Matcha is the new trend that’s sweeping North America, not just amongst tea enthusiast but also those interested in living healthy. Unlike the other trends Matcha is here to stay. Matcha is actually tea, and I don’t think tea is ever going to go away.
As you may or may not know Matcha is a powdered green tea that comes from Japan. In layman’s terms it’s just the actual green tea leaf grounded down into a fine powder. I’m not going to get into the particulars about how it’s exactly grown and how it’s made, you can read about that in a previous post. This post is going to discuss the differences between Matcha and loose leaf tea.
One of the glaring differences when dealing with Matcha over regular loose leaf tea is the fact that you do not have to steep Matcha. You essentially mix it with your water or liquid and can consume it immediately whereas with loose leaf tea you have to steep it in hot water and wait to extract the flavor and nutrients from the leaves. This in turn helps Matcha become such a versatile tea in terms of using it as an ingredient and not only for consuming it as traditional tea. When using loose leaf teas to flavor items often times you must infuse the tea with the other ingredients or steep the leaves in water then adding it to your other ingredients. By using regular loose leaf tea you might get as much flavor out of the tea if you have to steep it in water, and additionally it is more time consuming to do so. Matcha on the other hand can be treated like a dry ingredient and directly add it with your ingredients and mix them together. Since Matcha is so easy to use many products and items that are green tea flavored utilize Matcha (i.e. ice cream, lattes, smoothies, cakes, macaroons, etc.).
The next main difference between Matcha and loose leaf tea is the amount of nutrition you receive when consuming the two side by side. When you consume Matcha or anything containing Matcha, then you are essentially consuming the whole tea leaf since Matcha is made by grinding green tea leaves into a powder. Loose leaf tea must be steeped in hot water and whatever nutrients that are extracted during the steeping process is what you in turn ingest. When you drink a cup of Matcha you are consistently ingesting the same amount of nutrients as the nutrients are dependent on how much powder you use. Loose leaf tea on the other had have more variants that can effect how much nutrients you get from the tea like; amount of tea you steep, the temperate of water used to steep the tea, or even the amount of time you steep the tea for. It is said that it takes 10 cups of regular steeped green tea to be equivalent to one cup of Matcha in terms of health benefits. But with loose leaf teas you are only able to receive the water soluble nutrients, unlike Matcha where you are also getting the water insoluble nutrients. It’s a prime example of the old adage, “it’s better to eat an orange than drink just orange juice” where you get the wholefood content from Matcha compared to loose leaf tea.
Below you will see a pie chart illustrating the wholefood context. The graph represents all 100% nutritional content from green tea leaves. The small portion that is labeled 35% represents the water soluble nutrients from the full leaf. In order to receive all the water soluble nutrients you must infuse the same loose leaves a minimum of three times, but most people only infuse the tea leaves once making up only roughly 10% of the complete nutrients from a tea leaf. The bigger portion that represents 65% of green tea is the water insoluble nutrients. With one cup of Matcha you are able to take in all 100% nutrients from the tea. With loose leaf tea you are only taking in; amino acids, catechins, water soluble vitamins, and water soluble fiber. With Matcha you are taking all that in plus; chlorophyll, vitamin A, vitamin E, proteins, minerals, and water insoluble fibers.
In recent years many studies have been showing the many health benefits of green tea and tea in general. As illustrated above you can see Matcha is even more so, and in turn that is why there are many public figures including Dr. Oz endorsing Matcha green tea for its many health benefits. If you like tea or are looking for a new healthy beverage then give Matcha a try, you just mind find that it’s your cup of tea.