Japanese Matcha tea is also becoming increasingly popular in Germany
Not only bubble tea, but also other, much healthier tea drinks are becoming increasingly popular in Germany. The green Matcha tea from Japan is one of these trendy drinks. The Japanese powder tea is said to have numerous health-promoting properties.
Matcha tea consists of fine powder of Tencha (special green tea variety) that is poured with hot water during preparation and whipped with a bamboo whisk. At first glance, the frothy, poison green tea looks like a synthetic brew, but Matcha (Japanese: ground tea) is a purely natural drink, which is also considered to be extremely healthy. In Japan, matcha is a traditional part of tea ceremonies, but until recently most Germans were unfamiliar with fine tea.
Now German suppliers have also discovered the powder and in large cities such as Berlin or Hamburg, tea salons are opening more and more, which in addition to the expensive Japanese green tea varieties such as Sencha, Gyokuro and Tamaryokucha also offer Matcha, reports "Spiegel Online". In the past, matcha tea was reserved for the Japanese upper class as part of traditional tea ceremonies. Matcha is also increasingly used as an ingredient in chocolate, ice cream and baked goods. However, Japan only exports a small fraction of the annual Matcha tea production and the imitations available from other countries have so far not been able to keep up with the quality.
Little Japanese Matcha Tea is Exported Matcha is made from the leaves of the Tencha tea plant. As a so-called shadow tea, the tencha grows in the last month before harvest in reduced sunlight (mats over the tea plantations provide shade), which leads to an increased production of chlorophyll. This gives the tea its typical green color and also develops its fine, fresh, slightly sweet taste, according to "Spiegel Online". After harvesting, the tea leaves are treated with steam, then dried and ground into fine powder in traditional stone mills. Original Matcha is made exclusively in Japan.
According to the experts, annual production has amounted to almost 80,000 tonnes in recent years, of which only 2,420 tonnes were exported in 2011. In the meantime, "they also get top green teas from Japan in selected specialty stores in Germany," Monika Beutgen, managing director of the German Tea Association, told Spiegel Online, but at a high price. A 30-gram can of Matcha tea costs more than 50 euros.
Inferior imitations of the noble green tea It has long been observed that Matcha is becoming better known, explained the managing director of the German Tea Association. While the noble tea "was only known to die-hard Japan fans a few years ago", Matcha is now enjoying growing popularity in Germany as well. In view of the strictly limited supply of Japanese matcha, the trend tea is now also grown in some Chinese provinces, although there are considerable differences in quality. According to the experts, powdered tea from Chinese provinces is often based on inferior leaf tea, which is ground into powder and then colored green. Here there are mostly significant differences in taste to the original Matcha.
Health-promoting effects of green tea With regard to the health-promoting effects of Matcha, Prof. Dr. Ulrich Engelhardt, head of the Institute of Food Chemistry at the Technical University of Braunschweig, told Spiegel Online that "a certain positive effect of matcha on health is recognizable". Since not only an extract, but the whole leaf of green tea is taken in here, it seems reasonable to assume that the already known positive effects of green tea are even more pronounced with Matcha. So far, however, there is no evidence that Matcha benefits health more than the consumption of normal green teas, emphasized Prof. Engelhardt. However, the health-promoting effects of green tea in general have been widely examined and confirmed.
Reduced risk of fatal cardiovascular diseases For example, Prof. Peter Stehle from the Institute for Nutritional and Food Sciences (IEL) at the University of Bonn reported in 2007 in the journal "Scientific Information Service Tea" (published by the German Tea Institute) that green tea correlate inversely with the risk of fatal cardiovascular diseases. Referring to a Japanese cohort study with more than 40,000 participants, Prof. Stehle explained that the preventive effects were most evident in the fatal strokes. According to the Japanese researchers, green tea also had a positive effect on other cardiovascular diseases (e.g. hardening of the arteries, coronary heart disease). The protective effects are mainly attributed to the high content of flavanoids, explained Prof. Stehle.
However, the Japanese study did not confirm the expected protective effect of green tea against cancer. According to the experts, the scientific evidence for the preventive effect with regard to the risk of diabetes has also been lacking to date. However, the Japanese study found a generally reduced mortality rate with high green tea consumption. It can certainly be assumed that the Matcha trend is more beneficial to health than the bubble tea boom observed last year. (fp)
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