All about MATCHA!

I received so many responses from last week's post on coffee alternatives, and have heard from many of you that this inspired you to skip your morning joe in favor of one of these new beverages. Hearing this makes my little health coach heart sing! Many of you had questions specifically on matcha tea - where you can get it, how you make it, etc - so today I figured I would answer those questions here.

To recap - Matcha tea powder is made from finely ground green tea leaves so you get all of the benefits of green tea, and clear, focused energy (and no jitters like some people experience with coffee). It has a grassy, earthy flavor. 

Does matcha contain caffeine? 
Yes - the caffeine level of matcha is about half the level of a black cup of coffee. However, matcha is also rich in the rare amino acid, L-Theanine, which promotes a state of relaxation and well-being; it creates alpha waves in the brain which leads to state of calm alertness. 

I've heard that green tea is good for weight loss. Is matcha?
Yes! A study featured in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming matcha green tea can increase thermogenesis (the body’s own rate of burning calories) from a normal 8%-10% of daily energy expenditure, to between 35% and 43% of daily energy expenditure.

What are the other benefits of drinking matcha tea?
- Stronger immune system + better overall health - Matcha is high in antioxidants (the magical nutrients responsible for giving us younger-looking skin, fighting inflammation and preventing a number of serious chronic illnesses). Matcha contains one specific antioxidant, catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg), which is widely recognized for its cancer fighting properties.
- Detox - Matcha is also a powerful detoxifier due to high levels of chlorophyll and is capable of naturally removing heavy metals and chemical toxins from the body.
- Increased endurance - Like I've mentioned, matcha gives you a steady boost of energy (which can last for up to 6 hours!)
- Boost memory + concentration - Another side-effect of L-Theanine is the production of dopamine and serotonin. These two chemicals enhance mood, improve memory, and promote better concentration.

Where do you buy matcha tea?
I usually buy mine on Amazon - this is the brand I like. If you live in NYC, I also recommend checking out MatchaBar and Chalait - both of these spots sell delicious matcha plus all the supplies you need to start making matcha on your own. 

How do you make matcha tea? Do I need a fancy whisk?
Traditionally, a bamboo whisk is used to mix matcha with hot water for a naturally frothy drink [head over here for a full video how-to]. No bamboo whisk? No problem. You can use a regular whisk, OR make a delicious iced matcha variation with a blender or shaker.

Have you tried matcha? Do you like it? How does it make you feel? I'd love to hear your thoughts, experiences, and favorite recipes in the comments below!