With its increasing popularity, many of us of becoming more familiar with the brighter and distinct style of green tea: matcha. Here are some uncommon facts you might not already know about this fine elixir.
1. While the Japanese have refined and perfected the production of matcha, the origins of matcha actually date back to the Tang dynasty (618-907) in China.
2. The tea plants are shaded from the sun, either directly on top of the plants or with a canopy, for a few weeks before harvest.
3. Shading increases the amount of L-theanine (an amino acid responsible for umami flavor and the feeling of calmness) and chlorophyl (giving matcha its bright green hue) in the leaves.
4. The veins and stems are actually removed from the tea leaves during processing. This allows the leaves to be ground into a very smooth, fine powder, which is matcha.
5. When you drink matcha you are consuming the whole leaf. Because of this, matcha has a much higher caffeine content per 1tsp serving than tea leaves that are steeped in hot water. One teaspoon of matcha will have about the same amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee. However, the high levels of L-theanine in matcha help to give a feeling described as “calm alertness” since L-theanine controls the absorption of caffeine in the bloodstream.