Matcha is a format of green tea that has Japanese roots dating back to the 12th century. It’s good to know how some things are universal across centuries – like how iced almond milk matcha lattes were beloved even by Zen monks. (Just kidding.)
But here’s what’s true: matcha has been lauded for its myriad of health benefits for ages, well before we were able to analyze its nutritional impact in controlled studies. Matcha is a format of green tea leaves that has been pulverized into a ground powder; the benefits of green tea leaves are concentrated into this fine green powder. Zen monks would actually drink matcha green tea before long hours of intense meditation because it would help them remain alert and focused while still calm and relaxed.
Researchers have confirmed what cultures already knew about matcha. Here are some of those findings and the studies behind them:
Matcha has been found to improve attention, reaction time, and memory among consumers of the tea in one study. Many of us may rely on coffee for our caffeine fix, but for people who experience coffee jitters, matcha may be an appropriate alternative. L-theanine, one of the compounds found in matcha, has been suggested to promote relaxation and decrease stress.
Many people describe the taste of matcha as “grassy,” (which I personally like). But in order to cut the earthiness of the finely ground tea leaf, drinkers have begun adding milk to their matcha. Matcha is no longer consumed as just shots; it’s offered in:
- Ice Cream
- Baked Goods
Drinking Matcha When You’re Vegan
For dairy-free drinkers, a matcha latte won’t be able to offer its myriad of health benefits without delivering the downsides of dairy too. Luckily, many of the cafes and restaurants that offer matcha are also hip enough to offer some vegan milk alternatives, too. You can always supplement your matcha concoction with milks like coconut milk, almond milk, and oat milk.
But having to go out to get your hands on a decent cup of dairy-free matcha (let alone matcha) is especially difficult when you don’t live in a major city or want to leave the house. Luckily, there are vegan matcha alternatives for use at home, like Coconut Cloud Vegan Matcha Latte, which comes in a dried format to maximize shelf life. If you need a clean, minimally processed afternoon boost, the vegan matcha latte (which just needs hot water) may be your best bet.