Matcha, a finely milled green tea powder, has for centuries been the green tea of choice for Japanese tea ceremonies. Drinking matcha delivers far more nutrients to your system than sipping common green tea. When you drink matcha, you are ingesting ground whole leaves as opposed to brewed tea that results from steeping.
Matcha’s unique growing process is largely responsible for its extremely high antioxidant and amino acid contents. The tencha leaves are shaded in the final weeks of growing, causing them to work harder to photosynthesize. Shading also helps to retain the potency of the amino acid, L-theanine, a neurotransmitter, whose strength is diminished when exposed to full sunlight.
This essential amino acid has a distinct calming effect on the nervous system, and also stimulates alpha brainwaves––those responsible for alertness, focus, and cognitive function. L-theanine’s role in activating our brain, allows us to be focused on tasks at hand, but without the unwelcome jittery alertness we get from caffeine. Also, matcha contains one-fourth to one-third less caffeine than that of a cup of coffee or an espresso.
Matcha has a naturally nutty flavor and aroma, and marries harmoniously with a host of ingredients such as cacao, coconut, almond, maple, peppermint, vanilla, chili spice, and smoke. In this smoothie recipe, I’ve blended matcha powder with creamy coconut milk, dried coconut meat, sweet dates, vanilla, avocado, flax seeds, and a touch of honey, for a morning shake that is deeply nourishing and provides sustained energy and calm.
Recipe from Superfood Juices & Smoothies, Page 86
Makes: Approx. (1) 20-ounce smoothie
Time: 5 minutes
1 tablespoon coconut flakes
2 teaspoons flax seeds or flax meal (ground flax)
1 teaspoon matcha tea powder (I use Panatea culinary grade matcha for smoothies, baking, chocolate, and lattés, and reserve the ceremonial-grade for sipping matcha neat.)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 pitted medjool dates
1 teaspoon local honey
1 cup coconut milk beverage
1/3 medium avocado
1 cup filtered water
In a blender, combine all ingredients. Blend on high for 20-30 seconds, or until smooth. Enjoy immediately and sip slowly.