If your morning brew is in need of a green upgrade, look no further than the beverage industry’s latest trend: matcha green tea powder. The super healthy, super caffeinated drink has been creeping its way into cafés across the country, but consumers can now enjoy the Japanese export within the comforts of their own home.

Curious about the tea and its amazing healthy properties? We’re here to answer any questions you may have about its history, preparation, and nutritional value.

What is matcha? 

Matcha is a powdered green tea. Produced primarily in Japan, its leaves are deprived of sunlight during the last few weeks of growth, resulting in a brilliant green color that carries increased chlorophyll content.

Where did matcha come from?

Preparation of powdered teas stem from China’s Tang Dynasty (618-907), though matcha was specifically prized by Japan’s Zen monasteries and social elites during the fourteenth to sixteenth centuries.

How is matcha prepared?

Whole leaves (after the shaded growth process) are carefully hand-picked and rolled out to dry. Once this is achieved, stems and veins are removed before the remaining leaf is stone-ground into a fine powder. Only half a teaspoon is necessary to brew a cup of matcha. Since matcha powder is stirred directly into water or milk (as opposed to strained through a tea bag), its taste is more potent than traditional teas.

What are matcha’s health benefits?

Matcha boasts a bevy of proven health benefits. For starters, matcha contains high levels of L-Theanine, an amino acid that balances the tea’s caffeine content. This can help reduce anxiety by inducing calmness without sluggishness. L-Theanine is also healthy for your brain, promoting increased levels of focus and concentration.

Matcha also carries an extremely high antioxidant content. Its polyphenol count (cancer-fighting micronutrients) is said to be 60x that of spinach. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a specific type of polyphenol, has also been proven to help with weight loss by burning stored fat as energy and inhibiting the formation of new fat cells.

How do I make matcha? 

Aside from mixing it into water or milk, matcha can be incorporated into a variety of sweet and savory recipes. We’ve rounded up some of our favorites below.

Raspberry Matcha Muffins

Chowhound

If you’re not a fan of sipping from mugs, get your morning pick-me-up from this quick and delicious breakfast confection. Or at least save this recipe for Christmas. Get our Raspberry Matcha Muffins recipe.

Matcha Hong Kong Egg Waffles

Chowhound

You don’t need to be a gourmet chef to make drool-worthy egg waffles in your own kitchen. In fact, all you need is some time, patience, and a little self-confidence . You can do it!Get our Matcha Hong Kong Egg Waffles recipe.

Matcha Chicken Tenders with Ginger Citrus

Chowhound

Matcha’s versatility extends to crunchy chicken fingers, which makes it nothing less than a superfood to us. This is also a fun way to sneak “greens” into your kids’ diet. Get the recipe.

Matcha Green Tea Popsicles

Feeding Your Beauty

Summer has arrived and you’ve just found yourself a new favorite popsicle. Matcha and cream are a match made in hot weather heaven. Get the recipe.

Matcha Molten Lava Cakes

Kirbie Cravings

These may look like a dessert out of a Dr. Seuss book, but we promise they’re quite delicious. You may even forget that molten lava cakes taste best with chocolate. Get the recipe.

Matcha Banana Bread

Fearless Dining

It may not be green eggs and ham, but we’re sure this matcha banana bread was served as a sweet side to Sam’s famous breakfast. Get the recipe.

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