Monday, April 14, 2014

product review: green tea matcha powder

<start> disclaimer: i was provided with the product discussed in this post free of charge from kiss me organics. i was asked to review the product and provide a review on my blog and on amazon.com. all opinions, reviews and thoughts are 100% mine and honest based on my experiences with the product. <end> disclaimer


i don't often accept the offer to do product reviews from companies that reach out to me. i really only want to try and review products that i feel would be something i'd go out and purchase on my own to try. as i just read racing weight, which mentioned green tea as a supplement for endurance athletes, i was more than interested in trying out green tea matcha powder when given the opportunity. kiss me organics sent me a bag of their green tea matcha powder to try.

a little background: green tea matcha is basically finely ground or milled, high quality green tea. matcha powder mixes fully into a drink, rather than steeping tea in a bag. since you're actually ingesting the tea, instead of drinking tea water after tossing your tea bag, you're able to absorb more of the benefits of the tea leaf itself. 

proclaimed benefits of green tea matcha include:

  • more antioxidants than a cup of green tea (we're talking 137x more than brewed green tea, with the brand i tested)
  • weight loss (promotion of fat oxidation - also described in the racing weight book i mentioned, which is where my curiousity for green tea as a supplement started)
  • matcha contains more of an amino acid called l-theanine than brewed green tea. l-theanine is capable of inducing alpha wave activity in the brain and apparently alpha wave activity can help relieve stress, promote relaxation and lower blood pressure - the result is greater mental focus
  • matcha can provide an energy boost - while it contains caffeine, the l-theanine "counteracts" the jitteriness of caffeine (like you might get from coffee)

green tea matcha powder, fresh out of the bag

how did i use it?
i wanted to try the matcha powder out in the three ways suggested by kiss me organics: lattes, baking and smoothies. when i did research on green tea matcha powder online, these were also the most common recipes i found for suggested use. 

how did i feel?
its hard to determine the long term effects of using a product like this, as it would require more than a few months of use and a baseline to compare to. but i've been using the product for about two weeks in a variety of ways and i can say there have been easy to identify instances where i've felt that my mental acuity and focus has been sharper and i felt like i had more energy going into my workout and during. i think the easiest way for me to recognize this is when i've tried the powder in a smoothie or latte. more details below.

did it work?

smoothies: there are a ton of recipes for smoothies that include green tea matcha. i created my own that was a heavier protein based smoothie. i added about two tablespoons of matcha powder to my smoothie batch and created about 8 smoothies to use throughout the week. i couldn't taste the green tea because i used way too many other ingredients that overshadowed the tea flavor. but that was fine by me. i thought the flavors blended nicely and i felt good knowing that my smoothie was giving more than just a daily shot of protein, but also a shot of antioxidants. i think it was harder to tell if the smoothie helped boost my energy or focus, because it had a lot of other ingredients in it, but i wouldn't be shy to try another smoothie recipe that was more focused on the green tea matcha as the main ingredient.

smoothie was an ugly color because
of the protein powder i used. still tasted good!

lattes: making a green tea matcha latte was way harder than i thought it would be. the matcha powder itself tastes like very concentrated green tea. if you want to know what that tastes like, lick a green tea bag and you'll have an idea. its not sweet and has a bitter flavor to it. i can't do bitter with my lattes and my coffee is always sweetened, so the biggest challenge with the green tea latte was making it sweet without adding too much sugar. my first test run went terrible. the second try got better; i did milk, green tea matcha, cinnamon and honey. i mixed the milk, cinnamon and honey first, warming it up, and then mixed in the matcha last. the trick is to really mix the matcha well, or it could settle to the bottom.

i replaced my normal afternoon coffee with a green tea latte and did find that my energy level felt elevated as did my ability to focus. i didn't feel jittery and i also think i felt more focused and energized for my after work workouts as well, which is a huge bonus. i usually have my afternoon pick me up around 2:30pm or 3:00 - so for the energy benefits to last past 5:00 pm was really surprising, but in a good way!

my best green tea matcha latte,
with a little cinnamon on top!

baking: i decided to try baking the matcha powder into a fool proof recipe; something that came from a box. i used my favorite gluten free spice cake box mix and added chunky applesauce (in replace of the oil), eggs, water and two heaping tablespoons of the green tea matcha. the batter instantly had a green hue to it, but when i did a test batter lick, all i could taste was the spice cake and i was happy with that.

after the cupcakes baked, they tasted just like spice cake as well - no overwhelming tea taste. the funny part was that since i added the green tea matcha, in my mind i thought that made the cupcakes healthier. which in a way, yes they were, because they had more antioxidants in them. BUT it was still a cupcake made with cake batter - so still a treat and not a healthy muffin like my brain wanted to them to be. i started popping a bunch of the little ones into my mouth because they were tasty, but i constantly had to remind myself to hold back because they were still a sweet!

healthy muffin - i mean, cupcake!

overall, i liked using the green tea matcha in all of these use cases. i think its easiest for me to use them in lattes and smoothies, as i make those most often, but i wouldn't hesitate to add matcha powder to my next zucchini bread batch or something similar.

i do think i felt a heightened sense of focus and energy after drinking a smoothie or latte with the green tea matcha in it. whether or not it increased my metabolism or helped me burn additional fat is hard to say after using the product for only two weeks. this would be something i'd like to track over time and i'll be especially curious to see how my weight does change now that i'm focused on getting back down to my racing weight.

so, what does it cost?
kiss me organics sells their green tea matcha powder on amazon for $25 a bag. the bag was much smaller than i thought it would be, based on the picture on amazon, but i didn't realize how compressed the powder actually is. so while the bag is small, it has a lot of matcha in it.

i don't have a great gauge on how cost effective $25 is. if i had used the bag solely for baking and large smoothie batches, i could see the bag being used up pretty quickly. but, a recommended serving size is only a teaspoon, and if i did one teaspoon a day in a latte, the bag would last me quite awhile. i think the value here just depends on use case. i know a few local tea stores sell green tea matcha, but i haven't done any price comparison. 

bottom line - would i use it again?
yes, i would use green tea matcha again, and i would purchase this particular product with my own hard earned cash. i'd like to see how i feel after using it for more than two weeks, but i can easily see it being my afternoon coffee replacement or being a supplement used often in smoothies. 


summary:
(out of 5 dumbbells possible)

overall value: 4.62/5 dumbbells 
taste: 5/5 dumbbells (tastes just the way concentrated tea should and it blends in well with other recipes where you can mask the taste
effectiveness: 4/5 dumbbells (while it did help me feel more energized and focused, i can't speak yet to long term benefits like weight loss) 
side effects: 5/5 dumbbells (no weird side effects)
cost: 4.5/5 (again, this is totally based on use case. for what i've used it for thus far, i'd say its pretty cost effective)

have you tried green tea matcha powder? i'd love to hear how it works for you and how you use it!

5 comments:

  1. I have never tried this product nor have I ever heard of it before! I am surprised at how versatile of a product it is!

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    1. Right? Its pretty awesome when you can find a supplement that you can use in a variety of ways!

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  2. I drank a lot of Matcha last year...Should probably get back into it since I have a huge bag of it.... ANYWAY! The latte was really good, but I wouldn't make one unless I could make a proper one...so maybe someday when I get a fancy steamer. Also, I used to do a Matcha shot before I went to the gym after work. It was gross, but it was like medicine. Down the hatch and chase it with some water and you're good. I like the way it woke me up, but I hate the flavor of it. I've also used it in smoothies and that's usually pretty good too! :)

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    Replies
    1. Matcha shot!! I haven't heard of this, but thats a great idea! I want to experiment with more smoothies.. maybe something thats more ice based? IDK. I'm glad to hear you've enjoyed using it!

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  3. I got an email from this company and said someone suggested that I might like to review it. I was prepping for surgery so didn't get a chance to email back until today- hoping it's not too late!

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