Although both matcha and green tea are made from the same plant, Camellia sinensis, their processing methods give them very different qualities.
The Camellia sinensis plant is the source of both matcha and green tea. Green tea typically comes in bags or loose leaves. A fine powder made from ground green tea leaves is called matcha.
According to Robin Foroutan, RDN, an integrative dietitian with a practice in New York City and a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “Tea leaves are picked and are allowed to oxidize (ferment), which is what causes leaves to blacken and changes the type of antioxidants found in the tea. Green tea is selected, steamed, and dried prior to oxidation, whereas black and oolong tea are fully and partially oxidized, respectively.
What is matcha?
Both matcha and normal green tea are made from the Chinese-native Camellia sinensis plant. Nevertheless, matcha is grown in a different way than common green tea. Before harvest, the tea bushes are kept out of direct sunlight for 20–30 days.
The darkness causes a rise in chlorophyll levels, which darkens the color of the leaves’ green and boosts their ability to produce amino acids. The leaves’ stems and veins are eliminated after harvesting. They are subsequently stone-ground into matcha, a fine, vivid green powder. Matcha contains more of some ingredients, such as caffeine and antioxidants, than green tea because the complete leaf powder is consumed.
Matcha vs. Green Tea
The benefits of matcha may include:
improved memory and cognitive function
reduced oxidative stress
fighting of inflammation
improved markers of metabolic health
strengthened blood vessels in the heart
reduced factors of tumor growth in the gut
The benefits of green tea may include:
increased mental alertness
improved working memory
promotion of weight loss
digestive symptom relief
Which one is better?
Many of the same health advantages apply to both green tea and matcha.
Some chemicals may be present in higher concentrations in matcha. For instance, the shadow growing method used to produce matcha may increase the levels of vital substances including l-theanine, chlorophyll, and antioxidants. These substances are still present in green tea, however matcha can have a higher concentration.
Healthy substances and nutrients from the tea leaves are released into the water during the brewing process. However, during the brewing process, some of the minerals and chemicals in green tea leaves might not diffuse into the hot water.
When drinking matcha, the person eats the leaves directly. They might consume more nutrients as a result of this. Several variables, including the type of tea used, the length of the extraction process, and the quantity of tea used in the brew, will affect how much more they consume.
People who want their tea to have more antioxidants may prefer to stay with matcha. According on how it is made, matcha may have more antioxidants than regular green tea.
But more doesn’t always equal better. A body may have an oxidative reaction if it consumes too many antioxidants, in which case the extra antioxidants become unstable or interact with the cells nearby.
A daily intake of three to four cups of green tea will result in levels of the antioxidant polyphenol that are higher than the advised daily allowance.
Both green tea and matcha are low-calorie, low-carb beverages with various potential health advantages that both contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients. However, additional research is required to determine the true health effects of the beverages because a large portion of the research on these teas employs capsules.
Matcha generally contains more caffeine than regular green tea, so even while it gives you a natural buzz without the jitters, it might not be the best choice for people who are attempting to cut back on their caffeine intake. Green tea is a good alternative to matcha if you want something gentler and calming or if you don’t like the distinctive umami flavor of matcha (just be careful not to let it steep for too long or it will become bitter).