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    Matcha Iced Tea with Mint

    Summer is already here in Greece. The last few weeks it was really hot and the rains of the last few days did not change the temperature, at least in Athens. So, from early May we are looking for refreshing drinks, as if it were July. Today’s recipe is exactly this: a refreshing, nutritious iced matcha tea with mint and lime. Not only it will cool you, but it will take care of you!

    Those who follow me on Instagram know now how much I love coffee and the truth is that I drink a lot of coffee every day. But I don’t like caffeine symptoms, and sometimes they bother me; until I started, moderately at first, replacing coffee with matcha tea. I’ve been seeing matcha on social media the last few years, but I never gave it the necessary attention. I had tried matcha several times in coffee shops or in food and drink exhibitions, but it rarely earned me, although I always liked green tea and its “earthy” flavor did not bother me.  When I tried Matcha Ninja I realized that I should decided I should look more into this product. I realized it was a “clean” product and it was worth more attention. So I share with you the findings of my “research”, which will enlighten those who are not familiar with it. 😉

    What is Matcha?

    The word Matcha literally means tea powder. These are whole leaves of green tea (tencha variety) powdered, having a bright, green color. Consuming the entire leaf, and not just its extract, one gets 137 times the antioxidants of green tea and 12 times its nutritional value. Matcha has so many and important benefits, which is ranked in th<α ηe special category of food-medicine.

    Although it comes from the same plant as green tea, it is cultivated differently and has a unique dietary profile. Its growers cover the plants with dark sails 20-30 days before the harvest, so that they cannot get sunlight. This causes greater chlorophyll production, boosting the amino acid and antioxidant content and gives the plant a deeper green color. Once the leaves of the plant are gathered, they are rubbed to create the matcha powder with this impressive color. Here is where the consumer should be very careful with the products he buys. In the market you can find ground green tea that has not been grown in this way and certainly does not have the same nutritional value. This difference can also be spotted in color; matcha is vivid green while the regular ground green tea leaves are either very dark green or yellowish.

    Beneficial properties of Matcha

    Tea has been used for 900 years in China and Japan as an herbal medicine. As I said earlier, consuming matcha we get the nutrients of the whole leaf and not just what it ends up in its extract.

    • Matcha is very rich in antioxidants and, in particular, in catechins, which reduce cell damage and prevent chronic diseases and inflammations. Matcha is one of the strongest anti-oxidants of nature with 1,537 ORAC units, 137 times more than regular tea and 5 times more than any other superfood. It contains 130 times more calcium and 172 times more protein than any other tea. It has the same effectiveness, based on research, with some anti-inflammatory drugs,but without the side effects.
    • The excessive content of EGCG epigallochechines, a kind of catechins with proven strong anti-cancer properties, makes matcha a potentially ally in the fight against cancer. Although it is too early to draw conclusions, it is certain that matcha is a promising component that is being studied intensively these days.
    • Research has shown that matcha can reduce the risk of liver disease.
    • It has been found that matcha consumption improves attention, memory and reaction time. The content of caffeine and L-theanine helps improve various aspects of brain function.
    • Its benefits in preventing cardiovascular disease are also important as it reduces levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as green tea.
    • An equally important benefit of matcha is the enhancement of metabolism and burning of calories, resulting in weight loss.
    • Helps to physically detox the body due to its high chlorophyll content.

    Όλα όσα πρέπει να γνωρίζεις για το τσάι matcha - Everything you need to know about matcha tea

    Matcha and caffeine

    One gram of Matcha contains about 20-35mg of caffeine when a simple instant coffee contains up to 80-100mg. Matcha due to caffeine in combination with L-thetaine can offer high levels of energy, high concentration and spiritual clarity and balance as opposed to coffee that causes irritation, rapid heartbeat and anxiety. The difference of Matcha‘s caffeine with coffee is that it gives the same energy boost, but much more smoothly, for about 6-8 hours, as opposed to coffee that keeps much less.

    The qualities of Matcha

    To buy matcha and not to give your money in vain, it’s good to be aware of the different qualities. There are 2 qualities, or “grades” for matcha:

    • Ceremonial grade: It is produced from the leaves on the top of the plant (younger and fresher), which are sweeter (naturally) and richer in nutrients. Usually only the first crop (May) and not the second of June are used. Ceremonial grade matcha is considered to be the highest quality, solid and pure in taste that it can be consumed only with water, without the use of sweeteners or other substances.
    • Culinary grade: It is produced from the lower leaves on the base of the plant, usually from the second crop (June) and has a different flavor profile (more intense and bitter in taste). The best known type of culinary matcha is Premium, which involves blending culinary and ceremonial grades to achieve a lower cost product.

    Why I prefer Matcha Ninja

    I told you I was impressed by the quality and taste right from the first time I tasted it and that’s no accident! It has to do with its premium quality, which is reflected in its discreet, sweet taste with its earthy and slightly fruity notes, without any bitterness or tartness in the aftertaste.

    • Matcha Ninja is a 100% Ceremonial grade (i.e., top quality) matcha. Only fresh leaves from the top of the plant are used in the production, which are sweeter (naturally) and richer in nutrients.
    • It is a single-origin matcha: it means that it does not come from different producers, but from a single proprietary farm. This results in complete control over the quality of matcha.
    • Matcha Ninja is 100% certified organic and the only one worldwide with triple biological certification. What does this mean? As we said before, consuming matcha means consuming the entire green tea leaf, as opposed to the regular green tea. The plant from which it produced (Camelia Sinensis or Camellia or Chinica) acts as a sponge, absorbing what is in the environment around it. It is, therefore, extremely important to consume 100% organic grown matcha without chemicals, heavy metals, pesticides or insecticides.
    • It is raw, meaning it has not undergone a heat treatment of more than 40 degrees in its production process.
    • It is milled for longer and slower than traditional matcha, in an almost silky texture. Thus, Matcha Ninja has the highest solubility (dissolved in hot or cold water), without the use of a whisk. This is what “Cold-brew matcha” on the package means.
    • Although the Japanese are famous for their qualitative matcha, not because of their geographical location (matcha is not subject to a Protected Designation of Origin), but because of their know-how in the mode of production, the question of radioactivity in the underground of Japan after the nuclear accident of Fukosima in 2011, is a cause for concern. Matcha Ninja retaining Japan’s high-tech know-how (where it was originally cultivated) has now been transferred to a 100% certified organic farm in Zhejiang province in China. This area is world famous for the original Dragon Well tea trees, whose tea is auctioned annually higher than gold! High altitude, subtropical climate and predicted seasonal rainfall are the ideal conditions for cultivating tencha leaves used in Matcha Ninja.

    Now that I made you matcha experts 😀 let’s go see the recipe I prepared for you. It’s a refreshing iced matcha tea with mint (from my garden 😉 ) and lime juice. It’s so rejuvenating and cooling, perfect for the summer ahead. I did not use any sweetener. I would tell you to try it plain and if you think you need some, add it afterwards. Matcha Ninja does not need a sweetener.

    Όλα όσα πρέπει να γνωρίζεις για το τσάι matcha - Everything you need to know about matcha tea

     

    Iced Matcha Tea with Mint

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    Serves: 2
    Prep Time: 5 mins

    Ingredients

    • 500 ml water
    • ½-1 teaspoon Matcha Ninja
    • juice of 1 lime
    • the leaves of 4-5 mint sprigs
    • ice cubes
    • optional: sweetener of your choice (stevia, honey, maple syrup, etc.)
    • for serving: slices of lime and mint leaves

    Instructions

    1

    In a bottle, or in a jar with a lid, shake water and matcha ninja until it dissolves.

    2

    Add a few ice cubes, lime juice, mint leaves (and the sweetener, if you are using) and shake again.

    3

    Serve in glasses with a few more ice cubes, slices of lime and mint leaves.

     

    Sources:

    http://time.com/5188377/matcha-tea-benefits/

    https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-benefits-of-matcha-tea#section7

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