Green tea has played a huge part in eastern medicine concerning good health, cardiovascular disease, anti-aging, brain function, and longevity of life for centuries, and it’s not new to us here, but what do we really know about this elixir and all of its health, beauty, and anti-aging benefits?
what is green tea?
Green tea isn’t far away from the slightly more common black tea we are used to having with breakfast. Originating in China, it starts its journey as green tea leaves, and buds from the Camellia Sinensis plant often referred to as the ‘tea plant”.
Green tea is first recorded around 5000 years ago and is one of the oldest types of Chinese tea. Thus, making this type of tea one of the oldest in the world.
The only difference between creating green tea and black tea is that green tea leaf has not undergone the same oxidation and withering process as black tea, which retains more antioxidant qualities and health benefits.
Green tea also contains less caffeine than black tea but more L-theanine, an amino acid that’s both calming and can balance the effects of caffeine. The combination of caffeine and L-theanine has been shown to improve brain function by strengthening working memory and attention.
So if you’re looking for your morning or afternoon perk without the jitters, green tea can be your answer.
Green tea comes in many varieties; there is so much to choose from and many ways to enjoy it. I think there’s something for everyone, so here’s my guide on everything green tea.
Green tea is so versatile. It can be bottled, sweetened with sugar or an artificial sweetener, and available in loose-leaf form, single tea bags, as well as instant powder form!
The Health Benefits of Drinking Green Tea
You’ll be amazed at the potential health benefits surrounding green tea consumption and the effects it can have on your body. It’s loaded with antioxidants that, although there is limited evidence, may not only improve brain function but also help you lose weight and protect against some cancers, as some clinical studies have shown.
In a recent study in Taiwan, it was found that smokers who never had drunk green tea had higher odds of developing lung cancer than those who drink several cups per day.
A few studies suggest that green tea consumption may have beneficial effects on heart disease risk factors, including blood pressure and cholesterol.
If that wasn’t enough, Green Tea could help reduce dark circles around the eyes. Fact!
Green Tea Studies
Studies have also shown that green tea can improve insulin levels, insulin sensitivity and even help reduce blood sugar levels.
There are numerous potential ways this beverage has been shown to benefit our physical health!
The only noteworthy and common adverse effects of consuming green tea are central nervous system stimulation from caffeine content and gastrointestinal upset (similar side effects related to chilies, black tea, and coffee!). If you have a caffeine sensitivity, you might want to consume it in smaller amounts, although there is a significant caffeine reduction in Green Tea vs. Coffee.
Green Tea Catechins
What are green tea catechins?
Catechins are a type of phenolic compound found in tea, berries, and cocoa that usually have fairly potent antioxidant activity. This is especially true for epigallocatechin gallate.
Antioxidants are found in many everyday foods, and they help to fight back against cell damage. For example, green tea Catechins are natural antioxidants that can reduce the formation of free radicals within your body, protecting cells and molecules from any harmful effects. Free radicals play a key role in aging as well as other diseases like cancer or diabetes.
Top 7 Health benefits of drinking green tea
1 - It can reduce bad breath
The catechins in green tea can also have oral health benefits.
While this may be the most trivial thing on this list, studies have shown that catechins can suppress the growth of bacteria. This potentially lowers the risk of infections!
Catechins present in gree tea are able to inhibit the growth of oral bacteria. Studies have shown that this may reduce bad breath as a happy side effect.
2 - fat loss
If you take look at the ingredients for any fat burning supplement, there’s a good chance that green tea will be listed. This is because according to research, green tea can increase your metabolism and help you burn fat.
The caffeine present in green tea may also improve physical performance by mobilizing fat from the adipose tissue and making it available for use as energy
3 - Improves brain function
Green tea can do more than just keep you awake and alert, it may also be able to help boost your brain function. The key ingredients that can help with this is caffeine.
Caffeine is a drug that affects the brain by blocking an inhibitory neurotransmitter called adenosine. in doing this, it increases the firing of neurons as well as the concentration of things like dopamine and norepinephrine.
But, caffeine isn’t the only brain-boosting compound in green tea. It also contains amino acid L-theanine, which can cross the blood-brain barrier and increase the activity of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA. This can have great anti anxiety effects.
On top of that, it also increases dopamine and alpha waves in the brain.
Studies have shown that L-theanine and caffeine can work synergistically. This means when the two are combined, their effects in improving brain function will be even more powerful than if they were taken separately
4 - It Helps Protect against Cancer
Cancer is caused not only by uncontrolled growth of cells, but also from oxidative damage that can lead to chronic inflammation and a cascade effect leading up to cancer. Antioxidants are very important in helping reduce the effects of this damage on our bodies.
Studies have shown that antioxidant rich foods like green tea help protect against these types of damages because they provide extra protection for your body’s tissues.
5 - It can Protect the Brain From Aging
Could green tea be the key to brain health?
Green Tea might not just help you focus at work today, but it could also protect your cognitive abilities as you age.
Several studies show that the catechin compounds in green tea can have various protective effects on neurons. Some notable effects of catechins, when consumed daily by aged mice, show that they may delay memory regression. This shows that green tea catechins are expected to have beneficial effects on brain functions.
6 - It Helps prevent type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes case rates have increased in recent years. The condition now affects about 1 in 10 Americans.
Type 2 diabetes can occur as a result of insulin resistance or an inability to produce it. This causes elevated blood sugar levels. Studies show that green tea may help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels.
Another study in Japanese individuals found that those who drank the most green tea had around a 42% lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
7 - It Helps prevent cardiovascular disease
Cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease, and stroke, are a big cause of health concern worldwide.
Green tea has been shown to help people lower the risk of these diseases and other illnesses. Studies show that it helped improve total cholesterol levels.
Furthermore, epidemiological studies suggest that green tea has been found to play a role in heart health by reducing certain risk factors that cause heart disease and may even help prevent strokes, cardiovascular disease and improve cardiovascular health.
matcha Green Tea
Ok, I’m starting with a prevalent variety of green tea – Matcha.
What is matcha? I hear you ask; Matcha is a kind of green tea that goes through a process of being ground down to a wonderful silky powder and removing the veins and stems from the leaves. During this process, the entire leaf is ground down into a fine powder.
To give it its purity, the leaves used for matcha are specially grown in the shade for three to four weeks before they are picked.
Once this process of turning the leaves into this gorgeously green soft fine powder has been completed, it’s ready for you to use and include in many different styles of drink and even desserts!
One of the best recipes is simple: Matcha Green tea powder, warm water, and frothed milk – so simple and so delicious.
How to make matcha tea
Let’s start with how to make the most simple matcha recipe, a bowl of matcha tea.
Traditionally in Japan, Matcha is part of a tea ceremony where there is a time-honored performance and presentation of the Matcha. Steeped in tradition but something you can easily replicate for yourself or your guests in your home.
Due to its potential health benefits, including possible prevention of many diseases and supporting cognitive function, regular consumption of matcha may positively affect physical and mental health. It may also lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
You will need a couple of things to start making matcha at home, starting with a matcha bowl. This is both the drinking receptacle and the thing you use to mix the matcha and create the drink.
A simple way to begin is with a matcha set which you can buy on amazon for next-day delivery.
I love this beautiful traditional handmade ceramic matcha bowl set which includes a matcha whisk, whisk holder bamboo spoon for the perfect amount of matcha to be used every time, and of course, a delightfully traditional designed matcha bowl in blue.
The design takes inspiration from nature, specifically from the crashing, soothing waves of the sea, and transforms it into smooth lines. Fired in high temperatures making the porcelain harder and more resistant to cracking. Perfect for hot or cold food and drink but especially for your steaming hot foamy cup of matcha. This matcha bowl is easy to clean and dishwasher safe, so you know this will last you a long time and make the perfect gift for a loved one or simply treat yourself.
priming your matcha bowl
The ritual of making a bowl of matcha for yourself is a true experience in self-care. To make the perfect bowl of matcha tea, you take your matcha bowl and prime it with boiling water, meaning you pour in a little hot water, roll it around the bottom and then pour the water away. Once you have done this, your matcha bowl is primed and ready to create a delicious and healthy uplifting drink.
Lets start making matcha
Your next step is to take one large scoop of matcha powder with your bamboo matcha spoon and pop it in the bottom of the bowl. (Sometimes, to make sure the matcha is extra smooth, you can sift it through a small tea or baking sieve, but you don’t always have to do this step, especially if the matcha you have bought is high quality and extra silky smooth).
Now you take your boiling water again – the ideal temperature for matcha is 80 degrees celsius, and pour directly into the bowl covering the matcha but not filling the bowl up; you only want to fill the bowl up about a third.
Next is the fun bit. It’s time to use your matcha whisk.
We need to whisk matcha to make sure we fully dissolve it into the hot water and create that, Instagram-worthy top layer of delicious matcha foam!
This requires a lot of strong wrist action, but luckily not for a very long time, as over whisking can cause the matcha to become bitter. To whisk matcha, you need to make an M shape in the bowl rather than the traditional round O motion you’d normally make with a western whisk. This is to achieve that wonderful light, fluffy top layer of matcha foam.
Now you are ready to drink! It is said that the proper way to enjoy matcha this way is with three sips cupping both hands around the bowl, and I must say, having tried this method myself, it is incredibly soothing and comforting. I feel that carrying out this traditional ritual connects me to a deeper sense of wellness and history which feels quite wonderful, and I implore you to try it for yourselves.
Japanese tea ceremony
If you are lucky enough to have a few friends that will enjoy matcha with you, then once you have become a master, you can perform a tea ceremony for them.
A traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony celebrates the bringing together of people, which let’s admit we have sorely missed over the past year! I personally love to entertain, and if I can incorporate well-being into it, even better. The spirit of giving and providing for the people you love lies deep in the ancient tea ritual, and I truly cherish the moments I can provide for my friends and family. I can’t think of a better way to share the experience of self-care, care for one another and the community than a tea ceremony.
You will need a few matcha bowls to go around for this kind of affair, and thank goodness for Amazon. I found sets of 5 traditional matcha bowls made in Japan but able to ship to your house within the next day or two on amazon, no compromise made on authenticity or delivery here!
They fit my taste perfectly!
Each matcha bowl is individual, special, one of a kind and perfectly imperfect, celebrating true Wabi Sabi style.
A truly special addition to any collector, or even as a unique and thoughtful wedding gift, these sets will add pure one-of-a-kind style, calming energy, and balance to your or your gift recipient’s home.
Wabi-Sabi is the Japanese life philosophy teaching us to appreciate the beauty in imperfection, the natural world around us, and take a minute to be still, present, and in the moment. Steeped in the ancient ways of tea with the principles of harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility to help guide us to a slower-paced appreciation of the transience of life; how precious, beautiful, and perfectly flawed it is.
So now you know how to make matcha in its most simple form. You have the base for many other recipes, including the ever-growing, more popular; Matcha Latte.
There’s nothing quite like a Starbucks Iced Matcha Latte with coconut milk for me. It’s my go-to drink every time I go to Starbucks.
What you need to look out for when purchasing matcha for that real authentic taste plus health and weight loss benefits is ‘Organic Ceremonial Grade Matcha’ if you want to avoid added sugar and carbohydrate filled ‘fluffers’ or bulking agents to bring the weight of the product up, the real ceremonial grade matcha is what you are looking for Not to mention that cheap imitations taste bitter, have rougher textures and as mentioned above, none of the health benefits, and all of the added sugars – no thank you!
I like my matcha like I like my interior design, clean, fresh, and pure.
But before I dive into this recipe, let’s talk about the type of Matcha you need to buy and what you need to know. As with anything that grows in popularity, cheap imitations eventually end up on the market and can give a bad rep for the real thing. Trust me. If you get the right matcha powder, it’s so delicious.
Finding the Best Matcha Powder for what you want
It important that you find a quality matcha powder if you are looking to drink it on its own. Your tastes and palate are yours alone, so if you aren’t keen on one brand, there may be another one out there that’s perfect for you.
There are two main grades of matcha: ceremonial and culinary.
There are five additional categories within the culinary grade green tea powder: premium, café, classic, ingredient, and kitchen-grade.
But what does each grade mean?
Ceremonial grade matcha powder is the highest quality available. It was created to use in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. Therefore, it is considered to be a luxury or high-end product.
Its flavor is sweet and mild in comparison to other grades.
While the ceremonial grade is considered a high-quality powder, Culinary Grade isn’t a lower quality product. The main difference is its flavor profile; it’s usually more robust and bitter on the palate. This makes it better for use in smoothies, lattes, and baked goods.
If you’re making a smoothie or latte, premium grade is the best powder for the job. It has that characteristic bright green color and a fine texture which helps it break up better in water. In addition, premium is a good substitute for ceremonial as it’s usually at a much lower cost, making it great for everyday use.
This powder uses less delicate leaves than the premium and ceremonial grade powders, giving it a slightly stronger flavor. As the name suggests, it is widely used in cafés for lattes, coffee beverages, smoothies, and other blended drinks. In addition, it is often used in cooking and baking due to its stronger flavor and its ability to maintain that signature green color.
The classic grade matcha powder has a fine texture and a bright color, much like the ceremonial grade. However, the key characteristic is that it is much more economical than its counterparts. In addition, it has a distinct strong flavor, balancing both bitter and creamy flavor profiles. Perfect for matcha lovers!
As the name would suggest, this matcha powder is best used as an ingredient in recipes. It has a thicker consistency than both the café and classic powders, making it the perfect inclusion to dairy recipes like lattes, iced frappuccinos, and even ice cream! And if you’re looking for that perfect accompaniment to your dessert, it’s especially good in sweet sauces. Yum.
Like ingredient grade, kitchen-grade matcha powder is made with less delicate leaves and thicker consistency than other forms of matcha. As a result, it works especially well for large-scale food production.
Check out this article from Matcha Bears to find out more about the different grades of Matcha Tea Powders.
For this recipe, what you need to look out for when purchasing matcha for that real authentic taste plus health and weight loss benefits is ‘Organic Ceremonial Grade Matcha’ if you want to avoid added sugar and carbohydrate filled ‘fluffers’ or bulking agents to bring the weight of the product up, the real ceremonial grade matcha is what you are looking for – not to mention that cheap imitations taste bitter, have rougher textures and as mentioned above, none of the health benefits, and all of the added sugars – bleugh!
I love this limited edition set from Jade Leaf Matcha featured above which you can find on amazon.
It’s an Organic, Ceremonial Grade Certified Matcha and comes as a tasting set with rare single-origin matcha. The set includes three selections of special reserve organic matcha, a reusable amber glass jar for storage, and a tasting guide so you can learn all about matcha and what flavors work best for you. All packaged in a custom Japanese woodwork box for an extra touch of luxury and traditional Japanese etiquette, and elegance. For true matcha lovers AND beginners, this really is a magnificent matcha set.
Another great option for some high-quality Ceremonial Grade Matcha is from a favorite company of mine, T2.
You can also find their matcha on amazon!
This matcha is a regular staple in my house as I drink a cup a day, so I always need some close by. This ceremonial grade organic smooth matcha from T2 is delicious and so fine you do not even have to sift it. It comes in a lovely black tin tea caddy for the freshest, cutest storage too.
Matcha Latte Recipe
Now let’s get onto that recipe, huh?!
To make your matcha tea latte, you will need your pre-brewed bowl of matcha which you made earlier, and a milk of your choice. (If you’re making an iced matcha latte, then you will need ice!) I always choose coconut milk because it’s delicious, sustainable and naturally compliments the taste of matcha, bringing out a subtle sweetness without added sugar.
I am going to tell you two simple ways to achieve that Starbucks style at home.
First, the standard way.
Pour your pre-brewed matcha into the bottom of a heat-proof glass or mug of your choice and then fill the rest of your heat-proof glass or mug with your heated milk of choice and stir or you can give it a whisk with a miniature electric drink whisk.
You can either heat the milk in a pan or a heatproof jug in the microwave.
For an iced matcha latte, you need to fill your glass with lots of ice, pour over your pre-brewed bowl matcha (I like to call this my matcha shot!), and then pour over your cold milk of choice and enjoy!
Below I will tell you the second way to that I make iced matcha lattes.
I call this the sneaky or lazy way, although it is my favorite but only possible if you have an aeroccino milk frother.
I am an absolute slave to my Nespresso VertuoPlus with Aeroccino Milk Frother. I’ll admit it; it’s an addiction I can’t live without. I’m gonna say it, It’s the best home pod espresso machine out there, it’s the OG, and there’s a reason why it’s still number 1.
Reaching further than just making espressos now, it can make a huge range of different artisan coffees *whispers* – sometimes better than your local barista… so many flavors and strengths to suit everybody, from decaf to rocket fuel.
Using sustainably sourced suppliers and even having their own pod recycling scheme where they provide the recycling bags for you for free and pick them up for free!
I honestly believe a kitchen isn’t complete without a Nespresso machine in it, sort of like a microwave, but much, much better.
You might be thinking, why is she talking about an espresso machine in an article about green tea? Well, we’re really here to talk about the Nespresso Aeroccino Milk Frother. My one true love.
The variety of different drinks you can make in that genius little machine is amazing, including a no-effort delicious Hot Chocolate!
As I said, the possibilities are endless. Hot or cold, this little machine is fabulous.
I like to call mine ‘Old Faithful’ due to its nature of never letting me down, always bringing me joy, and impressing my guests. I’ve had other affairs with frothers, and let me tell you, they did not end well.
“How do you make the best matcha latte at home?”
I hear you ask, well, with great ease if you have this Aeroccino.
As I said earlier I love my matcha latte iced, and with coconut milk for the best flavor. To make the drink I put my coconut milk in my Nespresso Aeroccino Milk Frother up to the max fill line on the inside, I put in about two scoops of matcha, as the volume of liquid it’s being mixed into is much larger than a normal matcha bowl, and then I press the cold foam/blend button and walk away.
While I wait a couple of minutes for the machine to do its job I fill my favorite large glass with ice, and when it’s ready I simply pour the super-chilled smooth frothy, creamy, matcha latte over my ice and indulge in the most calming, refreshing, revitalizing drink ever.
These stunning mouth-blown, art deco-inspired glasses are nothing short of amazing. Each glass in the Avenue collection is hand-cut with contemporary vertical lines, which will catch the light in the most sophisticated way. Whether you buy these for yourself or a gift, you would be hard-pressed to find somebody who won’t appreciate this craftsmanship.
The caffeine in matcha is a slow-release rather than coffee, where you get a burnout after about 20 minutes. Matcha has been known to increase productivity in the workplace and accelerate focus and brain function due to its high levels of l-theanine, a unique compound proven to reduce stress levels and even create a state of calm, clarity, and focus.
When this compound is combined with the slow-release caffeine in matcha, it balances out the hasher effects of caffeine and can actually improve cognitive function.
For my everyday mid-morning or late afternoon slump when I need my boost the most while working, I always turn to the Holy Grail of calm, efficient energy – Matcha.
FAQs on Green Tea and Matcha Green Tea
What are Matcha tea’s side effects?
Matcha green tea is completely safe to consume. However, there are potential, extremely rare, effects to be aware of with caffeine sensitivity: Matcha contains caffeine, just like coffee and other teas.
When is the best time to drink green tea?
Green tea is best consumed first thing in the morning and before an exercise. The ideal approach to start your day is to replace your cup of coffee with a cup of green tea.
Should we drink green tea empty stomach?
Green tea has a very rare probability to cause stomach distress if consumed on an empty stomach. Green tea should be consumed in between meals or after a meal to receive all the benefits green tea has to offer.
Does Green Tea Contain Caffeine, and how Much Caffeine Does it Contain?
Green Tea does indeed contain caffeine! It is often touted as the healthier option for a caffeine fix, and since it’s made with leaves, not beans, you get all of those little micro-nutrients that coffee can’t offer.
We’ve been taught to think that green tea doesn’t contain large amounts of Caffeine, so we pass on this light, refreshing drink in favor of our favorite dark roast or strong black brews.
Although it doesn’t contain large amounts of caffeine, it can, on average, contain a typical range of 30 to 50 mg, which is more than enough, especially if you’re trying for a caffeine reduction in your life.