We Indians are extremely possessive about our chai. Be it the normal Assam tea or the regular Darjeeling tea; the robust black tea or the intricate ginger lemon tea; the quintessential masala chai or the classic Earl Grey tea; every Indian house takes pride in their own distinct favourite. No doubt, chai or tea is the most popular drink of every Indian household.
But with the changing times, the tastes have changed. With growing emphasis towards health and nutrition, more and more Indians are moving towards different varieties of organic green teas. Being touted as the new superfood, Green tea has become extremely popular in the Indian market. More and more youngsters are savouring on this health drink and are exploring newer favours. The latest variant that has become a rage is the matcha tea.
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What is Matcha Tea?
Matcha is a powdered green tea variant that comes from the plant Camellia sinensis. Matcha is derived from the Japanese word “ma” meaning grounded or powdered and “cha” meaning tea. Originally from China, matcha became a prominent part of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony and since then Japan has become one of the finest quality producers of matcha.
Made of finely powdered dried tea leaves, matcha is specially cultivated under shade for three weeks to avoid direct sunlight. This increases the chlorophyll levels, boosts the amino acid content and provides a darker green hue to the leaves. Matcha tea is therefore vibrant green in colour and contains greater amount of caffeine and antioxidants than regular green tea. Unlike other tea, matcha tea is made by whisking matcha powder into hot water or milk. This means consuming the entire tea leaf, which makes matcha extremely beneficial and considerably one of the best organic green tea.
Benefits of Matcha Tea
Matcha has become popular in the recent times because of its multiple health benefits. Since matcha powder is loaded with nutrients from the entire leaf; it is packed with chlorophyll, amino acids and antioxidants. It is said that matcha powder offers 137 times more antioxidants than any other green tea. This is why matcha tea is great for boosting immunity and repairing or reducing cell damage. One of the antioxidants named Catechins, usually not found in other food sources; is found to work against free radicals and even fight cancer.
Matcha green tea is great for boosting metabolism and burning fat and calories, which is why it is beneficial for weight loss. It is also great for your heart health as it is helpful in reducing bad cholesterol levels and providing enhanced protection against heart diseases. Several components in matcha tea are believed to be beneficial for enhancing brain function and improving concentration and memory function. Matcha contains high amounts of caffeine and L-theanine which is why consuming matcha tea relaxes the mind and helps in reducing mental stress.
Things to know before buying Matcha
Matcha tea is different than other green tea variants. Therefore before buying your matcha powder, let’s talk about some helpful tips and facts.
- Not every matcha is same. Matcha has a special cultivating and processing method which mainly segregates matcha powder into two different grades; ceremonial grade matcha and culinary grade matcha. Ceremonial grade is made of the younger leaves with just the softest part of the leaf. Younger leaves have higher chlorophyll concentration which provides it the most vibrant green colour and a delicate sweet taste. Ceremonial grade is therefore pricier and is used specifically for brewing the most premium matcha tea. On the other hand, culinary grade matcha is lower in quality and colour, and is generally used for cooking and baking purposes. It is great for using in drinks and desserts, as it is stronger and slightly bitter in flavour. Culinary matcha provides similar benefits but is comparatively cheaper and slightly earthy in taste. So choose the right matcha depending on what you want to use it for.
- Matcha contains more caffeine than regular green tea. Regular matcha in general contains slightly lesser caffeine than a cup of coffee, but it all depends on how concentrated you like your drink. So if you have to choose which one is better health wise? Well, both coffee and matcha have their health benefits; eventually it will all depend on your taste and personal preferences. Although matcha is known to calm the mind and is definitely better if you want to avoid a caffeine crash.
- Matcha has a unique taste. Matcha is known for its grassy Umami taste that is also known as the fifth flavour after the regular sweet, bitter, sour and salty tastes. Umami is an acquired taste which might not seem palatable by itself but makes a wide range of food varieties pleasant to eat. Therefore if you are still new to matcha, you might want to add honey or any natural sweetener to your tea.
- Matcha needs proper packaging. Air and light can damage the tea profile, making the tea bitter and losing its unique taste. Therefore matcha powder should always be stored in a properly sealed, opaque dark container. If you want to retain its maximum freshness, store your matcha in the refrigerator and consume it within 2-3 months after opening. Matcha does not have a long shelf life and should always be bought in small quantities.
- Matcha needs a proper whisk. Unlike other teas, matcha is the only suspension tea in the world. The matcha powder does not get dissolved in water and remains suspended on the top. If you want to enjoy the feel of traditional tea ceremonies, you need proper tools to make your matcha. You can also use regular household items but it is always better to invest in a good bamboo whisk, also known as chasen; specifically designed to break away the lumps. Apart from providing a refined tea ceremony experience, it avoids the tea from being chunky and prevents it from settling down.
List of Top Matcha Tea Brands in India
Various brands are offering premium quality matcha powder, so that you can enjoy a rejuvenating matcha tea at home. To help you with the right matcha experience, we have compiled a list of the best matcha green tea in India.
Best Matcha Tea in India
1. Encha Ceremonial Grade Organic Matcha
Encha ceremonial grade organic matcha is the best matcha tea in India, if you are looking to gain the premium matcha tea experience. Touted as one of the very best, this matcha is made of the most tender leaves of spring. The leaves are then stone ground so that the natural taste of matcha can be enjoyed. All grades of Encha matcha are USDA certified organic. This premium matcha provides you with the best matcha tea experience but is slightly high priced for regular consumption.
- Ceremonial grade Encha is premium first harvest organic matcha.
- Sourced from the farmers in Uji, Kyoto, Japan.
- This ceremonial grade matcha is best suited for making premium matcha tea.
2. Heapwell Superfoods Japanese Ceremonial Matcha Green Tea
Heapwell Superfoods imports premium matcha tea from the mountains of Japan and delivers the finest quality products to facilitate a healthy lifestyle. Heapwell ceremonial matcha is handpicked from the summer crop and stone ground to achieve the finest quality matcha. Heapwell also has a premium grade matcha variant that is a slightly inferior and cheaper option.
- Ceremonial grade matcha approved from the Japanese tea masters.
- Sourced from the mountains of Kyoto and Kagoshima.
- It is ideally used in making matcha tea, but can also be mixed and blended to make shakes, cakes, desserts and healthy meal replacements.
3. Tea Trunk Matcha Green Tea
Tea Trunk is a young online tea store that has been curating the finest Indian tea leaves and designing unique blends with them. This matcha has been chosen to appeal with the Indian palate by a specialised tea sommelier. The matcha is light and not bitter, especially perfect for the first timers.
- Authentic and organic ceremonial grade matcha.
- Sourced directly from Nishio region, Aichi prefecture in Japan.
- Best for making hot or iced matcha tea.
4. Kimino Japanese Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder
Kimino Organic Matcha powder is known for its true Japanese flavour. The leaves are handpicked to provide the best quality matcha tea. To preserve all natural extracts, the leaves are stone ground with no chemical processing involved. The entire production process is done to meet international standards and provides you with premium grade matcha that is suitable for everyday consumption. Kimino also has a ceremonial grade matcha variant that is more potent but slightly expensive for everyday purpose.
- Premium organic matcha made of the finest and darkest tencha leaves.
- Sourced from their associate farms in Mie prefecture, renowned for producing the best Japanese matcha teas.
- Perfect to use for traditional matcha tea. Can also be blended into smoothies, lattes or baked desserts.
5. Vahdam Japanese Matcha Green Tea Powder
Vahdam is known to provide the freshest teas from all across the globe. It is one of the first Indian company that sources various varieties of teas directly from farms and estates spread worldwide. Vahdam Matcha green tea powder is full of antioxidants that will calm your senses and boost your immunity. Vahdam also has combination variants available in the flavour of moringa matcha and vanilla matcha.
- Culinary grade stone ground matcha powder.
- Sourced directly from Uji – Kyoto region of Japan in small batches.
- Perfect for smoothies, lattes and baking.
6. OZiva Plant Based Matcha Plus
OZiva match plus is a combination of organically handpicked matcha with added whole foods like Licorice, Pomegranate and Ginger. OZiva matcha plus not just provides the benefits of matcha but contains goodness of various whole foods that helps with skin brightening and pigmentation. It also contains activated charcoal that helps in removal of dead cells and impurities from the skin.
- Combination of organic handpicked matcha with other whole food extracts.
- It is a power packed blend for healthier skin and body.
- Can only be consumed by mixing with hot water.
How to make Matcha Tea at Home
While it might seem overwhelming initially, whisking a matcha is as easy as ABC.
- Sift 1-2 gram of matcha into a cup or a bowl. The matcha quantity can change as per the grade of matcha and your taste preference.
- Pour boiling water into the cup. You can use water just under the boil for better results.
- Whisk vigorously with a chasen until the tea is frothy.
- And you are done. It’s time to enjoy your matcha.
Buying the right Matcha Whisk
If you are looking for the right chasen to imitate the meditative tea ceremony at home, we have these two options for you.
Urban Platter Bamboo Matcha Whisk
- Handcrafted and traditional matcha whisk that will prepare matcha the way it should be.
- It is made with strong and sustainable golden bamboo, so that it can be used again and again without getting damaged.
- It is about 10.3 cm x 5.5 cm in length and width. The height is 6 cm.
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Kimino Matcha Bamboo Matcha Whisk
- Kimino bamboo matcha whisk is handcrafted for making rich matcha foam.
- It contains no varnish or paint and is made completely of bamboo.
- It is about 3.5 inches in height and 2 inches in width. The handle is about 1.5 inches in height.
Matcha is not merely a green tea powder or a health drink that energises your body and calms your mind; it is an equally invigorating and rejuvenating process for the soul.
And if you haven’t tried matcha yet; well, what exactly are you waiting for?
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