At Alserkal’s Wild and The Moon café in Dubai, right between turmeric lattes and salad boxes, is a whole host of matcha-tinged treats: matcha bars, matcha bowls, chia matcha drinks and even matcha ‘mylk‘. This powdered green-tea product, once used primarily for Japanese tea ceremonies and Chinese monastic rituals, has hit the mainstream health-food scene and hipster café shelves. But is it actually healthy? In a word, yes, say the experts.
In its simplest form, matcha is consumed as a tea, something created by mixing the powder with hot water in a bowl and whisking it until it’s frothy. “A single bowl of matcha is more than the daily required amounts of potassium, vitamins C and A, iron and calcium,” adds Justine Dampt, founder of healthy treats company Encas, when explaining why she loves the product. “In addition, this same matcha cup has as many antioxidants as 10 cups of brewed green tea.” “If there’s one word to describe matcha it would be antioxidants!” says nutritionist Zeina Maktabi (@upcloseandhealthy).
This ‘superfood’ is rich in amino acids, antioxidants and caffeine. “It’s a great way to reduce cell damage and protect against diseases,” says Maktabi. Plus it adds in a serious dose of caffeine-fueled alertness without the typical energy crash from coffee, thanks to matcha’s particular makeup. When looking for a good matcha powder, keep an eye on its colour. “It has to be flashy green and have a very light texture,” says Dampt. Think super fine powder. For the flavour, go after something that is sweet and a bit earthy, not bitter or astringent. And look at the label: higher quality matcha tends to come from Japan.