You may have noticed a new green food taking over your Instagram feed (yep, there are more green superfoods out there). That's matcha, one of the buzziest food trends going, which makes it simultaneously intriguing and insufferable.
Matcha lovers say the powder has tons of superfood-like benefits. It gives you the energy of Spider-Man! It keeps you looking young! You're less likely to die if you drink it! But is there any truth behind these claims, or are the benefits of matcha oversold?
What the hell IS matcha?
Start with the basics. Matcha is made from whole green tea leaves ground down into a powder. But it's not just any green tea; matcha comes from special shade-grown tea leaves, with the shade resulting in boosted chlorophyll levels and a deeper green hue. Traditionally, it's whisked together with hot water until it makes a frothy tea drink. But today, matcha is quickly making its way into trendy coffee shops, ice cream parlors, and even hipster cocktail bars.
Matcha is to green tea as smoothies are to juice
To understand matcha, you have to break down why it's unique. When you juice fruits and vegetables, you're throwing a lot of the nutrients in the trash. Green tea is similar, in that matcha is the full leaf. By choosing matcha, you're not leaving any part of the leaf behind, unlike green-tea bags, which are steeped then thrown away.