With all that talk about healthy foods I thought it’d be time to shed some well deserved light on drinks and more specifically tea!
While there are countless different sorts and flavors of tea I wanted to highlight 3 absolute superstars here:
- Green Tea
- Matcha Tea
- White Tea
Green tea has many many health benefits and would be something I’d definitely recommend to drink on a daily. It’s a great alternative to coffee, containing both caffeine and L-theanine. As a matter of fact caffeine contents of a cup of green tea can vary from 14 to up to 61mg per cup.
L-theanine seems to reduce the negative aspects of caffeine, such as anxiety, increased blood pressure and decreased quality of sleep, while improving upon the positive aspects like providing you with a good energy boost and focus.
The high amount of antioxidants and catechins in green tea are good against cardiovascular disease, diabetes and brain diseases. It has been shown to improve blood flow and lower your cholesterol levels.
Need more convincing?
Green tea is also fantastic for your skin and your memory, it reduces stress and aids weight loss. The polyphenol antioxidants in green tea reduce inflammation in your body, a known trigger of premature aging.
The ingredient EGCG may help you drop a few pounds. The current research done is not strong enough to verify this 100%, but green tea definitely is a smart swap for any sugar drinks you might want to consume instead
How to drink your Green Tea:
A common mistake made when drinking green tea is to boil the water too hot, which causes a bitter taste that many people dislike. Boil your water to 75-80 degrees celsius at a max. This prevents the bitter taste and what’s more is it also ensures that the antioxidants remain intact.
This might be a bit of an you either hate it or love it thing. I for my part absolutely love drinking Matcha tea, not only for its taste but also for its incredible health benefits.
Matcha actually belongs to the family of green tea. There’s no question that green tea is good for you, but matcha takes health benefits to a whole new level. When you make conventional loose-leaf green tea, you discard the leaves and any nutrients left behind after hot-water infusion.
Matcha tea uses the entire leaf, made by grinding each specially grown and harvested for use in this fine powder. Since none of the rich nutrients are lost, matcha holds the ultimate green tea superpowers for health.
Powdered matcha contains antioxidants, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that deliver health benefits no other food, drink, or traditional green tea can.
Grades of Matcha:
Matcha runs from the highest grades to the lowest. Based on a variety of factors, you can pick and choose from culinary grade (fit for cooking, think of smoothies or cakes), premium grade, up to ceremonial grade (great for drinking).
The highest quality of matcha powder in the world is the Ceremonial grade. It is a luxury tea. The traditional Japanese tea ceremonies are incomplete without this tea. When comparing its flavor with other tea grades, the Ceremonial grade has a mildly sweet flavor. This grade is produced from the first harvest. The tea leaves are the youngest and least exposed to sunlight, which increases their chlorophyll content. Ceremonial grade Matcha powder thus, has the most vibrant shade of green amongst the different grades.
Although a subset of the culinary grade, Premium barista-grade matcha has a higher quality, making it perfect for pairing with other beverages.
The Culinary grade is more bitter and robust. Due to its later harvesting date, the tea leaves are exposed to higher levels of sunlight which increases its catechin levels. Higher catechin levels leads to a more astringent taste.
The higher grades, premium and even more so ceremonial, have a brilliant green color, rich aroma, and a distinct, but not bitter taste. The lower the grade, the more mud coloured your matcha will be.
Bottom line, choosing the right Matcha boils down to how you are intending to use it:
Culinary grades of Matcha, including premium barista-grade should be used when mixing with food or beverages. While ceremonial grade Matcha should be consumed as it is.
Here’s a little checklist of what to look for when buying matcha:
- If the tea has a vibrant green color then it usually means that it is pure.
- If the powder has a fine texture and density then it usually has a delicate flavor.
- If the tea foams nicely when whisked
- Rather no extra ingredients added to it.
Preparing Matcha Tea is fairly simple, all you need is:
- ½ tsp of matcha powder
- Hot water at approx. 80 degrees celsius
- A whisk (this can be a specific matcha whisk or any whisk you have at home)
Start by mixing your powder with just a dash of water, creating a paste of your matcha powder. Then pour in your water and whisk the tea for approximately 30 seconds. This should create a small foamy layer on top.
Tip: Mix your matcha tea with some foamed almond milk for a delicious matcha latte – the perfect healthy pick up for your morning or afternoon!
Green tea is high in antioxidants but let me tell you, white tea is an absolute antioxidant powerhouse, containing more than both, black and green tea!
These substances give your immune system a mega boost. Drinking white tea is good for your skin, for your teeth, good for your bones and studies suggest that it might support weight loss.
Drinking white tea: Here the same rules apply as when drinking green tea. Don’t boil your tea too hot. At around 80 degrees celsius is ideal in order to prevent a bitter taste and to make sure you keep all those healthy antioxidants .
Where to buy your tea?
My friend Romy started an online tea delivery service called DLVRTEA. Everytime we speak I’m in awe of her knowledge of tea and all the new things she teaches me. She sells a beautiful selection of carefully picked, organic teas and she deserves all the success in the world. You can find her webshop here
CHUN Amsterdam is located right in the city centre of Amsterdam and sells delicious matcha lattes along with Bubble Tea, a little less healthy, but hey 80/20;). You can also get your ceremonial matcha powder as well as all the equipment you might need here.
Another great store to score high quality tea and matcha is Tea’s delight on Amsterdam Oud West. A traditional and authentic Chinese Tea house. Definitely worth a visit!