Judging by my Instagram feed, I’ve been one of the few people to have Instagram who had precisely no idea what these bright green lattes were that The Fitness Lot were drinking. Turns out it was matcha.
Matcha isn’t really new at all. It was apparently drunk centuries ago by Buddhist monks and Japanese Samurai. From what I can gather, matcha is to Japan what Tetley is to the British construction industry. However, whereas I can buy 160 bags of Gaffer and Sydney’s finest and still get considerable change for a fiver, a mere 30 servings of matcha costs £20.
The cost can be a little bit of a misnomer if you drink your cuppa for its nutritional benefit rather than its taste or refreshment. Matcha is 100% ground green tea leaves. The matcha bush is grown under shade to boost its chlorophyll content and then the entire leaf is ground by granite stones according to Teapigs, which means none of the nutritional benefit is lost.
It’s claimed that one cup of matcha contains the same nutritional value as 10 cups of regular green tea. That makes it pretty good value assuming, as I said before, you’re not drinking your green tea because you actually enjoy it!
So what are the claimed health benefits?
- Matcha contains the amino acid L-theanine. Although beyond my understanding, apparently this promotes “alpha brain waves which help with concentration and alertness”.
- It is high in green tea flavonoids know as catechins, more specifically a catechin called EGCG which has an antioxidant effect on the body.
- Matcha contains caffeine to the tune of about 30mg per serving, which is less than half a standard cup of coffee. Combined with the L-theanine, this should help you feel more energetic for longer.
- Green tea can increase thermogenesis and fat oxidation during exercise, so matcha can be a slimming aid.
- The polyphenols in green tea can inhibit UV-raditation-induced skin damage, so it can help you look pretty too.
Basically, matcha will give you beauty and brains! That was good enough for me to give it a go even before I read the Teapigs “Matcha Challenge”. The challenge was to “take” (interesting choice of word) matcha every day for two weeks. 400 people took part and reported their findings.
89% of respondents said that they felt more energised when taking matcha with 84% saying that helped in their health routine. 99% said they would buy matcha again and 97% said they would recommend it to a friend. I wonder why that 2% wouldn’t!?
My challenge is on – one dose of this Teapigs super green tea every day for 2 weeks.
And over two weeks later…
I guess the important bit that I already mentioned is that I’ll be drinking Teapigs matcha.
As you can see, you’ll find it on the supermarket shelf in a little box. It comes sealed in a tin that you’ll need to keep in the fridge once it’s open. I got mine on an offer for £20 but it seems to be £25 RRP for 30g in the supermarket. If you like it, the cheapest way to buy will be three tins straight from Teapigs for £50 with free postage.
I realised that I didn’t really know what I was doing with this very expensive green powder. A quick Google search and I bought the whole shebang – a whisk, bamboo spoon and two matcha bowls.
All these things were from Tealyra via Amazon and cost me just shy of £50, which is a lot of money and not strictly necessary even though the whisk is useful and the sieve makes mixing easier. It’s worth noting that Tealyra give a 20% discount code with each order it seems, so if you’re not in a rush I would recommend ordering things separately.
I’ve been practicing matcha lattes for about a week but couldn’t get my almond milk to froth properly, so it looks a little disappointing. Sorry about that.
I actually preferred just making a straight up matcha tea. To do this you need to sieve a scoop of the powder in to the bowl and whisk it to make a paste. I then just about half fill the bowl with more water and whisk until there’s a foam on top. You should whisk back and forth as if drawing Ms and Ws rather than round and round. You can sweeten with agave syrup.
Results And Conclusions
First thing to note is that matcha does taste of tea. I think I prefer the taste to black tea but couldn’t really tell you why. It just tastes a but smoother to me I think. I believe that different brands might taste different, and I really enjoyed my Teapigs variety.
Second thing is that I quite enjoyed making it in the morning! There is something about the whisk and the bowls and the whole performance that adds to it! Matcha does contain caffeine, but it’s less than half that of a cup of coffee. As such, I actually added matcha to my breakfast rather than replace my coffee with it. If you don’t have a high tolerance to caffeine, maybe don’t do this.
I guess the important bit is whether I fit in with the 89%, 84%, 99% and 97%. Did I feel more energised? Yes, but I still find it staggeringly hard to put down to just the tea. As always, I negative tested the effects and did feel marginally worse when I stopped drinking the tea.
Helping a health routine is hard to judge. I felt more energetic, therefore more willing to exercise. The more I exercise, the better shape I’m in. Whether it was the tea directly or the exercise that helps with fat burning is hard to say.
And this is why it’s hard to judge if I would buy matcha again and recommend it to a friend. If you need a pick me up, it seems to be great. If you already have a solid exercise regime and good diet, I honestly can’t say after two weeks whether matcha would help you.
What I can say, though, is that I enjoyed drinking matcha. It is expensive, but it’s 66p per day which, for something you enjoy drinking, isn’t all that bad.
This means that I probably would recommend it to a friend. I might even need to put pictures of my tea on Instagram.