Matcha vs. Green Tea: Which Is Best for Energy?

Matcha vs. Green Tea: Which Is Best for Energy? (Image Source: Shutterstock)

What Is Matcha?

Matcha is a beverage made from the Camellia sinensis plant. This plant is native to China and the core plant from which green tea is derived. However, matcha is grown in a very different process compared to “standard” green tea. For example, matcha tea bushes are protected from sunlight for between 20 and 30 days before they are harvested. In doing this, the farmers trigger higher chlorophyll levels. That means matcha tea leaves are usually darker green than traditional green tea leaves.

What Is Green Tea?

Green tea, just like matcha, comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. However, green tea is harvested and prepared differently. When creating green tea for consumption, farmers harvest the leaves very quickly and heat them up. By heating the leaves, they are stopped from oxidizing or turning brown. Leaves can be prepared in different methods depending on the type of tea being made. Green tea leaves can be pan-fired, sun-dried, or steamed to be processed. Regardless, all tea leaves are rolled and dried into their final forms. Then the tea leaves are steeped in hot water using tea bags or other tools, making an earthy and grassy beverage.

What Are Key Differences Between Matcha and Green Tea?

While they come from the same core plant, matcha and green tea do have several important differences (and health benefits). For starters, quality matcha has a bitter and slightly grassy taste. Because of this flavor profile, matcha is frequently served with sweeteners or in milk. Matcha lattes are popular in certain parts of the world, and many add matcha to smoothies or baking treats (where sweeteners like sugar and chocolate are commonly mixed in as well).

What Should I Know About Energy Boosts From Matcha and Green Tea?

The largest difference overall between matcha and green tea is the energy boost you can expect from consuming a cup of either. A standard serving of matcha is between 2 and 3 ounces or about ½ to 1 teaspoon of powder. Just one serving of matcha includes nearly 70 mg of caffeine.

Is Matcha Better for Energy than Green Tea?

That’s not matcha’s only improvement over green tea in the energy-boosting department. High-quality, ceremonial grade matcha is a very good source of antioxidants, in addition to L-theanine: an important amino acid. L-theanine is found more often in matcha compared to other types of green tea. The potential health and energy boosting benefits of L-theanine are numerous, including:

  • Modifying caffeine’s effects throughout your body, such as by increasing alertness without necessarily causing drowsiness (which is a common side effect of coffee consumption)
  • Increasing the alpha waves in your brain, which are linked to low stress and mental relaxation
  • Increasing glutathione, another antioxidant that may protect neurons and other types of cells from free radicals
  • Boosting the feel-good chemicals in your brain like endorphins

Is Matcha Better than Green Tea in General?

Not necessarily. For many, matcha is simply too bitter. To really enjoy drinking matcha, you may need to drink it in milk or at least some sweetener.

Summary

At the end of the day, matcha vs. green tea is largely a subjective argument. You should drink whichever you find preferable! While they are similar, they have some flavor profile differences that might make you prefer one or the other.

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