Caffeine and Matcha
By kborowsky September 7th, 2018
Matcha and Caffeine
Whether you ask for matcha, matcha green tea or matcha powder, you are essentially asking for the same thing; matcha is powdered tea made from the camellia sinensis plant, the same plant all true teas come from. The highest-grade matcha comes from one of the three Japanese variations of this plant. Essentially, matcha is a green tea but the way it is grown, harvested and produced set it apart from regular green teas. In short, matcha is: picked, steamed, dried, sorted for grade, de-stemmed, de-veined, refrigerated and then finally ground.
The main water-soluble components of matcha are theanine (an amino acid), caffeine, tannin and vitamin C. Theanine produces the teas flavor while the caffeine sources it's bitterness and tannin sources its astringency. A huge difference between matcha and regular green tea is that while it has water-soluble components it also contains the insoluble components of tea leaves due to it being ground. So, on top of the nutritional and health benefits from the regular water-soluble components you're also ingesting an abundance of vitamin A and some fiber.
Being that matcha is made from green tea and green tea contains caffeine naturally there is some in matcha. Matcha does have more caffeine than regular green tea, but still less than both black tea and coffee. On average, an 8 oz cup of matcha has about 45-60 milligrams of caffeine while a regular green tea has about 30-50 milligrams per 8 oz serving. This makes matcha a bit lower in caffeine than black tea, which averages around 40-70 milligrams per serving but much lower than coffee or energy drinks which range from 95-200 milligrams per serving.
However, just because there is more caffeine in a cup of matcha than in a cup of your normal green tea does not make this an unhealthy option. The caffeine that is in tea has a much more sustained-release than the caffeine that's found in coffee due to the presence of theanine, and since the body processes all pure teas like water, you get the pure hydration effects along with the slower release of caffeine through the body. This avoids the common jolt and crash that you might experience with the caffeine associated with coffee while offering a calm alertness that will stay with you, keeping you at an even energy level for a longer period of time.
Matcha green tea is an excellent beverage choice for everyone, in addition to the unique taste and feeling from the caffeine, you can actually improve your health through the presence of polyphenols, anti-oxidants, and flavonoids in the powdered tea. In fact, in matcha teas, since the leaf is being consumed, you get the highest count of these phyto-chemicals out of any tea, making matcha that much more appealing!