With the growing importance of mental and physical wellness, caffeine started getting a lot of bad reputation. But not all caffeine is bad.
Instead of ditching your caffeine habit, you can still enjoy its many benefits by choosing better sources and monitoring your daily intake.
Is matcha a good or a bad source of caffeine? And how much caffeine does matcha have?
We are answering your most asked questions about caffeine in matcha tea.
First, let’s see what exactly caffeine is.
What is caffeine?
There’s rarely a person who hasn’t tried caffeine throughout their life. In fact, you probably tried caffeine before the age of 3.
Caffeine is the most consumed psychoactive stimulant in the world. The most popular source of caffeine is coffee, but caffeine is present in over 60 plants , including cocoa beans and tea. In plants, caffeine acts as a natural insect repellent, but in humans, it increases mental and physical energy. Many energy drinks and weight loss supplements contain caffeine, and it’s present in dark and milk chocolate, coke and aspirin too.
Is Matcha caffeinated?
While coffee drinkers enjoy coffee mostly for its stimulative properties, many tea drinkers choose tea for health benefits and flavors. But it you look at the chemical composition of coffee beans and tea leaves, you’re up for a surprise – arabica coffee beans on average contain 0.9-1.5% of caffeine, robusta coffee beans 1.2-2.4% , while the average for tea leaves is 3.5% .
Matcha is a type of green tea, so it naturally contains caffeine. 1 gram of matcha powder will contain about 20-30 mg of caffeine, but the number may be both lower and higher. On average, it’s safe to say a gram of high quality ceremonial grade matcha to have around 30 mg of caffeine.
So why do we always assume a cup of coffee will have more caffeine than a cup of tea?
Is Matcha stronger than coffee?
The answer lies in the brewing process, the amount of coffee/tea per serving, and particle size. Espresso is usually made with 7-10 grams of ground coffee, a cup of tea is made with 2.5-3 grams of tea leaves, and a bowl of matcha with 2 grams of matcha powder.
Both regular tea and coffee can be:
- Cold brewed
All these techniques will result in different levels of caffeine.
Matcha is never steeped. Since it’s a powder, matcha is whisked until it’s perfectly blended with water. Whatever caffeine tea leaves contain, you will ingest it all.
In fact, a bowl of matcha may contain the same amount of caffeine as a typical single espresso – around 60 mg.
But matcha may offer much more than just a dose of caffeine. It may provide many benefits and a delicious taste too.
How is caffeine in matcha different from caffeine in coffee?
If both matcha and espresso can contain same levels of caffeine, why is only espresso giving you the jitters?
Besides caffeine, matcha contains other compounds, such as EGCG, chlorophyll, and amino acids L-theanine and L-arginine. These amino acids may provide relaxing effect, which counteracts the stimulative effect of caffeine – and offers a sustainable, calm energy rather than giving you the jitters.
L-theanine may help boost serotonin and dopamine production  and may help reduce stress and blood pressure.  All teas contain L-theanine, but the same shading and harvesting methods that may increase caffeine may increase L-theanine too. That’s what makes matcha a perfect choice for calm, focused, sustainable energy.
All these compounds, except L-arginine, are not present in coffee. Of course, coffee has its own benefits, but it is also often misused. A typical serving of coffee is likely to contain well over 100 mg of caffeine, often over 200 mg, and sometimes even more than 400 mg –beyond a recommended daily dose.
If Matcha is a green tea, why is it high in caffeine?
All teas start from the same plant – Camellia sinensis. Caffeine in tea leaves will depend on many factors, including:
- Tea variety and cultivar
- Harvesting season
- Plucking standard
- Processing techniques
In fact, green teas may contain more caffeine than black teas, and white teas may contain more caffeine than green teas.
Matcha is made from younger buds and tea leaves, which are higher in caffeine than older, more mature leaves . Tea leaves are shaded for 3-4 weeks before harvesting and this process will naturally increase both caffeine and L-theanine . Next, matcha powder is made from pure tea leaves, with no stalk and veins that are lower in caffeine.
Is the caffeine in Matcha bad for you?
Caffeine in matcha may be both good and bad, just like caffeine from any other natural sources. What makes it good or bad is the quantity. For healthy adults, FDA recommends keeping your daily caffeine intake at around 400 mg , preferably not taken at once. A bowl of properly prepared, ceremonial grade Japanese matcha will always contain the same amount – around 60 mg.
In recommended doses, caffeine may not only help increase energy and focus. Studies showed it may help reduce the risk of diabetes and some types of cancer .
Matcha latte caffeine content
The second most popular way of drinking matcha is in a latte. Matcha latte is a delicious drink made with matcha tea, water and milk. One serving contains 2-3 grams of matcha, which means one matcha latte will provide 60-90 mg of caffeine. Coffee latte will contain 1-2 espresso shots and will usually have over 60 mg of caffeine – depending on how strong the espresso shot is.
Looking for the easiest matcha latte recipe? Learn how to make matcha latte at home in only 5 minutes.
Final thoughts on caffeine in Matcha
If you are looking for a calm energy boost, you can’t go wrong with matcha. It has:
- A higher caffeine content than many other teas, but less than coffee
- Contains only pure leaf with no impurities
- It’s easier to adjust your daily caffeine intake with matcha than with coffee or other teas
- Shading increases L-theanine and chlorophyl content, so it has the best ratio of caffeine and L-theanine
To make sure you are getting the right benefits, always choose authentic Japanese matcha that’s always shaded, always deveined and de-stalked, and always harvested from young nutrient-rich leaves.
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This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to help you diagnose or treat any medical condition nor it can replace a professional advice. Tea may sometimes interact with other medicine or supplements and may cause side-effects. As every person and every tea are different, always consult a health care professional if you are having any health concerns.