About Japanese matcha
What is matcha?
With that easily recognisable hue of electric green and deliciously earth taste, matcha has become a hugely popular ingredient in drinks, cakes and many other food products. At a basic level, it is a form of green tea that has been ground into a fine powder. The cultivation, harvesting and production of matcha are however, markedly different from those of other tea varieties.
In terms of quality, Japan is globally renowned for producing the highest quality matcha powders. In Japan cultivation begins with Camellia Sinensis, the green tea plant, in several specialty tea regions across the Southern islands. The preparation of matcha begins several weeks before the tea is ready for harvest. Plants are enveloped in shade-cloth for around 20 days, preventing direct sun exposure. This cover stimulates an increase in chlorophyll, leading to a richer green leaf colour, and promotes the production of the amino acids responsible for matcha's health benefits.
Once the plants are harvested, they are steamed within 12 - 20 hours of the time of harvest. The steaming process lasts only 10 - 20 seconds and it prevents the tea from degrading due to oxygen in the air. This also allows the leaves to retain much of its colour, fragrance and nutritional value. After steaming, the tea leaves are left to dry and finally stone-ground into the fine green powder known as matcha.
What are the benefits of matcha?
Matcha’s taste and various benefits are partly attributed to the presence of L-Theanine, an amino acid responsible for enhancing concentration, memory and metabolism. Combined with the naturally occurring caffeine found in green tea, matcha promotes a state of ‘calm alertness’. Matcha drinkers enjoy the benefits of focus and enhanced mental ability without the jitters associated with espresso coffee.
This Japanese superfood is also loaded with powerful anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, and cancer-fighting goodness. It contains a powerful antioxidant known as Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) which is responsible for these benefits. EGCG and other antioxidants stabilise free radicals in the body, which are basically scavengers that cause damage to the body’s cells.
Matcha can be consumed everyday, many drinkers like to substitute their second coffee (or other pick-me-up) of the day with a glass of refreshing matcha.
Summary of benefits
- Enhanced concentration
- Enhanced memory
- Metabolic booster
- High in antioxidants
What type of matcha does TOKA lab use?
Originating from Asia, matcha has in recent times become more readily produced by other regions around the world. TOKA lab very quickly realised that the methods for growing and producing a vibrant, fragrant and nutrient dense matcha were perfected in Japan. We owe this to the Japanese people’s longstanding cultural appreciation of matcha and the artisanal nature of the industry.
Faced with alternatives of much lower price and quality, the decision was clear to put quality first and support the continuation of world-class Japanese matcha. The TOKA lab team spent time researching, testing and sampling matcha from various plantations across Japan. Over time we grew fond of the vibrant but delicately balanced matcha from a rolling farm overlooking a sapphire bay in Mie prefecture. Here we built a relationship with a state-of-the-art matcha producer and sourced a matcha with over 800 years of history for use in our Matcha Superfood Collagen Elixir.
Organic vs non-organic
We made a conscious decision to source non-organic matcha. Traditional organic produce generally results in denser nutritional value, however matcha prepared organically has a dull flavour and contains far less of the antioxidants responsible for matcha's superfood status. Put simply, if the local Japanese don't drink organic matcha - why would you?
How much caffeine is in matcha?
Our collagen elixir contains 2 grams of matcha powder which means it has around 40 - 50 mg of caffeine per sachet. This is about half the amount of caffeine content in a single shot of Australian espresso (30 ml) and similar levels to an English Breakfast tea or other black tea