Google Says Matcha is One of the Hottest Beverage Trends

August 28, 2017

Learn more about this popular health trend.

In the first of its kind, Google just released a report on the most searched non-alcoholic beverages across the US, UK, Mexico and Spain. And while there are a few trends retailers should pay close attention to, we'd like to pass on some information about one of the hottest trends, matcha green tea. Here's what you need to know to educate your shoppers and promote this popular trend.

There are many types of tea and infusions. Green tea and all true teas come from the leaves of an evergreen tree with the botanical name Camellia sinensis. In the wild, the plants can reach a height of 30 feet, but on tea plantations also referred to as gardens or estates. On the plantation, the plant is kept as a shrub, constantly pruned to a height of about 3 feet - encouraging new growth and convenient for picking. Of all the teas, green tea is the least processed and provides the most antioxidant polyphenols, notably a catechin called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which is believed to be responsible for most of the health benefits linked to green tea.

Green tea is made by briefly steaming the just harvested leaves, rendering them soft and pliable and preventing them from fermenting or changing color (like black tea). After steaming, the leaves are rolled, then spread out and "fired," dried with hot air or pan-fried in a wok, until they are crisp. The resulting greenish-yellow tea has a green, slightly astringent flavor close to the taste of the fresh leaf.

Green tea contains caffeine, although half that found in coffee (about 35 mg). The amount of caffeine in your cup will vary according to the amount of tea used, the length infusion, and if you drink the first or second infusion. Most of the caffeine in green tea is extracted into the water the first time the tea is infused, therefore the second infusion will have less caffeine. Green tea also contains L-theanine which calms the nervous system and enhances focus and concentration, potentially balancing the effects of caffeine.

There are many varieties of green tea, this depends on the country grown, the altitude and processing - all resulting in a variety of flavors and strengths to suit all palates.

Matcha is usually made from gyokuro, the highest quality Japanese green tea. How is it made? For three weeks before the spring harvest, the leaves are shaded from direct sunlight, leading to a slower maturation enhances the leaves' content of flavenols, amino acids, and other health promoting substances, as well as aroma and taste. To make matcha, the gyokuro leaves are steamed and then immediately dried and then ground into the superfine powder known as matcha. Use about two level teaspoons of matcha to ½ cup water and whip into a thick, invigorating brew, wonderful as an energizing morning tea or before exercise.

Because the whole leaves are consumer, matcha is thought to have a higher potency than regular green tea. That means a higher concentration of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants called polyphenols that offer protection against cancer and heart disease. Researchers also believe matcha can help regulate blood sugar, lower blood pressure, boost metabolism, provide anit-aging benefits, and even slow or halt the growth of cancerous cells. 

In addition to be a hot beverage trend, chefs are also incorporating this tea in pastries, soups, stir-frys, guacamole, puddings and more! 

Now is a perfice time to offer in-store samples of this beverage at the entrance of your store, so shoppers can sip as they shop. And what's even better, work with your store's grocerant chef to create some unique dishes for onsite dining, takeout and as shareable recipes for shoppers to make at home.