Matcha tea is a powdered green tea that is unique to Japan, and which plays a central part in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Matcha is made from the tips of budding tea bushes that have been shaded with bamboo mats for three weeks. This keeps the caffeine content high, increases the production of amino acids which makes the tea sweeter and preserves the chlorophyll, as the sunless leaves cannot undergo photosynthesis. The leaves are then stone-ground to an ultra-fine powder. There are two ways of preparing matcha, koicha (thick) and usucha (thin), which is dependent on the amount of tea and water used to make it.
Matcha tea is high in antioxidants, chlorophyll and fibre. It's also sugar free, which makes it perfect for diabetics and those who want to reduce their sugar intake. Unlike usual teas, the whole leaf is drunk, not just the water, which increases the health benefits further. One glass of Matcha is the equivalent of 10 glasses of green tea in terms of nutritional value and antioxidant content and has nine times the beta carotene of a serving of spinach.
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