At Dirt Queen - we love matcha because it's a tasty way to stay alert, keep calm, and help you keep your focus.
- It helps you keep calm with it's naturally occurring amino acid - L-Theanine - no coffee jitters.*
- L-Theanine has been shown in studies to decrease anxiety by increasing the activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA. (1) (2)
- GABA is a neurotransmitter naturally occurring in tea and is said to help relieve anxiety, promote sleep and help with digestion and weight loss.*
- It enables you to stay alert with its naturally occurring small amount of caffeine.*
- Caffeine + L-Theanine together may have some tremendous synergistic effects helping with attention and task performance* (3) (4)
- It contains Catechins, which are essentially natural antioxidants that help prevent cell damage and provide other benefits.* (5)
- It contains EGCG, which may have a slew of health benefits, including - anti-inflammatory properties, support of healthy blood sugar levels, and more.* (6)
First - let's address what matcha is. Matcha is a green tea plant that has been shade-grown 3-4 months before harvest. The shade growing process makes the plant rich in the amino acid L-Theanine. L-Theanine helps contribute to the tea’s flavor and the calming effects of the tea when digested.
When the green tea plant is harvested - the leaves are cut very carefully to remove the veins and stems. Removing the veins and stems is part of the reason for the cost of "ceremonial grade matcha" - there isn't a lot of the plant left after it’s processed. The leaves are dried and ground into a fine powder.
(Side Note: The term "ceremonial grade" is debated, there is no industry standard when it comes to "ceremonial grade," so be wary of marketing discussing "ceremonial grade." Typically - ceremonial grade should be the first harvest. This harvest typically has the best taste.)
When serving - typically, a teaspoon is sifted into a bowl or cup. We can't recommend sifting enough. Sifting your matcha helps removes clumps. Clumps don't go away with whisking. You want your matcha powder to clump because this stickiness is a sign of freshness, but you want to remove the clumps by sifting because they will taste gross in your cup.
A 1/4 cup of warm water is added, and then it is recommended to whisk in a z formation extremely fast for 1-2 minutes. Then more water and/or milk of your choice is added to taste. For high-end matcha, we recommend trying without milk to get the full nuance of the matcha taste.
The health benefits of matcha are excellent. It can help with everything from keeping you more focused, a natural source of antioxidants and a great replacement for a cup of coffee in the morning.
For first-time matcha drinkers interested in matcha’s tastes and nuances, we recommend starting with something by Ippodo - we think their Horai blend is an excellent choice for beginners. Ippodo has a tea plantation in Japan that’s been in their family since the 1700s. We are honored to carry their tea.
For people who are more interested in the health benefits - we recommend Ujido’s ceremonial blend. We started carrying this because it’s great for adding to smoothies or other breakfast beverages. You can also drink it on its own as a matcha latte. The blend uses 1st harvest ceremonial-grade matcha and 2nd harvest high-end culinary grade.