount of its production—about 4 % of its precious matcha. Because of its great consumption in Japan, and because very little makes it out of the country, you may have to pay higher prices for this wonderful powdered tea.
Matcha is not only a highly treasured speciality green tea, but it’s also used frequently in traditional Japanese food and baking. Because there are different grades of matcha, you must know which are best to cook and bake with. If you want to just drink matcha and make the classic green tea, highest quality other intermediate quality varieties that are characterized by a more astringent flavour are used. These are still very good; however, the flavour, as well as nutrient content, maybe lower. But we will help you to find the best matcha powder ensuring high-quality organic products.
Matcha Tea Basics
While matcha is predominantly used for drinks such as lattes, milkshakes, and added to meal replacement shakes or ice drinks, you can—and should—use certain matcha grade that will work in an array of different baking recipes.
The two most popular types of matcha are Usucha, or thin tea, which creates a lighter and slightly more bitter tea, and Koicha, or thick tea, which requires significantly more matcha than Usucha to make tea. Koicha is also made with more expensive matcha and produces a milder and sweeter tea than Usucha.
Depending on the leaves used and the way of cultivating matcha, prices may vary. The matcha tea milled using traditional granite stone wheels, and those with deeper greener colours (as well as softest textures) tend to be more expensive and highest in quality.
Making sure the tea was grown and processed in Japan is also very important when obtaining good-quality matcha, so make sure you buy from trusted sources. Matcha can also be produced in China, but shade-grown Japanese tea leaves from tend to be of higher quality.
For drinks and no-bake sweet and savoury recipes, use the best quality matcha you can. The lower grades of matcha are typically more appropriate for cooking and baking. Good-quality drinking matcha will give you a bright green tint; however, while cooking, this tint may turn more of a distinctly yellow/brownish.
A good rule of thumb is to buy matcha that is tightly sealed as well as kept from light, so look for and store containers in which powder cannot be seen. Once the seal is broken and the matcha is exposed to air, it will begin to oxidize. Keep it in the refrigerator to slow this process. Once matcha oxidizes, it will have a distinctive hay-like smell and a dull brownish-green colour. You shouldn’t wait longer than four to six weeks to consume for maximum freshness and best taste.
What Are the Grade to Consider When Purchasing Matcha
1. Ceremonial grade matcha:
This is the highest grade. This type of matcha is best for drinking. It is not recommended to mix with any other foods, however, you may like to use ceremonial matcha for most of your smoothies and drinks as well as no-bake desserts. This is also best for a latte. It is a vibrant green colour.
2. Premium grade:
This is more of an everyday ingredient. It is still very good and easier to find. You can use it for both drinking and cooking.
3. Ingredient grade or cooking matcha:
This is cheaper and is added as an ingredient to foods and beverages. This matcha is blended to provide the colour, aroma, and flavour presence to withstand various processes of cooking. This grade has a stronger flavour to compete with the other flavours in foods and beverages. It is mixed with older tea leaves for this purpose. It is also known as culinary grade matcha. This culinary grade matcha is produced using a blend of 1st and 2nd harvest green tea leaves.
When buying from a reputable source, the seller should be able to distinguish which matcha is better for cooking and baking and which one for just drinking. Make sure you ask questions if you are not sure the products you’re considering are right for what you want to make.
Since matcha contains caffeine and it is both a stimulant and a relaxant, setting a limit to 200 milligrams is recommended. Just one cup of a matcha drink per day will allow you to improve your health as well as mental alertness. Check out our recommended reusable cup which is perfect for tea or coffee. Doctors claim a mere 8 to 10 ounces of green tea a day is beneficial to your health.
Keep in mind that the caffeine amounts can vary slightly depending on the type and quality of matcha used. Koicha (thick matcha) is prepared using double the amount of matcha powder so it would have twice the amount. As a general rule of thumb, there are about 60 milligrams of caffeine per teaspoon of matcha; however, caffeine from matcha is absorbed into the system much slower than caffeine in coffee, as L-theanine in matcha counteracts the stimulating properties of caffeine. Compared to drinking coffee, you will experience a slow and steady release of this stimulant compound by drinking matcha.
For perfect matcha drinks, follow these simple tips:
1. Store the tea in the fridge or freezer to keep it fresh. Before use, restore to room temperature.
2. Water should be hot but not boiling. If you have boiling water, allow it to cool a bit so your matcha will not taste bitter.
3. Bamboo tools and whisks will achieve the best results when mixing matcha.
4. If making iced tea, almond milk or creamer may be added.
Buying directly from a matcha grower or a specialized supplier will ensure the quality. There are many reputable online sources today like Amazon, and here we have listed the top quality ceremonial matcha tea brands in the UK. You can buy these brands confidently and never buy matcha from a local tea shop or Asian grocery store, you run the risk of obtaining unfresh varieties that can produce undesired results.
Best Matcha Tea in the UK 2022
Matcha Health Benefits
Japanese matcha green tea is the finest quality teas available to buy. After years of ongoing research, it has been concluded that green tea has a large number of healthy attributes for the human body. Because of this, we know that incorporating matcha into a healthy lifestyle can add longevity and aid in the fight against diseases. Here’s why:
Green tea contains four powerful flavonoid polyphenol compounds (antioxidants) known as catechins. Catechins are compounds that are unoxidized. Green tea contains about 30 % catechins, whereas black tea contains only 4 % of theaflavins. Both are powerful antioxidants, however, green tea is associated with more beneficial since it has more catechins.
These catechins in green teas are EC (epicatechin), ECG (epicatechin gallate), ECGC (Epigallocatechin gallate), and EGC (Epigallocatechin). Many studies have determined that matcha has 60 % Epigallocatechin gallate. EGCG is tea’s most abundant antioxidant catechin; it is one hundred times more potent than vitamin C, twenty-five times more potent than vitamin E, and may have therapeutic applications in the treatment of many disorders since it aids in the destruction of free radicals.
Even though EGCG is the focus of many scientific studies and has been associated with most of the newly discovered green tea benefits, there is also evidence that ECG is potent, as well. We also know that matcha has about six times the amount of antioxidants of goji berries, sixty times that of spinach, and seventeen times the amount of blueberries. Catechins aren’t found in any other foods.
There are many food items such as dark chocolate, green leafy vegetables, and some raw organic fruits that contain antioxidants; however, matcha has the highest level of antioxidant content compared to all of these foods.
Antioxidants help you fight disease and add to your longevity because they work against free radicals in the body. They have damaged cells that are unstable and can be problematic because they are missing a critical molecule. These can often injure cells and damage DNA, which in turn can create disease by initiating mutations and uncontrolled cell growth, sometimes causing cancer.
Antioxidants are involved in the prevention of cellular damage; they block the process by neutralizing these unstable atoms. In doing so, the antioxidants themselves become oxidized. That is why there is a constant need to replenish our antioxidant resources and why antioxidants are so crucial to our health. Antioxidants will help you against ageing, but most importantly, they will help you fight disease.
While there are several types available in the UK today, matcha powder is the one specially designed for cooking purposes. Because matcha is ground into a fine powder, you end up ingesting the entire leaf. It is the only tea leaf in the world that can be consumed in its entirety. This process allows you to obtain all of the polyphenols of matcha.
As a rule, the lighter the green matcha varieties, the sweeter the taste, and the darker matcha the varieties, the more astringent they are. Matcha can be used both in savoury food and in desserts.
Some top health benefits of consuming matcha green tea powder are:
1. It is packed with antioxidants
Out of all the antioxidants, EGCG is the most widely recognized for its cancer-fighting properties. Scientists have found that matcha green tea contains over one hundred times more EGCG than any other tea on the market. As a result, this is the most potent cancer-fighting ingredient in the market today. As mentioned before, EGCG and other catechins counteract the effects of unpaired electrons and disease-causing agents from the likes of pollution, UV rays, radiation, and chemicals, which can lead to cell and DNA damage, causing mutations.
2. Fights against viruses and bacteria
The catechins in matcha green tea have been shown to have antibiotic properties. Green tea may keep the immune system prepared to fend off attacks from bacteria and other pathogens, which promotes overall health. In other words, it helps you enhance your immunity.
As I mentioned, matcha contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is also effective in fighting against various bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. Through research, it has been suggested that EGCG binds to the lipid membrane and exerts inhibitory action against the growth of various human pathogens such as influenza A virus, hepatitis B and C virus, herpes virus, adenovirus Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, and Candida albicans yeast. More research has also proposed that the nutrients in matcha may have the ability to inhibit the attacks of HIV on human T-cells.
3. Boosts metabolism and burns calories
Matcha has been found to be an energy booster that improves physical endurance in athletes. It goes as far as helping speed recovery in athletes who focus on high-intensity workouts as well as showing reverse cellular damage. Because the powder contains one of the highest levels of catechins, there is reason to assume that a cup of matcha regularly can greatly aid in workout recovery as well as encourage strength at a cellular level.
Matcha is also known for its power of boosting the metabolism and burning fat. Research has found that consuming green tea increases thermogenesis. Matcha green tea can enhance both resting metabolic rate and fat burning.
4. Creates a sense of calm
L-theanine, it is also another component of matcha green tea powder. L-theanine is an amino acid with psychoactive properties, capable of inducing alpha wave activity in the brain, which induces relaxation without the inherent drowsiness or nervous energy caused by other downers such as coffee.
5. May lower cholesterol and blood sugar
Matcha is known for lowering bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) as well as improve insulin sensitivity in type-2 diabetes. Green tea polyphenols and polysaccharides are the components that are effective in lowering blood sugar. Polysaccharides in green tea possess the same ability to regulate sugar level as insulin does.
If you are looking to lower your cholesterol, you should drink green tea in combination with avoiding high-cholesterol foods. While matcha powder is in no way a magic bullet, in combination with healthy lifestyle choices, this powerful ingredient can aid in lowering cholesterol.
6. Powerful detoxifier
Matcha is also a powerful detoxifier. Because matcha is grown in the shade, it is richer in chlorophyll than any other green tea. This chlorophyll content aids in the ability to clear the body of toxins and heavy metals, such as aluminium, lead, mercury, poisons, dioxins, and hormone disrupters. Matcha is a superior daily detox that de-acidifies the body, restores its natural pH balance, and cleans and purifies the blood.
7. Perfectly balanced energy booster
High-grade matcha green tea provides a well-balanced energy boost for your morning ritual. For centuries, matcha green tea has been used to create a sense of alertness while the body feels calm and relaxed, enhancing energy without the jitters. It contains a healthy form of the stimulant compound not to be mistaken with the one present in regular coffee. This unique form of caffeine, known as theine, is derived from the tea plant Camellia sinensis. Half a teaspoon of matcha contains approximately 35 milligrams of caffeine, which is significantly less than coffee, which contains 80 to 150 milligrams.
Due to its unique combination of phytonutrients, the matcha is assimilated in a very different and much healthier way. The stimulant properties in matcha bind to its larger catechin molecules and is released into the bloodstream slowly over time as the catechins are broken down and assimilated. This slow-release supports the functionality of adrenal glands and maintains optimum hormonal levels in individuals, impacting cortisol in particular. The result produces sustained energy for three to four hours. This mechanism also prevents insulin and cortisol spikes typical of coffee intake, so the “crash” that occurs when sugar levels drop simply does not happen.
8. Lose weight faster
When it comes to boosting metabolism and helping with weight loss naturally, few things are more beneficial than matcha green tea’s high concentration of catechins. A 1999 study featured in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrates that green tea extract rich in catechins has thermogenic properties and promotes fat oxidation beyond that explained by the tea’s caffeine content. This study found that matcha green tea can increase thermogenesis from a typical 8 to 10 % of daily energy expenditure to between 35 to 43 % of daily energy expenditure. This is why matcha is best if you want to lose weight.
9. Other benefits
In addition to providing exceptional amounts of high antioxidant compounds such as catechins and polyphenols, matcha is also rich in vitamins (A, B-complex, C, E, and K). Matcha contains minerals such as manganese, potassium, calcium, and phosphorous, which are biological regulators. In addition, it is also rich in insoluble fibre and has practically no calories.
If you haven’t tried matcha before, it’s worth making a cup of tea as a starting point before going on to other drinks and dishes. This will give you a good idea of its consistency and how it blends. Although matcha is a powder, it has an extremely dense consistency that lumps together when added to other ingredients. When mixing with liquids, such as milk hot water, yoghurt or syrup, always start by whisking the matcha in a small bowl or cup with a little of the liquid.
A very small balloon whisk or matcha whisk is ideal. If you don’t have one, use a fork but try to eliminate the lumps before adding more liquid or other ingredients so your dish doesn’t end up looking speckled. Matcha can also be mashed up with butter or other dry ingredients before combining with further ingredients in a recipe.