TAMPA (FOX 13) - For years, green tea has gotten high marks for its amazing health benefits. It's antioxidant rich, it's great for your health, plus, it gives your brain a bump.
So, what if you could boost those benefits ten-fold?
Enter 'matcha,' a powder made from young green tea leaves.
Dr. Mariza Snyder says the leaves are placed in shade for two to four weeks before harvesting. "When it's shaded for that long, you up the chlorophyll, you up the antioxidant level, and it just completely changes the profile of the plant. After they harvest, they steam, dry, and then grind it with a stone grinder. And so you're consuming the entirety of the leaf," Dr. Snyder said.
In Japan, samurai would drink matcha before battle because it supplies hours of sustained energy. It also contains L-theanine, which has a calming and focusing effect.
Michelle Gardner owns Chalait in New York City and has been drinking match for years.
She even quit her job in finance to open this cafe because of it. "We try to incorporate matcha into a lot of different food and beverage options here. We want to show off the versatility of matcha," said Gardner.
There are different grades of matcha. Ceremonial is delicate and meant to be whisked. It can be enjoyed as a shot or with milk, hot or cold. Culinary grade is bolder and can be mixed into baked goods and smoothies.
The husband and wife team behind "Panatea," fell in love with match at first sip. "Our skin was better, our focus was more in tuned, our energy levels were higher," said Jessica Lloyd.
'We're like 'why don't people know about this amazing superfood?'" said David Mandelbaum. "It was a great coffee alternative. So that just sparked the journey to bring matcha in an approachable way and bring it to the American consumer," he said.
Matcha costs more than the green tea bags that are commonly used because making the powder is labor intensive. One Panatea matcha tin takes about an hour to make. When choosing matcha, the more vibrant green the better, and taste matters.
"It should be rich, it should be earthy, it should be smooth, almost creamy and not bitter at all," said Lloyd.
Dr. Snyder says drinking just one cup a day will give you the full health benefits.
If you are in Tampa and looking to get your Matcha fix, here are a list of places that sell it:
- Joffrey's Coffee and Tea - Ybor City
- Coffee Evi - South Tampa
- Teavana - International Plaza
- Teabella Tea Company - Davis Islands
- Kaleisia Tea Lounge - USF area