A Powdered Tea with a Punch
Energy-giving and immune-boosting, matcha is the supercharged version of healthy, caffeinated tea.
“Matcha” literally means powdered tea, and when this emerald-green mixture is whisked with hot water or milk, it makes a rich, frothy beverage. Locals can find the drink at Sarasota Tea Co. (The Tea House), which sells premium loose-leaf matcha.
More nutritious than standard green tea, the organic matcha is believed to increase mental clarity and detoxify the body. It has been part of Japanese tea ceremonies for more than 900 years, and Buddhist monks consider matcha a “health elixir” because of its metabolism-enhancing and concentration-building properties.
Imbibing matcha is an experience unlike standard tea drinking. With matcha, the whole leaf is consumed (whereas, typical green tea preparation involves steeping the leaves in water and ultimately discarding them).
Matcha is stocked with polyphenols and catechins, which are believed to treat everything from bacterial, fungal, and viral infections to cancer and diabetes. Need to boost cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health? Matcha.
The tea bushes that produce are grown in the shade, which slows the process of photosynthesis. This leaves matcha with a darker shade of green, and stimulates production of chlorophyll and amino acids. Harvesting matcha leaves, called tencha, is done by hand to select the youngest, finest-quality tea leaves.
Cafés are serving matcha in donuts, muffins, ice cream sundaes, smoothies, and lattes. See something vibrantly green on the coffee-house shelf? It’s probably matcha. Adding the magic powder to confections does not make them superb for one’s health, but it does an element of nutrition to an otherwise purely indulgent carbohydrate.
Matcha has half as much caffeine as a brewed coffee and about twice that of black tea. Sippers seeking a spring in their step and a boost to their bodies will likely fancy the matcha style. And who knows what added benefits scientists will start attributing to the tea? There is still so matcha to learn.