Matcha is literally a “powdered tea,” which is obtained from green tea leaves. But how much caffeine is there in matcha compared to its competitors? You’re about to find out, so stay tuned!
Preparing and drinking matcha tea has long been the center of the Japanese tea ceremony and has a long association with Zen.
Matcha is the only form of tea in which the entire leaf is consumed. It is made from high-quality leaves treated with great care, and it provides more healthy elements than other forms of green tea consumption.
It is a unique, beautiful, and richly flavored drink that gives those who consume a sense of well-being. Besides, the simple ritual of preparing it is pleasant and meditative.
How matcha is produced
To make this beverage, unlike most other forms of green tea, farmers cover the plants with shade cloth for three weeks before the harvest in May.
This causes the new shoots to develop larger, thinner leaves with better flavor and texture. Harvesting is done by hand, and only the youngest and smallest leaves are selected for the best quality matcha.
Farmers vaporize the leaves briefly to stop any fermentation, dry them, and pack them in bales for cold storage.
The aging process deepens the tea’s flavor, which becomes optimal after six months from the harvesting day.
How much caffeine is in matcha tea?
Matcha contains caffeine. This is because it’s made by grinding whole leaves into a fine powder. Therefore, the amount of caffeine is much greater than drinking from traditional “teabags.”
Don’t let this high level of caffeine scare you. Remember, a moderate amount of caffeine will not hurt and has been shown to benefit your health.
Caffeine in matcha can help increase metabolism by 40% and regulate blood sugar levels.
If you trade your typical morning coffee cup for a cup of matcha tea, you’ll maintain the same energy levels.
You may want to read: Cheese Tea: The New Exotic Beverage for Tea Lovers
Furthermore, you will improve concentration throughout the day without the problems that coffee consumption can bring.
Matcha tea benefits and medicinal properties
In addition to being tasty and stimulating, matcha tea has many health benefits due to its properties. Let’s see what they are:
Matcha is rich in antioxidants
Matcha is rich in catechins, a class of plant compounds in tea that acts as natural antioxidants.
Antioxidants help stabilize harmful free radicals, which can damage cells and cause chronic and degenerative diseases.
When matcha powder is added to hot water to make tea, it contains all the leaf nutrients. It tends to have more catechins and antioxidants than simply steeping the green tea leaves in water.
In fact, according to one estimate, the number of certain catechins in matcha is up to 137 times greater than in other types of green tea.
Including matcha in your diet may increase the number of antioxidants, which may help prevent cell damage and even decrease the risk of several degenerative diseases.
Protects the liver
The liver is vital to our health and plays a key role in eliminating toxins, drug metabolism, and the processing of nutrients.
Some studies have found that matcha can help protect your liver.
An analysis of 15 studies found that drinking green tea in any form was associated with lower liver disease risks.
Boosts brain function
Research has shown that several components of matcha tea may help improve brain function.
Another study carried out with 25 people looked at how they performed on a range of tasks designed to measure brain performance.
Some participants consumed either matcha tea or a bag containing 4 grams of matcha tea, while others consumed a regular tea or a placebo bar.
Another small study showed that consuming 2 grams of green tea powder per day for two months helped improve brain function in older people.
Multiple studies have linked caffeine consumption to brain function improvements, citing faster reaction times, increased attention, and improved memory.
Matcha tea also contains a compound called L-theanine, which alters the caffeine effects, promoting alertness, and preventing the drop in energy levels that usually follow caffeine consumption.
L-theanine has also been shown to increase alpha wave activity in the brain, helping induce relaxation and lower stress levels.
Protects your heart
Heart disease is the leading cause of death globally, accounting for one-third of all deaths in people over 35.
Some studies have shown that drinking green tea, which has a similar nutritional profile to matcha, can help protect against heart disease.
Furthermore, green tea has been shown to reduce “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides. It can also help prevent LDL cholesterol oxidation, another factor that can protect against heart disease.
When combined with a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, drinking matcha tea can help keep your heart in good shape and protect it from potential diseases.
Matcha for weight loss
Green tea is well known for its ability to support weight loss. In fact, studies show that it can help speed up the metabolism to increase energy expenditure and stimulate fat burning.
Although most of these studies focused on green tea extract, matcha comes from the same plant and should have the same or superior effect.
How to make matcha
To prepare traditional matcha tea, sift 1 or 2 teaspoons (2-4 grams) of matcha powder into a cup, add about 60 ml of hot water and mix with a bamboo whisk.
You can find a bamboo whisk in a special tea store or a Japanese store. You can also adjust the ratio of matcha powder to water based on your preferred taste.
For lighter tea, reduce the powder to half a teaspoon (1 gram) and mix 90 to 120 ml of hot water.
If a more concentrated version is preferred, mix 2 teaspoons (4 grams) of matcha powder with only 30 ml of water.
You can always take it one step further and get creative by making matcha lattes, puddings, or protein shakes to increase your favorite recipes’ nutrient content.
As always, moderation is key. Although matcha is full of health benefits, more is not necessarily better.
You may want to read: Does Matcha Make You Poop? (7 Amazing Benefits)
In fact, liver problems have been reported in some people who drank six or more green teacups daily. This translates into about two to three cups of matcha tea, as it is more concentrated than green tea.
It is best to drink one or two cups a day and always look for certified organic varieties. This will let you enjoy its health benefits without risking any side effects.
Matcha comes from the same plant as green tea, but it contains a more concentrated amount of the plant’s antioxidants and beneficial compounds because it’s made from the entire leaf.
Where to buy matcha tea
Matcha tea can be purchased in organic stores and herbalists. However, it is more common and convenient to get online.
Matcha side effects and contraindications
Although matcha tea is generally considered safe when consumed in small quantities, it is important not to exceed two cups.
Also, if the crop is not organic, it may contain fluoride, arsenic, and lead, absorbed by the plant from the surrounding soil.
Matcha tea can upset your stomach and may cause constipation in some people.
Children and pregnant or nursing women should avoid consuming it.
The daily dose is a maximum of two cups per day.
If you consider the use of matcha for a health condition, be sure to consult your doctor first.
How much caffeine in matcha compared to coffee
I’ve always liked coffee and still do, but to be honest, it doesn’t come close to the properties and benefits of matcha.
A little background:
Buddhist monks first used matcha in China to stay awake after having very long meditations. They drank it as part of their ceremony by taking small sips.
They used it because matcha’s energy is not immediate, like coffee, but rather prolonged. This is why it not only keeps you awake but also relaxes you.
Japanese Tea Ceremony
The Japanese tea ceremony called “chanoyu” consists of preparing green tea powder (matcha) through a ritual of Buddhist-Zen origin to achieve certain self-knowledge and learn in the spiritual world.
For this purpose, the Chado, shadow, “path of tea,” is followed, which deals with the tea ceremony’s study (or doctrine). In Japanese culture, there are other different “ways of life.”
The best-known examples are the paths of flowers called “Ikebana,” the path of drawing or painting represented by the “Kaiga,” the path of energy and harmony under the name of “Aikidō,” or the path of the calligraphy art represented by the “Shodō.”
The Japanese tea ceremony is not a mere act of refinement or manners, usually thought of, but a very complex action of deep convictions.
Fundamental principles of Zen philosophy in the Japanese tea ceremony
Within the tea ceremony, there are four fundamental principles of Zen tradition:
- Harmony. Between people and nature (wa)
- Respect for both people and nature (kei)
- Mental and sensory purity (sei)
- Tranquility is derived from mental peace and the perception of abundance in nature (jaku).
Philosophy of the tea ceremony
The ceremony has a high philosophical content:
- To learn good manners
- To encourage respect and good relations between people
- To live in harmony with the passing of the seasons
- To make the daily routine more pleasant
- Make the person who practices it develop a refined taste
- To be a calm, brave, and honest person
The Japanese tea ceremony is considered an invaluable gift that the host makes to the guests. Offering a tea ceremony means hospitality. Similarly, guests should be grateful and honored to have participated in such a ceremony.
The 4 main differences between matcha and coffee
1. Matcha provides prolonged energy while coffee gives you ups and downs
Coffee and energy drinks alike give you highs and lows and can lead to caffeine shock. These beverages have an acidic effect that impacts the adrenal glands and can cause high glucose and insulin levels, causing tremors, nervousness, insomnia, and intense hunger.
In contrast, matcha works better with your nervous system since 1 cup contains about 25% less caffeine than a cup of coffee.
There are no ups and downs because it is digested slowly due to its phytonutrients (especially L-Theanine) that promote caffeine absorption in your body.
This means that its effect can last at least 3 hours while slowly releasing throughout the day. Thus, it can provide you with 3-6 hours with constant energy, while coffee only lasts 1 hour and may cause other consequences.
3. Matcha has a ridiculous amount of antioxidants
Coffee contains 1299 ORAC (according to the American Chemical Society), while Matcha has 1573 ORAC. ORAC’s measure the number of antioxidants found in foods, amongst other things.
This value makes it a healthy food with great therapeutic benefits to treat many diseases, including cancer.
3. Vitamins and nutrients
Matcha contains large amounts of nutrients in addition to energizers.
However, when you drink a cup of regular green tea, you only get about 10% of its nutrients since it’s not really using the whole plant.
In matcha, the plant is crushed, so you get 90% of all the nutrients.
5. Matcha vs coffee: Which one’s easier to make?
This wonderful green powder has a reputation for being difficult to prepare. However, all you really need to do is mix 1 tablespoon of it, sugar or sweetener to taste, water or hot milk, and stir. It’s super easy!
On the other hand, coffee is the same preparation, but sometimes you need to deal with the brewing machine. Not to mention, get the measuring right if you want a single cup.
How much caffeine in matcha? Conclusion
It is worth mentioning that matcha is not a medicine. Therefore, it is not meant to prevent or treat disease. It’s just a concentrated version of green tea with excellent properties for everyday health. There are no recorded side effects associated with daily intake.