Matcha and other varieties of green teas have been well-known and well-loved in many Asian countries for centuries. Growing and drinking matcha has been an important part of Japanese culture since Zen Buddhists began growing the leaves at the Kamakura Shogun temples in 1191. However, matcha is notoriously difficult to grow, and it wasn’t until the 19th century that the majority of Japan was able to enjoy it.
Matcha has also seen a recent explosion in popularity in the United States, with many major coffee chains adding matcha and matcha flavored drinks to their menus. For many, matcha is a welcome replacement for their daily coffee. The stimulating, energizing effect of coffee comes from its caffeine, but with the trade-off of a major crash and potential coffee “jitters” while matcha offers a more sustained boost of energy without any of the negative side effects often associated with coffee. So, if matcha is capable of providing the same boost without the jitters, headaches or crashes, how much caffeine does it actually contain?
What is Matcha?
Matcha is a kind of green tea that is grown and prepared in a very labor-intensive and carefully managed way. All this extra attention is used to preserve the nutrients, chlorophyll, and caffeine naturally produces in the tea leaves.
How Matcha is Different from Other Green Teas
Regular green tea is grown in a field, harvested, steamed, and dried. It’s put into bags or sachets for you to enjoy. Matcha is a lot more complicated.
In order to preserve its rich green color and plant-based nutrition, matcha must be grown in the shade for most of its growth process. The leaves are then harvested by hand and steamed to prevent them from oxidizing. Every matcha leaf is individually inspected and graded. Only the most perfect leaves are graded as ceremonial matcha. Other leaves are assigned to varying subgrades of culinary matcha.
The leaves are dried and ground into a very fine powder, rather than placed whole into a bag. This is because you ingest the matcha rather than flavoring water with it as you do with most other teas. This unique method of preparation allows your body to receive all of the nutrients from the plant, rather than just the nutrients that make their way into the water from the teabag.
The Benefits of Matcha
Matcha contains as much as 137 times more antioxidants than regular green tea. These antioxidants, ECGC in particular, are known to help protect the body’s healthy cells from damage caused by free radicals. Matcha contains 17 times more antioxidants than a serving of blueberries and 60 times more antioxidants than a serving of spinach, making this powerhouse one of the most efficient sources of antioxidants to add to your diet.
Quality Impacts Benefits
Lesser quality or culinary-grade matcha will have a different color, texture, aroma, and flavor. Organically grown and carefully harvested ceremonial grade matcha provides the greatest amount of benefits per cup. Snow Monkey sources our matcha from Tenzo, who grows it organically on a volcanic soil farm in Kagoshima, Japan. Tenzo’s matcha process is overseen by a tea master whose family has been producing quality teas for over 400 years.
Snow Monkey believes in using the highest quality ingredients to provide the greatest quality of nutrition. We’re mindful about everything we use to make our plant-based ice cream. Let’s drop the formalities. Tenzo’s matcha is total fire. We really dig it, and we’re endlessly impressed by the quality of the matcha their farming partners are able to produce.
How Much Caffeine is in Matcha?
The matcha Snow Monkey uses contains 36mg of caffeine per serving, which is about ⅓ of the amount of caffeine in a serving of coffee. This amount of caffeine is comparable to the amount of caffeine in half a bar of dark chocolate.
This is not to say caffeine is not bad for you. In fact, research shows that natural caffeine has significant health benefits. The only thing to be mindful of is caffeine sensitivity. Many people who are sensitive to caffeine find that they’re able to enjoy matcha because of the unique way the tea delivers the caffeine to your body.
How Is Matcha’s Caffeine Different?
Matcha’s unique shaded growing process helps the tea plant to preserve its naturally occurring L-Theanine, a helpful amino acid. L-Theanine works to slow the release of caffeine into your bloodstream. It also helps to keep your mind calm as it energizes you. The end result is a slow and steady boost to your energy without the jitters or the caffeine crash.
Other Ways Matcha Works to Energize You
Matcha’s high levels of antioxidant EGCG provide support to your metabolism. When your metabolism is supported, your body is able to effectively create and use energy from the foods that you eat. Some of matcha’s energizing effect comes from its modest levels of naturally occurring caffeine, and the rest is what matcha does to enhance your metabolic wellness.
How To Enjoy Matcha
There are plenty of ways to incorporate the benefits of matcha into your daily diet, even if you aren’t a fan of drinking tea. It doesn’t necessarily matter how you choose to enjoy matcha. As long as you’re consuming a serving of high-quality matcha, your body will be thankful.
Making a Cup of Matcha
Matcha is usually made by combining 1 teaspoon of matcha with 2 ounces of water and whisking it together. This makes a matcha shot that you can dilute with cold water and ice for iced matcha, top off with hot matcha to serve it like coffee, or combine with milk and ice to make an iced matcha latte.
Frozen Matcha Lattes
If you’re looking for a more indulgent way to enjoy matcha, it makes a perfect frozen latte. Combine ½ cup of Snow Monkey Matcha Green Tea vegan ice cream with a splash of your favorite plant milk in a blender, and pulse until smooth. If you want to boost the caffeine and the matcha flavor, add a shot of matcha into the mix. You can also add cold brew coffee, making what’s known as a “dirty” drink.
Mixed Into Foods
Since matcha is a powder, it can easily be mixed into other foods. You can bake with it or add it to protein waffle or pancake batter. You can mix it into spreads like fruit hummus or tahini. It can be added to your favorite plant-based yogurt alternative or chia seed pudding. It’s a highly versatile ingredient, and its perfect flavor balance between sweet and umami makes it a wonderful addition to many recipes.
As a Dessert
You can stick a spoon into a pint of Snow Monkey Matcha Green Tea any time of the day. It may be a dessert, but it’s nutritious enough to eat for breakfast. With over 20 grams of plant protein and a boatload of antioxidants per pint, Snow Monkey’s Matcha Green Tea is a mindful choice to fuel your body with the nutrition it needs to help you take on the day.
We’re matcha lovers at Snow Monkey. So few foods are able to provide such a wealth of beneficial antioxidants. Matcha is one of the most powerful superfoods the earth has to offer. All of our ice cream alternatives are packed with plant-based protein, beneficial plant compounds, and nutrients - meaning they'll nourish your body and your soul.
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