What is matcha green tea?
Matcha is 100% natural, organic green tea leaves which have been carefully ground down to form a fine powder.
It has been drunk in Japan as part of the tea ceremony for almost 900 years, and is used by Buddhist monks to keep them alert, awake and focused during long days of meditation.
Until recently, virtually all matcha has been consumed within Japan, where it's particularly popular among students who are cramming for exams. But it’s now gaining popularity in the UK, too, and it can be found in cafes, health food shops and smoothie bars.
We like to think of matcha as a sort of superhero amongst teas, as it’s super-concentrated and packed full of the goodness we need to help keep us looking and feeling happy and healthy.
The tea leaves are grown under cover for the last two weeks of cultivation to produce lots of chlorophyll (the bright green good stuff).
They are then dried and slowly ground between two granite rocks to a very fine powder. This is then packed immediately in a vacuum sealed tin, to lock in all the nutrients.
Where is it from?
teapigs genuine organic matcha comes from the renowned Nishio region in Japan, where some of the country’s highest quality tea leaves are grown. Due to its idyllic climate, freshwater rivers and fertile soils, this region has been known for its tea cultivation ever since 1200s. It even holds the Guinness World Record for the largest simultaneous tea ceremony!
You may be concerned about the sourcing of our matcha since the tragic earthquake disaster in March 2011. The Nishio region is over 600km South of Fukashima and, as well as undergoing strict testing by the Japanese Authorities before it leaves the country, our matcha is tested twice more before it reaches our shelves.
What makes teapigs matcha the best?
There are lots of different types of green tea powders on the market, but not all of them have been harvested and produced in the same way. teapigs organic matcha is the real deal. Here’s what makes ours top notch:
The tea itself
- teapigs organic matcha is premium grade. Matcha can be produced in different grades - some are premium (top quality and nutrient rich), whilst others are poorer grades and contain fewer nutrients.
- teapigs matcha is organic. The green tea used for teapigs matcha is 100% organic, and has been certified by IMO Switzerland (EU organic, USDA organic) and JONA (Japanese organic). Some matcha teas on the market, which claim to be organic, are not actually certified.
- only the leaf is used. Some types of matcha contain the stems and veins, which can dilute the nutritional value and leave it tasting bitter. Our matcha has had the stems and veins rigorously removed - we like to stick to our guns when it comes to quality and flavour.
How it is produced
- 3 layers of cover. teapigs organic matcha is grown with not 1, not 2, but 3 layers of cover. Not all matcha gets so much protection from the light, thus maximising the chlorophyll content.
- careful hand-picking. picked by hand by skilled workers ensures that only the young leaves and buds are used; this keeps the quality of matcha consistent.
- granite grinding. teapigs organic matcha is ground in the traditional method using granite stones in a controlled environment, to prevent nutrient loss. Some matchas use air pulverisation methods to grind it down, but all that friction can cause loss of nutrients.
- laboratory tested. teapigs organic matcha is put through lab testing to make sure it is perfect. We test everything from the particle size to the levels of nutrients, amino acids and catechins – so you know you're getting a great cup every time.
Matcha and Health
Matcha is essentially a very concentrated form of green tea. The way it's grown and consumed means that it's packed full of essential vitamins and minerals. Matcha tea bushes are grown under shade which dramatically increases the chlorophyll and amino acid content of the leaf – lots of good stuff.
When you drink regular green tea, you throw away the leaves afterwards which a bit like boiling spinach, throwing away the spinach and just drinking the water – you’ll get some of the nutrients, but you’re throwing away the best bit. Matcha is drunk as a fine powder diffused in liquid so you actually ingest the whole leaf, consuming every little bit of lovely green tea good stuff. That's why we call it super power green
L-Theanine and Caffeine
All green tea but matcha even more so contains a very special naturally occurring amino acid called L-Theanine . Along with caffeine, a well known stimulant also found in green tea the combination appears to increase alertness and improve concentration.
That’s probably why Buddhist monks have used matcha for centuries when meditating for hours. Closely followed by Japanese students cramming for exams.
Like all green tea our little superhero contains flavonoids which in studies have been shown to have an antioxidant effect. To be even more precise the real gem in matcha is known as epigallocatechin gallate or EPCG to its friends.
It is thought that regular consumption of foods and drinks containing flavonoids might help to protect our bodies from harmful free radicals so there is ongoing research across the world looking into the potential positive health benefits of flavonoids such as EGCG.
How to drink matcha
Getting your daily matcha health fix is easy. Traditionally matcha is drunk whisked in to hot water as a smooth green tea; that’s how you would drink it if you went to a Japanese tea ceremony.
The great thing about matcha is that, because it is a powder, you can add it to pretty much anything you fancy. As long as you get your 1/2 teaspoon, you will get all its fantastic health benefits.
The teapigs way…
We like to make a matcha shot every morning for a daily health fix.
teapigs tip! Don’t fill the liquid right to the top of your glass, or it’ll spill when you whisk it!
Simply take ½ teaspoon of matcha
Add it to your chosen drink (fruit juice, hot/cold water or milk), smoothie or yoghurt
Give it a whisk (a hand held electric milk frother works best) and knock it back in one!
Why not try a teapigs matcha kit which has all you need to make the perfect matcha!
More matcha ideas…
Matcha really is the most versatile of all teas – you can use it in food as well as drink. For the creatives among you, here are some fantastic matcha recipe ideas to try:
it's official, teapigs organic matcha makes you feel great!
In January 2015 loads of people took part in our matcha challenge. Here are the results.
we asked... buy again?
"can't wait to buy my second tin"
we asked... recommend a friend?
"Could not go a day without it, would recommend to anyone!"
we asked... more energy?
"it gives me a nice boost of energy, which is good as I'm not really a morning person."
we asked... about helping diets
"Makes me feel better, look better and lose weight!"
we asked... improved skin?
"you should see my skin - it's so smooth!"
Frequently asked questions
We’ve tried to answer a few of your most frequently asked matcha questions. If you do have any other questions, don’t be shy - just send an email to email@example.com and we’ll get back to you.
How much caffeine is in matcha?
There is approximately 30mg of per 1g serving of matcha. A regular cup of coffee typically contains 70-75mg of caffeine.
Can you reassure me about the safety of your matcha?
We are aware that some of you may be concerned about the sourcing of our matcha since the tragic earthquake disaster in March 2011. The Nishio region is over 600km South of Fukashima and, as well as strict testing by the Japanese Authorities before it leaves the country, our matcha is tested twice more for radiation levels before it reaches our shelves.
Can I drink matcha whilst pregnant?
Matcha does contain caffeine which is usually limited during pregnancy. One serving of matcha contains 30mg of caffeine and by comparison a regular cup of coffee contains 70-75 mg. If you have any concerns please consult your doctor.
Can I drink matcha more than once a day?
We recommend you only drink matcha once a day as one serving provides you with a sustained energy boost and lots of antioxidants. You can drink it more than once if you like but if you have any concerns about how much tea you can drink, please ask your doctor.
Can I add matcha to other teas?
We wouldn’t recommend you adding matcha to any other teas – only because it would not taste very nice at all! You can add matcha to hot water, hot milk, cereal, porridge, yoghurt and smoothies… just not tea or coffee.
Can I add matcha to coffee?
We wouldn’t recommend you adding matcha to coffee – it wouldn’t taste very nice. If you want to make a matcha latte just add ½ a teaspoon of matcha to an inch of hot water, whisk until smooth and top up with hot frothy milk. Add honey or sugar to sweeten if required! It’s a good alternative to having a coffee latte because matcha gives you a slow release of energy for 4-6 hours rather than the rush of energy (followed by a crash) that you tend to get with coffee. We love how green it looks too.
How long will a tin of matcha last?
One tin has 30 servings, so it’ll conveniently last you one whole month if you take it once a day - which is what we recommend.
How long does matcha last in the fridge once it’s been opened?
Matcha doesn't go 'off', similar to a vegetable it will lose it's nutritional value over time. Be sure to keep it in the fridge after opening!