Fighting for Your Health, while Struggling to Survive Pt. 3
Recommended reading: ‘Saving the Roots of Matcha:’ Part 1 and Part 2
In the installments above, we’ve learned important historical details surrounding the origin of matcha in Japan, and as well some of the finer details that separate traditional matcha farms from those now serving the growing market for lower qualities.
The overwhelming message is that traditional quality is struggling to survive, and its preservation relies directly on the continuity of generational knowledge in tea-growing families. This requires strict adherence of time-tested agricultural science, environmental techniques, and most importantly a lifetime commitment from each grower involved in Japan’s premium matcha.
In light of higher profit margins and corporate interests, this cultural resource has gradually reduced, now less than 60 remaining tea-growing families (and fields) are fighting to keep tradition alive. Almost all others have been forced to participate as suppliers of low-quality due to demand.
Fears and Opportunities
Perhaps the greatest worry is that the 1,000 year line of health benefits, exclusive to only the very highest qualities, may soon be broken if nothing changes.
Premium matcha is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate a commitment to health and wellness. It’s even better that by choosing only the best that Japan has to offer (including loose-leaf green tea), we can rest easy as we single-handedly give our health the quality it needs while keeping this rich tradition alive, and saying no to that low-quality stuff from your corner café.
Keep it Simple, Choose Optimal Health
Remember, low-quality green tea powder is often claimed to be matcha, but it isn’t the real deal unless it has the tradition to back it up. The few remaining matcha tea fields are defined by their intergenerational expertise and family knowledge, dedicated science of cultivation, including:
- Environmental conditions
- Natural fertilizers and land management
- Dynamic shading conditions
- Careful hand-picking, drying, sorting, and stone-grinding
All this is to say, not all matcha is created equal. Only with the best quality can you feel confident about enjoying its widely reported health benefits.
When you source matcha that has a vibrant green color, sweet aroma, and a savory and minimally bitter taste, you’re guaranteeing the highest levels of healthy compounds:
- EGCG — High-quality Japanese matcha contains nature’s greatest abundance of this potent antioxidant, widely reported to improve metabolism, blood-flow, reduce common cold and flu, and investigated for potential anti-tumor properties.
- L-theanine — Japan’s best matcha is renowned for its high level of this special amino-acid. Very similar to glutamate, a prominent neurotransmitter, L-theanine reduces stress and improves memory, learning, and growth factors in the brain; it’s scientifically studied for its synergy with caffeine, and is a chief compound responsible for matcha’s use in Zen meditation.
- Catechin Polyphenols — More than just EGCG, matcha is host to numerous natural compounds, including a variety of polyphenols and catechins which act independently in the body as promoters of health; the high levels of these health-boosters in matcha are thought to contribute towards Japan’s global lead in longevity and disease-prevention
- Caffeine and other Stimulants — The best qualities of matcha are known to contain more than the average caffeine molecule, including greater levels of similar compounds like theobromine, theophylline, paraxanthine, and others that all share stimulating effects on the central nervous system.
- Environmental Consciousness — Unlike the low-quality, fake matcha that is increasingly distributed from origins like China or Kenya, when you choose pure and 100% stone-ground Japanese matcha sourced from multi-generational tea farms, you’re guaranteed to be free of residual environmental toxins, risky fertilizers, and free of heavy-metals
Low-quality matcha contains significantly lower levels of all the good stuff, and potentially unsafe levels of the bad — especially when originating outside of Japan.
On the other hand, the low-qualities coming directly from Japan are growing largely absent in renowned health benefits, as more tea fields succumb to the greater demand of low-quality across the globe. While matcha can only be grown and cultivated in it’s homeland, we all must be part of the solution by fighting to maintain tradition and sourcing the best quality Japan has to offer.
When we support the few remaining premium matcha tea farms, we offer more value as we keep what we love alive — reaping the health benefits while we’re at it.
With each order placed at Matcha Kari, we’re able to enliven our tea-farmers and bring greater peace to the worries of losing this invaluable cultural resource permanently.
Do your part to help as you optimize your daily hustle: