Matcha green tea (Camellia sinensis), which originates from Japan, is commonly considered as particularly beneficial to health. A large content of polyphenols, amino acids (mainly tannins) and caffeine potentially increase the antioxidant properties of the drink. The real clinical effect and the antioxidant potential of Matcha tea was newly evaluated by Jakubczyk and her team in a clinical Study published in Foods 2020 (Jakubczyk K, 2020). In researchers analyzed the content of polyphenols, flavonoids, vitamin C as well as the antioxidant potential of Matcha collected at different times and used in infusions at different temperatures.
Matcha is one of the richer sources of flavonoids, especially rutin. Rutin is a compound that has an antioxidant effect and belongs to the group of polyphenols. Additionally, it helps to seal blood vessels, has anti-inflammatory properties and it also supports the immune system (Hosseinzadeh & Nassiri-Asl, 2014). Furthermore, it also slows down the oxidation of vitamin C, which results in numerous supplements available on the market that contain a combination of the two constituents.
Matcha is characterized by high antioxidant potential. The value for the antioxidant status of the studied infusions, expressed as the percentage of DPPH radical inhibition, was to be highest when these infusions were 10× diluted. Compared to other green teas (leaves, bags), Matcha tea is characterized by the highest antioxidant potential.
An important parameter that has an influence on the acquired results is the temperature of water used to prepare the infusions. In the case of both in this study applied methods, the antioxidant potential was higher at 90 °C, and the lowest at 25 °C. This is associated with the better release of biologically active compounds and the higher kinetic energy at higher brewing temperatures.
The factors such as the time of harvest have also an influence on properties. The results of this study confirmed the differences between April and July harvests. The April harvest was characterized by lower antioxidant potential in contrast to the July harvest. The differences in the results between the harvests may stem from the fact that phytochemical content of tea is influenced by factors such as: the conditions of cultivation, the age of the leaves, storage or even the type of processing . The shading of the leaves also has an influence on the reduced production of catechins, which is reflected in the content of polyphenols in the infusion. Furthermore, leaf collection during the first harvest may be associated with an increased synthesis of secondary metabolites of the plant. Therefore, it can be concluded that leaves collected during the second and third harvests are characterized by higher compound content and more beneficial qualities for the human health than the ones collected during the first harvest.
Matcha’s high antioxidant potential is also visible in its powdered form. Fujioka (Fujioka, et al., 2016) proved that powdered tea, in comparison to leaf tea, is characterized by a higher concentration of polyphenols when using the same amount of leaves and powder. This suggests that the grinding process itself has an influence on the acceleration of polyphenol extraction and the mixing process during brewing. It also has been concluded that the potential of green tea increases with phenol content. Additionally, the powdered form (Matcha) was characterized by the highest parameters out of all green tea types and required the shortest time of brewing. The increase of extraction time of the powdered Matcha did not have an influence on its antioxidant properties.
Matcha, the Japanese powdered green tea, is a valuable resource with rich content of biologically active substances with antioxidant properties. It is characterized by particularly high content of rutin, but also polyphenols and vitamin C. Additionally, its infusions have a high antioxidant potential, the highest out of all tea types. However, factors such as the time of harvest and the temperature of brewing have an influence on its properties. Infusions made from Matcha tea, particularly from the second and third harvests, can be a valuable source of antioxidants and can be used in the prophylaxis of illnesses with a free-radical basis.