Thursday, March 31, 2016

Health Benefits of Matcha and Where to Find the Best in Manila

It’s that green powdery goodness taking over coffee shops today—and no, it’s not a veggie smoothie for all you meatlovers out there. Matcha gets its brilliantly emerald color because it’s actually green tea powder, ground finely in its natural state. Though originally from China, matcha has been used in the Japanese tea ceremony for hundreds of years. Just what is it about this deliciously healthy goodness that makes it so popular today?
Health Benefits of Matcha

1.Matcha and Green Tea
Remarkably, one serving of matcha is equivalent to about 10 cups of regular green tea. Since green tea itself is filled with antioxidants and nutrients, imagine ten times all of those in a cup of matcha alone! Matcha is actually better than loose leaf teas, as water extracts a mere fraction of tea that’s trapped in the leaves. Because the whole leaf is ground into matcha, you get the full benefits of the tea leaves compared to regular loose teas.
However, do take note that all green teas contain trace amounts of lead, and since the whole leaf is used in matcha, there is a higher concentration of lead that can be consumed. It’s still best to be cautious and limit your consumption, especially for pregnant women.
  1. Packed with vitamins and promotes a stronger immune system
Rich in antioxidants, matcha is a good source of amino acids, as well as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B-complex, and Vitamin E. Matcha also contains vitamin K, trace minerals, catechins and chlorophyll. These naturally detoxify our bodies as well as boost metabolism by burning calories. Chlorophyll not only cleanses the blood, but it also helps maintain the alkalinity of blood as well as flush out harmful toxins from the colon walls.
Matcha also contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which assists in preventing diseases, lowering cholesterol, and keeping inflammations and disorders at bay for overall cardiovascular health.
  1. Boosts energy, calms your body, and helps you concentrate
Unlike the effects of caffeine found in coffee, the energy booster found in matcha helps sustain energy to a more balanced level. Theophylline helps in the slow release of energy for better mental alertness throughout the entire day. The amino acid L-theanine in matcha has anti-anxiolytic properties that help boost the brain’s alpha waves, effectively relaxing the body without making you drowsy, clearing the mind, and improving alertness and concentration—perfect for mindfulness sessions and meditation. Plus, these also significantly help reduce your stress, both physiological and psychological.
Where to Find Matcha in Manila
Now that matcha is steadily gaining popularity here in our country, it’s not that difficult to look for a place to score a good cup. While most coffee shops and tea houses carry this nutritiously refreshing drink, here are just some of the top picks where you can get your matcha fix.
1.The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf
The Matcha Green Tea Latte drink from Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf features undissolved bits of matcha that makes you feel that the drink is truly legit. It’s nothing too fancy, because it’s the taste of the comforting hot serving that really wins you over. You can also choose the ice-blended variant on a warm sunny day!
  1. Starbucks
It might sound too commercialized, but if you’re craving for a quick matcha fix, you can be sure to find a Starbucks branch near you no matter where you are in the metro. It’s easy to just find one in your area and order a yummy Green Tea Latte—or better yet, opt for the Green Tea Soy Latte variation to really bring out the taste of matcha.
  1. Kozui Green Tea
The Roasted Green Tea Latte has a nutty and roasted taste that’s truly unique. You can even buy their matcha powder in cute tin cans if you want to fix your own cup at home. Located along the vibrant strip of Tomas Morato, Kozui Green Tea also has other innovative matcha creations, including the Matcha Cream Korichio line. These ice-blended drinks are mixed with milk, topped with cream, and enhanced with other fruity flavorings, but if you just want the most basic taste, the original Kozui Matcha Latte works just fine, too.
  1. Super Duck Modern Tea
What sets Super Duck apart from all the other tea places out there is that it uses only the most legitimate ingredients, including cane sugar (not syrups), actual fruits, and fresh tea leaves in their drinks. Everything is mostly sourced from Lukang Taiwan, and their matcha variant is no excpetion to the fresh goodness. The Roasted Matcha with Grass Jelly is as natural as it gets—just be sure to opt for the 50% sweetness level if you don’t have much of a sweet tooth. You can catch Super Duck in their branches in D. Tuazon and SM Cyber West in Quezon City.
  1. Matcha powder at home
I’ve scoured most of our local supermarkets in hopes of finding the perfect matcha pwder, and so far, my best bet is the Nittoh Matcha Green Powder, available in most Robinsons Supermarkets. The texture and taste is just right for me—not too sweet and not too bland. You can drink this mix as it is with just some hot water, or you can add milk and sugar to your desired taste. It’s quite pricey (with 10 sachets going for around Php250), but it definitely beats having to go out and buy yourself a cup from restaurants every time you get a craving. Your fave mug of hot water usually should take about 2 sachets, and you can add about two ice cubes if you want it cold. Be careful not to add too many cubes lest you make your drink too diluted. Then, add two teaspoons of milk for your own simple version of the matcha tea latte!
How about you? What are your favorite matcha cafĂ© haunts, and how do you like to drink your cup? Let us know what you think, and if you’re not yet a fan of this nutritional powerhouse of antioxidants and vitamins, there’s really no reason for you to not give it a try. Who says nutritious can’t be delicious?
*This article was first seen on The Philippine Online Chronicles HERE.

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