It’s nearing May in the heart of Japan’s Nishio area, and beneath the cover of carefully arranged netting, row after row of brilliant jade tencha tea plants are gradually hidden from the sun. As the sunlight fades and the plants retreat into the shade, growth of the plants’ leaves slows, allowing the chlorophyll and antioxidant content to increase.
And under this shaded refuge, Japan’s number one organic matcha is tenderly nurtured. Only the newest small leaves are harvested. After undergoing a gentle steaming process, the tiny leaves are kiln-dried and stone-ground into the AOI (Ah-oh-ee) Tea Company‘s prized green matcha powder.
Matcha, which can be enjoyed a variety of different ways, offers a wealth of fantastic health benefits, including antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Matcha’s cancer-fighting abilities are well-publicized, but you may be surprised to learn of that matcha is also a great source of potassium, iron, magnesium, and yes, even fiber. Its high vitamin C content also makes matcha a powerful weapon in your cold-fighting arsenal. Matcha also soothes your stomach as it battles bacteria, eases digestion, and keeps viruses at bay.
Traditionally whisked into near-boiling water — matcha powder can also be a unique, energy-boosting cool addition to your summer drink selection. Add just a teaspoon of matcha powder to a blended organic fruit and non-dairy milk smoothie for a refreshing pick-me-up. You can even green your baked goods — literally — by adding a spoonful of matcha to the batter. And what could be more appealing on a hot summer day than a vegan coconut milk and matcha ice cream?
Do have a favorite way to enjoy matcha? Share it in the comments below!
AOI matcha is certified Kosher by the Orthodox Union, certified Organic by both the Japanese Agricultural Standards Association and the USDA, and is available online.