The Hidden Benefits of Matcha and Why It's Amazing for Your Skin
If you're new around here, I'll have you know I'm partial to a few cups of matcha a day. And yes, you really do get the caffeine high without the jitters and anxiety that comes along with that triple shot, extra hot skinny milk latte you just ordered at Starbucks.
Before I blow your mind with the benefits, the grade of Matcha you use is very important if you want to reap the healing properties. So, before you rush up from your office desk and run to the trendiest quirky coffee stall offering a matcha latte with whipped cream on top, let me talk you through what you need to know.
Ever wonder why matcha is such a vibrant green? That’s thanks to the high amount of chlorophyll it contains. These natural plant compounds are essential for photosynthesis, the chemical reaction in which sunlight is transformed into energy. Interestingly enough, chlorophyll can protect our skin from sun damage and reduce photo-aging, which means less wrinkles and fewer sun spots. Chlorophyll also protects our skin by shielding it from impurities and chemicals in our environment that could clog our pores.
Another important compound found in matcha, epigallocatechin-3-gallate or EGCG for short, gives the powder great anti-bacterial and antibiotic properties that help with acne prone skin as well. Aside from its benefits on blemishes, this antioxidant promotes smoother and more supple skin due to its ability to rejuvenate skin cells and support skin structure. I'll take a jug full please!
Thought that was it? Incredibly enough, matcha also has the power to reduce puffiness, skin inflammation, and dark under eye circles because of its high vitamin K content, a vitamin that promotes an increase in blood circulation.
Grades of Matcha
What Should You Look For in Matcha?
When comparing the different grades of matcha, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the following qualities and traits:
The color of the tea (more vibrant green usually means it’s purer)
Texture and density (the finer the powder, generally the more delicate the flavor)
Brand and product quality
Exposure to oxygen
Treatments prior to processing
I'll walk you through these qualities more in-depth below and discuss each grade.
Ceremonial grade is the highest quality matcha powder available. It is created to be used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies, so it’s considered more luxury and high-end. It’s made from the youngest matcha tea leaves with the stems and veins removed, leaving only the richest and most nutritious parts of the plant for production. The leaves are stone-ground into an extremely fine texture, which generates a delicate and airy taste.
The flavor is sweet and mild in comparison to other grades, which adds to its high-quality. Ceremonial grade matcha is also usually served on its own but I love consuming it as an oat milk latte.
Ceremonial matcha creates a thick tea that tastes scrumptious and fresh, with a slightly grassy aroma which is slightly sweet. You only need about 1/2 teaspoon of matcha powder for every 8oz (1 cup) of hot water or your milk of choice (preferably a milk alternative, oat, almond, cashew) - talking of milk, I will save the negative effects dairy has on the skin for another blog post.
Whisk together the powder and water or milk, preferably with a matcha whisk, for a smooth and velvety consistency and then sip and enjoy!
Click on the image below if you want to purchase the same organic ceremonial grade matcha I use everyday!
Culinary grade isn’t a lower quality product than the ceremonial grade. It simply has a different flavour profile, and it’s usually more robust and bitter. This means it works better in smoothies, and baked goods. It still retains that characteristic fresh, holistic taste and bright green colour that’s so distinctive to matcha but I personally prefer the natural sweetness and health benefits of organic ceremonial grade.
Premium grade is the kind of matcha you’d throw in your ice cream or baked cupcakes to get a delicious and nutritious shot of energy and colour. It has a bright green color and a fine texture, so it breaks up easily when mixed in desserts. I personally recommend sticking with premium matcha for your baking.