Matcha Tea or Green Tea: Both Good, Know the Difference

Matcha Tea or Green Tea: Both Good, Know the Difference

The boutique drink industry has made refreshing beverages much more healthy. From lavender bubble tea to smoothies made from açaí (ah-sah-hee) we have come a long way from sugary slushes and gigantic iced sodas. 

One drink that has become front and center for the health conscious millennial, gen-X and gen-Z niche is matcha tea. Matcha tea seems to be everywhere as the free market takes advantage of the taste, potency and health benefits infusing it into specially prepared libations, desserts, sauces and even other items like shampoo, creams and age-defying collagens. Yet, matcha is derived from green tea one of the oldest and most revered teas on the planet which many may not even realize.

As you peruse your health beverage choices learn the differences between matcha tea and green tea. Either way, it seems you will benefit on an impressive scale that may have you making one or both of these your go-to super fuel. 

It’s All In The Powder

Matcha tea is derived from the same plant that green tea comes from called the Camellia sinensis. However, while green tea is usually the dried leaves steeped in hot water just like most traditional teas, matcha has a different preparation. 

According to Medical News Today,

“To make matcha tea, manufacturers grow Camellia sinensis plants in the shade. The dried, shade-grown tea leaves are known as tencha. Growing them in this way increases the amount of a pigment called chlorophyll in the tea leaves. This process also increases the beneficial compounds in the leaves. One such compound is an amino acid called L-theanine, which may have positive effects for human health.”

Matcha tea is prepared by removing the stems as well as the thick leaf ‘veins’ and grinding the remaining fresh leaves into an almost fluorescent green powder. Many special matcha tea cafes will grind the leaves with a mortar and pestle that the customer can watch, feeling as though they are experiencing an authentic ritual. The powder is then whisked into hot water creating a foamy, bright green liquid with a nutty, sweet, earthy, slightly bitter but not unpleasant taste. Some drink it hot or add ice along with dairy, seed or nut milk as well as various forms of sweeteners. If desired, it can also be consumed strictly green (like a black coffee). 

Matcha Tea and Green Tea Benefits

These two teas are essentially one of the same however, as mentioned, the preparation differs. Overall the benefits are similar, but matcha tea essentially has a much higher potency due to its condensed formulation. Here are the combined matcha tea and green tea benefits as reported by Healthline:

Super antioxidants

The Journal of Chromatography published a matcha tea study which stated that, “Results indicate that the concentration of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG – [antioxidant compounds]) available from drinking matcha is 137 times greater than the amount of EGCG available from China Green Tips green tea, and at least three times higher than the largest literature value for other green teas.”

Brain Function Boost

The combination of caffeine and amino acid L-theanine (mentioned above in Medical News Today) has been linked to increasing brain function. Healthline reports, 

“Studies show that caffeine and L-theanine can have synergistic effects. This means that the combination of the two can have particularly powerful effects in improving brain function”

Weight Loss Assist

Matcha and green tea may be able to boost your metabolism and in turn burn fat. This can be an excellent boost during a weight loss regiment. 

“Green tea, by containing both tea catechins and caffeine, may act through inhibition of COMT [an enzyme that degrades norepinephrine a high blood pressure neurotransmitter] and inhibition of phosphodiesterase. Here, the mechanisms may also operate synergistically. In addition, tea catechins have anti-angiogenic [new blood vessel development] properties that may prevent development of overweight and obesity.”

In addition to these top three effects of matcha and green tea, here are some peripheral benefits as well

  • May protect brain aging
  • May help prevent cancer
  • May protect liver damage
  • May help prevent type 2 diabetes
  • May help prevent cardiovascular disease

Try matcha, green tea or both for a healthy boost that surpasses coffee and many other beverages out there. All it takes is a cup a day to keep you running on all cylinders for optimal healthy functioning.