If you haven’t heard of matcha green tea yet, then we’re about to rock your nutritional world. After all, this ingredient, which has become the hot new star in the tea world, is really good and really really good for you. If you have seen matcha then you might be a little skeptical of it—after all, matcha sounds funny, and it is bright green (almost neon). But it’s about time you hop on board the matcha train, because tons of health experts, dietitians and foodies can’t be wrong. So what exactly is matcha? First of all, it’s a finely ground powder, not an herb or a leave. But wait–isn’t it used in tea? Aren’t most teas made from tealeaves? Yes and yes. While some teas are made by letting tealeaves steep in hot water, matcha is made by sifting and whisking this powder in hot water; the result is a bright green drink that has a strong color and stronger flavor. According to Health.com “matcha literally means “powdered tea.” When you order traditional green tea, components from the leaves get infused into the hot water, then the leaves are discarded. With matcha, you’re drinking the actual leaves, which have been finely powdered and made into a solution, traditionally by mixing about a teaspoon of matcha powder with a third cup of hot water (heated to less than a boil), which is then whisked with a bamboo brush until it froths.”

Read Related: Tea Tutorial: Drinking Tea Properly for Every Occasion


While matcha green tea is typically more expensive than other tea products, largely due to the quality of the tea leaves used and the laborious process used to develop the powder, it’s well worth the investment considering the health benefits and the feeling of emotional and physically well-being you’ll experience after you consume it. Here are 5 reasons the whole world has become intrigued and appropriately obsessed with matcha.

1. It’s Really Good for You
It’s no secret that green tea is good for you—people have been talking about the health benefits for years. But matcha takes those wellness perks to a whole new level. As Eater reports, according to tea specialist Kathy YL Chan, “regular steeped green tea is considered healthy because the leaves contain antioxidants, but water can only extract a small about of the leaves’ nutritional properties. In the case of matcha, one consumes the entire leaf, making it exponentially more healthful.” So what exactly does matcha do for your health? It is loaded with vitamins and minerals such as Vitamins A, B, C, E and K. Matcha also has anti-aging properties and can boost your metabolism so you can better manage your weight and encourage a healthy, active lifestyle. All that from just sipping your tea. Convinced yet?

2. It Has Healing Properties
Beyond the nutritional properties of matcha, there are also healing properties that can make a big difference in your life. Matcha is chock full of anti-oxidants. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D., “matcha tea is rich in catechin polyphenols-compounds with high antioxidant activity. These compounds offer protection against many kinds of cancer, help prevent cardiovascular disease and slow the aging process. They also reduce harmful cholesterol in the blood, stabilize blood sugar levels, help reduce high blood pressure and enhance the resistance of the body to many toxins.”


3. Traditionally, Matcha is Consumed During Japanese Tea Ceremonies
In this crazy world, most of us barely have time to pee in peace without answering emails or mentally making a to-do list at the same time. We drink our coffee on our commute to work and sip tea as we help our kids with their homework. We rarely get to just relax, but when drinking matcha you are reminded that this beverage wasn’t always just a casual drink with health perks. It was a part of ancient Japanese tea ceremonies based in mindfulness and meditation. Matcha and mindfulness go hand-in-hand, and “in terms of drinking tea, this means that each particular occasion and experience, each cup of matcha, can never be replicated and should thus be treasured.” Whether or not you buy into the idea of mindfulness or you have the time and discipline to meditate regularly, drinking matcha is a lovely excuse to take a short pause each day to actually appreciate the moment.


4. It is a Healthier Way to Drink Caffeine
If you need caffeine to help you get through your morning/day/night/life, we’re right there with you. But after a while those caffeine drinks add up, and in addition to the fact that it can be bad to consume too much caffeine, you are also consuming hidden calories and unwanted fat, which can botch your healthy diet without you even realizing it. Matcha contains about the same amount of caffeine as a cup of brewed coffee (three times the amount of caffeine in steeped green tea, because you are consuming the entire leave), but with virtually zero calories and so many positive nutrients to balance out your caffeine intake. You’ll feel more than just awake; you’ll feel alert, alive, energized and optimistic.


5. There are Many ways to Consume Matcha
Of course you can drink matcha tea, which is the most common way to consume this tea powder, but you can also take matcha shots, use it in smoothies, or use it in other recipes ranging from ice cream to yogurt to pancakes and everything in between. Even if you don’t like tea, you’ll still be able to reap the rewards of eating matcha, and quite honestly the intense flavor of this powder adds major personality to any dish you make. We love these cupcakes which use matcha in both the batter and the frosting Or for more cooking inspiration here are 15 delicious recipes using matcha as a main ingredient.