Make Room For Matcha

Close up of match powder on a wooden table
D. Sharon Pruitt Pink Sherbet Photography/Getty Images 

Matcha is among the hottest trends in superfoods but it’s anything but new. Used for centuries in Japan, matcha is the purest form of green tea. Sold as a powder, matcha is more concentrated than brewed tea, which means it’s very rich in antioxidants, providing numerous health benefits.

How Matcha Is Made

Matcha is made from stone grinding dried green tea leaves into a superfine powder. Instead of steeping a cup of tea with boiling water and tea leaves, a cup of matcha tea involves using the entire leaves, by whisking powder in hot water to make a frothy liquid. Since matcha is so concentrated, it gives off a vivid green hue and a strong bitter taste. Although it’s caffeinated, matcha provides only about 35 mg of caffeine per serving, about half of a cup of coffee, and contains no calories.

Health Benefits

Because it is so rich in antioxidants called polyphenols, matcha is believed to stabilize blood sugar, reduce blood pressure and harmful cholesterol levels, protect against cancer and heart disease, and may even be able to slow down the aging process. Despite its caffeine content, matcha has been associated with providing a zen feeling of calmness rather than jitteriness. This is due to a mood enhancing amino acid in matcha known as L-theanine.

Other Uses

Matcha isn’t just for tea lovers. With its rising popularity, matcha can be found as an ingredient in all kinds of foods from baked goods like ice cream and donuts, to yogurt and smoothies. See below for a tasty Kale and Apple Green smoothie recipe that uses matcha.

Purchasing Matcha

Matcha is widely sold at health food and stores across the country. There are several grades of matcha. Generally, the higher the grade, the better the quality and flavor.

What to Watch For

The NIH cautions against consuming more than five cups of green tea daily. Excessive consumption of matcha or other forms of green may trigger certain side effects (such as headache, insomnia, irritability, diarrhea, and heartburn). In addition, matcha may contain fluoride, the amount depending on where it was grown.

Kale and Apple Green Smoothie

Serves 1, 16-ounce smoothie


  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups kale, chopped
  • 1 green apple, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon matcha
  • 1/2 cup ice


  • Combine all ingredients in a blender.
  • Blend on medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes.

Nutrition information: 310 calories, 43 grams carbohydrates, 14 grams fiber, 13 grams fat (4 grams saturated), 9 grams protein, 60 mg sodium

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