If you've heard the buzz about the "superfood" health benefits of matcha, a type of powdered green tea, you might want to read on.China is known to produceknockoffsfor almost every kind of popular product imaginable, and they do it so well that sometimes even the employees atthe knockoff storesbelieve it's the real deal.So it's no surprise that when Japanese matcha tea grew in popularity, China began to export its own version as Chinese "matcha" green tea powder. However, the Chinese version, while cheaper and more accessible, is not the perfect substitute for Japanese matcha.What makes Japanese matcha tea popularas well as its knockoff versionsare its allegedhealth benefits.Like traditional green tea, matcha containsa compound called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). But its levels are typically much higher in match than in traditional tea.A 2003study, for example,found that matcha had three times more EGCG thanmost traditional green teas.A series of preliminary Mayo Clinic studies showed promise for the potential use of EGCG in reducing the number of cancer cells in patients with a specific type of cancer:chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Research on green tea in people with other forms of cancer has been too limited to say for sure how beneficial it is. Otherstudies have suggested EGCGmay play a rolein maintaining heartand metabolic health, and still othersthough limited and typically in cells, not peoplesuggest its anti-inflammatory properties could be beneficial for people with rhuematoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.How is matcha made'"Matcha" translates into"powdered tea" and is exactly that steamed and air-dried green tea leaves that are stone-ground into super-fine powder.Traditionally, tea is made by steeping tea leaves in hot or boiling water for a few minutesand thendiscarding them. With matcha tea, however, the fine powder is stirred into hot, not boiling, water until it froths. Then the entire beverageground leaves and allis consumed.While tea-powdering is believed to have originated in China witha Buddhist monk in around 1191 CE, the farming techniques for matcha were refinedand perfected over several centuries in Japan.PreparingJapanese matcha is anintricate process which has been part of Japanese culture for nearly 800 years.In Japan,tea leaves are grown in the shade to preserve its green color, anddried quickly to prevent them from long exposure with oxygen, which can dull the earthy flavor.Chinese "matcha" only approximates these farming techniques:Chinese tea leaves are not generally grown in the shade, and are "pan-fried" to stop oxidation.As a result, Chinese "matcha" does not froth as much andits texture is moresandy.Additionally, the soil inJapan, specifically Ise and Uji, and South West China are have different characteristics, which are also believedhave animpact on the tea.Chinese teas have also come under fire for their potential toxicity. In 2013, the environmental organizationGreenpeace randomly tested18 chinese green tea samples, and found that 12 of them contained banned pesticides. Japanese matcha tea, on the other hand, abide by more stringent standards on use of pesticides.As a result of these differences, Japanese matcha tea can be pricier than the Chinese versions. An ounce of Japanese matcha can range from $26-$32, whereas Chinese "matcha" tea can cost as littleas $7/ounce.The process of growing and harvesting the tea iswhat makesJapanese matcha. So it may be worth the extra cash, to reap the full benefits of matcha'sflavor, history, and quality.SEE ALSO:Everything you think you know about genetically modified food is about to changeDON'T MISS:I went to the source of the world's best coffee ' and saw firsthand why the industry is in troubleJoin the conversation about this storyNOW WATCH: This is matcha ' the trendy green tea that could make coffee obsolete Click here to read full news..