Welcome! If you're interested in simply seeing the brand I recommend for the best organic matcha, it's a pleasure to share Encha Organic Matcha.
What is matcha?
Matcha is a high quality green tea in which the whole leaves are crushed to become a fine-ground powder. Traditionally, it's whisked in a bowl with hot water to become a rich, frothy beverage.
Matcha is special because it's the only form of green tea in which the entire leaf is consumed (as opposed to brewed tea bags which you steep then throw out the bag).
Ingesting the entire leaf makes it an antioxidant powerhouse, providing health benefits that are said to far exceed other teas or beverages.
What is zenergy?
Also exclusive to matcha is "zenergy" - the feeling of being calm yet energized & focused at the same time. This feeling comes from the unique combination of caffeine and theanine.
Theanine (which is not present in coffee) is found in very small amounts in most types of tea… except matcha where it is much higher. This is because matcha green tea plants are deliberately shaded from direct sunlight for 3 weeks before harvest. (Shown in photo below courtesy of Encha.com.)
During this shading, the plant grows more theanine. Theanine (an amino acid) helps induce a state of wakeful calmness. It works its effect in our body more gradually across a longer span of hours, giving that longer-lasting energy without the jitters or crash typical from coffee.
Studies also show theanine is effective at reducing stress and promoting relaxation (without sedation) while improving attention/focus. I've noticed all these effects in my own experience - happy and relaxed, but focused and alert throughout the day.
Matcha Health Benefits
Long ago in ancient civilizations, tea began as a medicine. Only later did it turn into the casual daytime beverage that we enjoy today.
But modern studies continually reveal the wide range of health benefits of matcha. One study states a single cup of matcha contains 137 times more antioxidants than a cup of brewed tea bag.
What's also uniquely special is that matcha contains a certain kind of antioxidant called catechins. (Of all antioxidants, catechins are the most potent and beneficial.) Matcha is especially high in one specific catechin, called EGCG, which is recognized for its cancer fighting properties.
To learn more, please see Encha's Health Benefits page.
Tools You'll Need To Whisk a Bowl of Matcha
You'll need three simple tools to prepare ceremonial matcha:
- Tea bowl (called a chawan)
- Bamboo whisk (called a chasen)
- Teaspoon or measuring scoop (called a chashaku)
Since you'll whisk vigorously to achieve the beautiful froth, it's best to use a wide and deep enough bowl. (If you don't have a matcha bowl, a soup bowl works great.)
How to Whisk Matcha
- Measure 1 teaspoon matcha powder in a tea bowl. (If you're using a bamboo scoop, it's about two scoops.)
- Heat 5 oz. water (~2/3 cup) just under boiling, around 160°F (71°C). Pour it in the bowl with matcha powder.
- Using a bamboo whisk (holding it vertically from the top), stir a few times to make sure all the clumps are off the bottom and side. Then whisk very briskly back and forth in a straight line for about 20-30 seconds. (Take care not to scrape the bottom of the bowl with the delicate bamboo prongs.)
- Finish by whisking in a slower zig-zag pattern to calm the waves and create delicate "microfoam".
Rinse your whisk, and set it upright on the counter for next time (or on a whisk holder if you have one). For a visual, see the short video tutorial below:
Whisking pure matcha is my favorite way to enjoy, but I also like lattes, smoothies, and iced matcha (see recipes below). Some people even cook and bake with it.
One of the great things about matcha is it's versatility. You can enjoy it pure, creamy, or sweet - it's all about finding the best way it fits into your own daily routine.
My Experience with Matcha
Matcha is unlike anything I've ever experienced. It gives me laser-sharp focus and a long-lasting, happy, positive energy. (Zenergy!) My mind is much more relaxed - dissolving negative energy and leaving my thoughts clear for positivity and production.
Before matcha, I rarely drank coffee because it didn't settle well and caused a crash. I've been a long-time fan of regular green and black tea but it doesn't provide the unique zenergy like matcha.
So I often drink matcha in the morning (always right after breakfast, as to not drink on an empty stomach).
My Husband's Experience
(A coffee fanatic turned matcha-lover)
I never thought I'd be able to pry the coffee from my husband's hands long enough for him to try matcha. But he agreed to do a week-long experiment with me to test the effects. Surprising to us both, he loved it.
Now he often whisks matcha in the morning before work to give that calm, steady alertness throughout the day.
One morning he drank matcha before studying, and said he couldn't remember the last time he studied that well. He loves how "clean" matcha feels over coffee.
The Best Organic Matcha
Finding high-quality organic matcha is important. Many companies sell inferior powder, some of which is not organic. As a result, taste and health benefits lack.
Always look for organic matcha that is a bright, vibrant green color. As mentioned, my personal favorite is Encha Organic Matcha. (Not sponsored.)
Encha works directly with the farm in Japan for quality assurance to provide us with the best organic matcha - truly "farm to cup". The Encha team has visibility into the entire process from growing to grinding. (Check out their farm page with a beautiful video.)
Encha's founder, Dr. Li Gong, has a passion for matcha that absolutely radiates, and I admire his focus on creating a matcha community. Visit @MyEncha on Instagram to follow along.
Some of my favorite matcha recipes include:
- Creamy Banana Matcha Smoothie
- Vanilla Soy Matcha Latte
- Tropical Matcha Smoothie
- Coconut Vanilla Matcha Smoothie
- Easy Iced Matcha (Two Ways)
Come join The Garden Grazer on Instagram and share your matcha photos. Cheers and happy whisking!
-Kaitlin | The Garden Grazer