While tea is still growing in popularity in the United States, in much of the rest of the world, the brew utilizing the leaves of the Camellis sinensis plant reigns supreme over every other beverage. The leaves of this plant contain quite a few unique characteristics, the most fundamental of which is the relatively high concentration of caffeine.
Caffeine isn’t the only benefit of consuming tea, however – the native Chinese, who have cultivated Camellis sinensis for thousands of years, have long recognized the health-boosting effects of regular tea consumption. The more recent scientific analysis of the plant has only confirmed the long-held beliefs in tea’s beneficial effects, but much of these are highly dependent on how the leaf is processed.
Tea leaf processing can result in either a green or black tea variant, depending on the steps taken during the growing and drying process. For black tea variants, the leaves are harvested from the plant and are allowed to oxidize in a process similar to how an avocado’s flesh turns dark when cut open and exposed to the air.
Once the desired level of oxidation is reached, the leaves are then heated and dried for longer-term storage and keeping. This oxidation process is what gives black tea its characteristic color and alters the chemical makeup of the tea to provide a different flavor and the type of antioxidants found in the tea.
Green tea variants, on the other hand, eschew this oxidation process entirely. Once the leaves are harvested from the tree, they are quickly heated and dried to prevent any kind of oxidation.
You can think of green tea as being ‘fresher’ than black tea leaves, but there are still a number of different ways to process tea within this category. Matcha, for example, uses an alternative means of both growing the tea leaves and then processing them, giving an entirely new set of beneficial chemical changes.
The process for creating matcha starts with the growing process – during the early stages of leaf growth, the tea plant is covered with a cloth to prevent full sunlight from reaching the leaves. The leaves, in turn, increase the amount of chlorophyll to compensate for the relative lack of sunlight, turning them a more complex color.
Once they are matured, the leaves are then dried and pulverized into a powder, rather than keeping them intact as you would any other type of tea. This means you consume the entire leaf when drinking matcha, which has important implications.
Tea is well known for having antioxidant compounds, which help prevent free radicals in your body from causing cell damage and contributing to health problems and diseases such as cancer. Japanese matcha is known to have at least three times the number of antioxidants as a typical variety of whole green tea, making it far more potent when it comes to combating the damage of free radicals.
The key to getting the most health benefits out of your matcha is only buying from the highest quality suppliers. High-grade matcha is difficult to get outside of Japan, but one company – Shayna’s Kitchen – is providing top-quality, single-source organic matcha that can match anything sold in the home country.
Whether you make it an occasional tasty treat or a part of your morning ritual, matcha has a ton of health benefits that you don’t want to miss out on. To get yours delivered, head over to Shayna’s Kitchen today.