Matcha is a traditional Japanese powdered tea that is made from finely ground green tea leaves. Matcha green tea is enjoyed as part of the spiritual tea ceremony as well as in everyday life. Over the last couple of years, this tea has become increasingly popular all over the world due to its numerous health benefits, exceptional aroma and powdery texture, which is unusual for teas. Japan is known as the main maker of Matcha green tea, and most of the tea is grown in the Uji region, near the ancient capital of Kyoto. The whole process of creating Matcha tea powder lasts for weeks, even months if we include harvesting and processing. The tea is high in quality and its bright green color and flavor are extremely unique. That is what makes Matcha tea exceptional among other teas, and probably what makes it so desirable and appreciated among tea lovers.
However, one of the most frequent questions surrounding Matcha tea regards its caffeine content. Does Matcha contain caffeine, and if so, how much is there? In the following paragraphs, we will try to answer these questions for you, so you can enjoy your Matcha tea to the fullest.
What Is Matcha Tea?
Of course, to know if tea contains caffeine, you must know what the tea is, how it is made and what is its chemistry. As mentioned above, Matcha is a green tea that is turned into powder by having its leaves ground. Matcha is usually harvested twice a year, and only the highest-quality Matcha leaves, called techa are used. It takes around 20 minutes to grind 10g of leaves into a fine powder. A faster technique would ruin the fine texture, as there would be too much friction and heat. Modern, mechanical grinders can grind faster, and a greater quantity of tea leaves without damaging the quality of the tea. However, the Japanese usually prefer a more traditional approach in order to retain that fine texture. This usually also increases the pricing of the tea.
When it comes to the chemistry of Matcha tea, it is quite interesting. Because you are consuming a whole leaf, in the form of powder, the tea provides much more than it usually would. Matcha tea is a type of green tea, and it is very high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. The levels of these compounds are much higher than they are in the regular, hot-water infused green tea. Moreover, the fact that you are consuming a whole leaf means that the levels of caffeine in the tea are also increased. More about that in the following paragraphs.
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Matcha Tea Caffeine
Matcha tea is green tea, and of course, as such it contains caffeine. As aforementioned, the fact that the tea is made from the whole leaf increases the levels of all of its components, including caffeine. The levels of caffeine in Matcha tea can equal to half the levels of caffeine in black tea, so, oftentimes, Matcha tea is used instead of coffee. For example, regular steeped green tea contains up to 31.8mg of caffeine. When it comes to Matcha green tea, it can contain up to 68mg of caffeine in one cup (as it is usually made per cup only, and per cup, you will use 1 teaspoon of Matcha powder). The levels of caffeine, of course, vary between different types of Matcha tea; the Ceremonial type of Matcha tea is known to have the highest levels of caffeine. Matcha tea cannot be decaffeinated, and regardless of the volume of water in which you prepare it, the amount and effect of caffeine do not decrease.
It is important to point out that caffeine in Matcha tea has the same, or even better effect as the caffeine in other teas or coffee. One should bear in mind that caffeine is a stimulant and that too much of it can do harm to one’s body. When it comes to Matcha tea, in order to take advantage of its health benefits fully, you should consume up to 2 to 3 cups daily. That amounts to almost 185mg of caffeine, which is a recommended daily intake of caffeine (usually up to 200mg daily). On the other hand, Matcha consumers should know that the caffeine in the tea is an exceptional metabolism booster; Matcha tea can boost your metabolism up to 40%, as well as can regulate blood sugar levels and manage concentration and focus.
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Benefits of Caffeine in Matcha Tea
So, speaking of Matcha tea being a metabolism booster, it is only fair to say that the caffeine in this tea is more beneficial than in other teas and coffee. Matcha tea has an exceptional combination of phytochemicals compared to the regular green tea. Studies have shown that regular consumption of Matcha tea can demonstrate benefits on mood and cognitive performance. The caffeine in the tea improves performance in demanding, long-term cognitive tasks in form of alertness, arousal, and vigor.
These benefits occur after the consumption of just one cup of Matcha tea. At 200 mg of Matcha green tea, the health benefits include even greater attention performance, due to the fact that L-theanine and caffeine levels are significantly increased. However, at this point, after a higher Matcha tea daily consumption, you might feel an onset of relaxation and calming influence, due to the effects of L-theanine. Overall, people who consume Matcha regularly are known to have a better memory and higher distraction control than non-Matcha consumers.
It is surely important to mention that the beneficial effects of caffeine in Matcha tea can last up to 8 hours. This tea will provide you with the necessary energy within that time frame. However, unlike regular tea or coffee, Matcha tea won’t have you feeling down after the effects dry out; your blood sugar levels won’t drop drastically, or at all, as Matcha regulates these levels very well. Higher levels of Matcha consumption might just result in effects of clarity, calm alertness, and sustained energy.
Matcha Tea vs. Coffee
Coffee is a regular source of caffeine in the Western world, while tea is usually the source of caffeine in the East. Coffee, of course, is cheaper, easier to make, and more accessible to everyone than Matcha tea is. Matcha tea is usually bought at specialized tea stores or can be ordered online, with prices even up to 60$ per 30 grams, which would be enough to make between 15 and 20 cups. Coffee, on the other hand, is drastically cheaper and provides a greater amount of end product. Let’s look at some other comparisons and differences between Matcha tea and coffee when it comes to caffeine digestion and other, overall benefits;
- Caffeine Digestion – it is important to know that caffeine from coffee and caffeine from Matcha tea is digested differently in our bodies. The body processes these two caffeine sources differently due to the aforementioned amino acid L-theanine, which is to be found in Matcha. Because coffee stresses our bodies and increases anxiety, the body finds it hard to process it. Matcha tea, on the other hand, provides calm alertness, therefore, is much easier on our body and metabolism,
- Vitamins and Antioxidants – Matcha tea is known the be the best source of antioxidants in the world. It is extremely helpful in preventing diseases, like cancer, heart problems, flu or cold. It is rich in vitamins as well, like vitamins C and E, which coffee does not contain.
- No Caffeine Addiction – coffee addiction is a thing; the majority of coffee drinkers cannot simply stop drinking coffee. If they do, they experience withdrawal symptoms, like headaches or lack of energy. With Matcha tea, the story goes a bit differently; there is no Matcha addiction, and even if you stop drinking it, you will still feel good and energized. Matcha tea provides stable energy, which it also retains. Coffee, on the other hand only provides spikes of energy, which then crash, requiring you to have few cups more during the day in order to keep your daily performance up.
- Weight Loss – many believe that drinking coffee might help weight loss, and to some extent, they might be right. However, because coffee stresses the body, our metabolism reacts in such a way that it actually stores the fat, instead of getting rid of it. When drinking Matcha tea, the body does not stress, and the tea actually helps us burn calories much faster, and of course, they are burned for good.
Matcha green tea is one of the most exceptional beverages in the world. It is not only beneficial for our health but also mind, body and soul, it helps us stay calm, patient, focused and in harmony with ourselves and the world around us. We hope that this article has made you consider turning to Matcha tea for caffeine instead of coffee. It will be definitely much better for you, in the long-run especially. Matcha tea, though pricey, is worthy of every penny. You will not just enjoy the tea’s benefits and abundance of caffeine, but also the very process of making and drinking.