When I switched over from coffee I found that drinking Matcha made me feel very good indeed. Gone were the shakes and the almost dizzy energy spikes from coffee. Along with a healthier eating regime and lifestyle changes the chances are that you'll fall in love with Matcha as part of the 'new you' but that doesn't make it addictive. Unless love is addictive?! But that's getting far too philosophical...
How much can/should you drink per day?
MAD Matcha is a very potent drink. Whilst it gives you a slow release of energy during the day it won't give you the instant buzz of a strong cup of black coffee or an espresso. The average consumption of Matcha is 1-2 cups a day.
Where does your MAD Matcha come from?
The tea plants (Camellia Sinensis) used to make MAD Matcha are grown near Uji, Kyoto, Japan. In the same way that vines are prized for their old age, a typical Matcha tea plant takes 10 to 15 years to come to maturity and when ready, the plants are covered by bamboo shading 4 weeks prior to harvesting. The effect of shading the plants causes a surge in chlorophyll production resulting in very green leaves.
How does MAD Matcha differ from ordinary green tea?
Each of the MAD Matcha powders are actually made from the entire tea leaf. The first plucked leaves are the greenest, those that contain the highest concentration of nutrients, these form our A+ Highest Grade Japanese Matcha powder. But each of our Matcha powders consists on an entire green leaf ground up to an extremely fine powder. When you drink Matcha you actually consume leaf and all of its nutrients. This is why Matcha has such a high concentration of nutrients and anti-oxidants and why a cup of Matcha at least 10 times stronger than a regular "brewed" cup of green tea.
In fact, a recent scientific study comparing Matcha to China tips green tea concluded that Matcha contains 137 times the amount of EGCG which is the most potent anti-cancer catechin found in green tea.
Historically drinking Matcha has been the preserve of the ruling elite in Japan and its prized place was signified by the development of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony surrounding it. Each bowl, (the Japanese Matcha Bowl, a Chawan, has a history and tradition all of its own!), was made with great care and ceremony.
Why haven't I heard about Matcha before?
Matcha is a ceremonial drink that has been consumed in Japan for at least 600 years, mostly by the royal family and religious dignitaries.
Matcha has some of the properties that you already may associate with various types of tea, such as containing caffeine. But Matcha has always been considered unique in Japan for maintaining mental alertness without stressing the body (think the shakes after one too many espressos!). Recently there has been a craze on the West and East Coast of the USA for Matcha and this Eastward passage is now just beginning in the UK. MAD Matcha was started to ensure that only the best quality Matcha powder (and there is a great deal of variation in its quality) makes it to the UK consumer.
Will I be allergic to it?
Does MAD Matcha contain caffeine?
Yes, Matcha does indeed contain caffeine, in fact one cup of matcha contains approximately the equivalent amount of caffeine as a regular cup of coffee (75 mg). There is though a key difference in the way that MAD Matcha interacts with your body.
The caffeine in matcha is assimilated and absorbed very slowly (over 6-8 hours) rather than the quick spike after drinking a cup of coffee. So Matcha will give you a long and sustained energy boost. Also, the high concentration of catechins in matcha slow down the release of caffeine into the bloodstream. As a result, there is no blood sugar spike, insulin increase, or release of the stress hormone Cortisol.
But didn't you say Matcha also helped keep you calm?
Yes, that's right! Whilst caffeine diffuses slow into your bloodstream keeping you mentally alert, there is also a very unique amino acid found only in green tea called L-theanine. This amino acid is found in particularly high amounts in Matcha, and it is responsible for the powerful "calming" effects of Matcha.
What kind of scientific research is there on the benefits of Matcha?
Whilst the West is relatively new to the potent benefits of Matcha clinical research into the benefits of green tea generally have been going on now for some time and these suggest that green tea on its own has some remarkable benefits.
Following the introduction of Matcha into the US though some scientific research is now being conducted and one of the most recent was a study published by the University of Colorado in 2003. This study showed that Matcha contains 137 times more of the anti-cancer substance EGCG, than regular China green tips, brewed green tea. Even more impressive though is a British study into the effects of EGCG which has found it to be such a powerful anti-carcinogen that an entire new family of cancer-fighting drugs is being developed based on it alone.
Will MAD Matcha help me lose weight?
This is a question that requires a multifaceted answer to be accurate but the simple answer is that drinking Japanese Matcha can assist you in losing weight. A recent publication by the American Society of Clinical Nutrition reported that regular consumption of high quality green tea improves the efficiency of energy use in the human body.
How should I store my MAD Matcha once I've opened it?
Like coffee we would suggest you store it in a cool, dry place making sure that the foil packet is rolled up and the lid put back on. You might even pop it in the freezer as you do with coffee to keep it fresh that extra bit longer!
Will I like the taste of Matcha?
This is a very personal question. I must confess that the taste of Matcha is something you will need to get used to. It is a very earthy, pungent flavour and smell but remember back to when you had your first cup of coffee? Did you really like the taste or did you like many of us see it as a necessary evil to help you get to work with energy in the morning? Some people immediately love the taste of Matcha and the sense of well being in knowing how good it is for you. Others will take time to acquire the taste and like coffee over time you start to appreciate the subtle but important differences in different grades and types of Japanese Matcha. I'm certainly happy with the changes that Matcha has brought to my life and I think you will be too.