You don’t have to be a tea aficionado to truly recognize and appreciate all the benefits that matcha tea can provide you with. With that being, most individuals don’t really realize that matcha powder and matcha tea bags are two completely different things. Sure, they have the same name and share a lot of similarities, but each can provide you with a variety of different health benefits. In fact, both of these products come from the very same plant known as the Camellia sinensis. So, if they come from the same plant have can be these two superfoods be so different? Below, this is what you will discover and much more.
Understanding What Matcha Tea Is
First off, before you learn about the similarities and differences between matcha powder and matcha tea you truly need to understand what matcha tea is and where it comes from. As mentioned above both matcha powder and matcha tea are derived for the Camellia sinensis. The Camellia sinensis is basically just an evergreen shrub similar to a small tree. The leaves and leaf buds of this plant are the actual parts that are used to produce this powerful tea.
That being said, it should be noted that matcha is grown in a far different manner than other traditional green teas. The Japanese have incorporated many different growing practices and techniques over hundreds of years to perfect their growing process into what it is today. In fact, farmers will actually shade the bushes of the plant twenty to thirty days before the harvesting process starts. The reason they do this is to increase the chlorophyll content. When the bushes and are shaded it slow down the photosynthesis process, which alters the balance of the caffeine, sugars, and flavanols in the leaves.
Along with this, the process also increases the L-Theanine. The Theanine adds a vegetal flavor to the overall taste of the tea and enhances the effects of the caffeine.
Color – If you have never tried matcha powder you might not know that it has a much brighter green appearance than ordinary matcha tea. The reason for this has to do with the high levels of chlorophyll that are extracted from the leaves during the brewing process. Chlorophyll is a powerful polyphenol that contains tons of nutritious properties and benefits. Matcha powder has a bright, vibrant green color, whereas matcha tea gives off a dull brown look. Simply put, if you are all about colors and looks, you might want to opt for the powder.
Taste – When it comes right down to the taste between the two, it really is a personal preference for most individuals. However, according to recent polls and studies, most individuals have said that premium matcha powder tastes much better than the tea bags. In fact, the number one complaint about the tea bags is that it gives off a much bitter taste. Matcha powder doesn’t really need any additional sweeteners or dairy products to make it tasty.
Texture – Matcha powder comes available in a very fine almost velvety powder. You will notice right away that it is smooth to the very touch. The tea bags, on the other hand, are a bit different. If you busted one open you would notice that the contents are gritty and give off the same texture as crushed up leaves would.
Exploring The Preparation Process
As you already know, brewing matcha tea is an extremely easy process, as it is very similar to brewing any other tea bag. All you have to do is simply put a tea bag into a kettle and boil it at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the process of brewing matcha powder is much more intimate. In fact, if you have never prepared matcha powder before you are in for quite a treat, as the process makes you appreciate the tea and its beneficial properties even more.
When brewing most other types of teas all you have to do is just simply infuse the leaves with boiling water. That is not the case with matcha, as the process requires whisking the powder and consuming it completely. Some individuals even like to go as far as preparing their matcha in a traditional Japanese manner. This is accomplished by using a bamboo scoop to measure out your powder, adding it to water that has been boiled at 175 degrees Fahrenheit, and then whisking the tea with a bamboo whisk until it creates what looks like a smooth, frothy layer.
The Nutritional Values
As you noticed above, one of the major differences in the preparation process in the steeping temperature. Matcha tea is boiled at 212 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas matcha powder is boiled only at 175 degrees Fahrenheit. When boiled at 212 the heat completely destroys the nutritional benefits. Many studies show that you would have to drink 10 to 15 cups of matcha tea to match the nutritional benefits in one cup of matcha powder. In addition to this, due to the fact that the powder is made by grinding the entirety of the leaves into the powder and completely consumed by the drinker, none of the nutritional value is lost.
Matcha powder contains as much as 134 milligrams of powerful antioxidants that are critical when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The most powerful of these antioxidants is the epigallocatechin (EGCG), which contains the properties to fight inflammation, repair cells, speed up the metabolism, and it also helps promote healthier arteries. Matcha tea only contains a mere 63 milligrams of antioxidants.
Amino Acid Values
Amino acids are other critical agents that are required on a daily basis to promote a healthy lifestyle and matcha powder is packed with 45 milligrams of these powerful agents. Unfortunately, matcha tea only contains 3 milligrams of amino acids, which is almost a slap in the face. L-Theanine is the most notable amino acid found in matcha powder, as it has the ability to stimulate the production of alpha waves in the brain. This helps enhance memory, increases your learning abilities, and improves your overall creativity. In fact, L-Theanine can offer many of the same benefits of energy-boosting caffeine at just a fraction of the cost, while keeping the mind relaxed and at ease.
As you can see, matcha powder and matcha tea are somewhat similar, but when it comes to preparation and nutritional values, matcha powder is without a doubt your best option. Sure, matcha tea contains many of these same benefits, but you have to consume ten more cups just to get them when you could reap the same benefits from one cup of matcha powder.