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Green tea vs. Matcha: what sets them apart?

Two antioxidant-rich beverages with numerous health benefits. But... what makes them different?

Green Tea Harvesting

In the cultivation of green tea, leaves are plucked by expert tea pickers in the early hours of the morning when their cell content is at its softest. Ideally, this is done during the colder months.

Next, the leaves are weighed and steamed in barrel-shaped ducts, where high-pressure steam softens the leaves and coats them with their own cellular fluids. Then comes the pre-drying process, which halts any further chemical action in the leaf's cells and prepares it for the drying process.

The leaves are then rolled, initiating an oxidation process where cells break, and sap mixes before proceeding to roasting. During this step, a machine removes moisture from the leaves.

One of the final steps is drying and shaping, accomplished by a circular-shaped machine. Lastly, the tea is sifted and classified, separating resulting particles by shape and size to produce different grades of green tea.

Matcha Tea Harvesting

The process to obtain matcha is more meticulous and lengthier compared to green tea. Ideally, it is done in the spring and autumn months.

Twenty days before harvesting, the entire green tea plantation that will later become matcha is covered. This technique increases the concentration of chlorophyll, theanine, caffeine, and amino acids, allowing the tea to acquire these essential nutrients. Afterward, these leaves are manually collected, choosing only the best ones.

Up to this point, matcha has not yet been produced; the process begins in the next step. The leaves undergo steaming and are separated from their stems.

Then, the leaves are ground into a very fine powder. The process is so meticulous that a stone mill can produce only 40g of matcha in an hour.

How to Consume Green Tea

To enjoy a good cup of green tea, heat the water until it's almost boiling, pour it into a cup, and add the tea for infusion for no more than 3 minutes.

Many green tea enthusiasts add lemon, honey, or ginger to enhance its properties and modify its flavour.

How to Consume Matcha Tea

Unlike green tea, matcha should never be infused but added directly to water. Pour a gram of matcha tea into a cup, add a bit of the liquid you'll mix it with, and dissolve it using a bamboo or electric whisk. Once dissolved, add the remaining liquid.

As for the various options for consuming matcha, it has become popular in the West to enjoy it with milk, creating the famous matcha latte. Whether with dairy or plant-based milk, matcha pairs perfectly. Other ways to consume it include with water (the traditional method), with juice, or in the form of shakes and smoothies.

Matcha is also incorporated into countless recipes like cookies, tiramisu, and many more.

Properties of Green Tea and Matcha

While it's expected that matcha, originating from green tea, would have the same properties, this isn't entirely true. Although they obviously share the same base, the main difference lies in how these two varieties from the same plant release their nutrients.

In green tea, leaves and stems are combined for infusion, whereas in matcha, only the best leaves are selected, separated from their stems, and turned into a powder. Additionally, matcha is dissolved rather than infused.

This meticulous process means that with a green tea infusion, you consume only 10-20% of the plant's nutrients, while with a serving of matcha (one gram), you consume 100% of the nutrients, maximizing its benefits.

Two Beverages, One Great Source of Health

As you can see, the subtle differences between green tea and matcha make them very distinct beverages, though both are packed with health benefits.

If you haven't already, start filling your mornings with health and energy by choosing either green tea or matcha, which maximizes the benefits of the former.
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