Do you drink decaf green tea? Are you thinking about purchasing “decaf matcha”? Did I hear you say, “I’ve been looking for decaf matcha for so long but I’m really frustrated because I can’t find it!”?
Many people have started to shy away from Caffeine for health reasons. For some people, it’s part of their ‘favorable’ healthy lifestyle, For some, caffeine is a serious matter, death or life, as it affects their health immediately.
So we take this matter seriously. And if you take it seriously as well, please read on.
First of all, I have good news and bad news for you. The bad news is “decaf matcha” does not exist in the industry. And the good news is you have a better option!
You are wondering why “decaf matcha” doesn’t exist. Before I explain why, I would like to straighten up one thing…that is, “what matcha really is.”
Thanks to current “matcha boom as super food,” both tea professionals and “not professional (in other words, fraudulent, instant tea dealer)” are selling “matcha.” And I suppose sometime misinformation occurs innocently, as a lot of elements could cause it when language barriers and cultural differences are involved in the process.
However, when it comes to a matter of ‘life or death,’ there is no room for “misinformation.”
So, what is matcha?
– Green tea leaf ground into a fine powder.
– The leaf used to make matcha is shade grown.
– The only green tea powder used for the traditional Japanese tea ceremony.
All the above descriptions are correct. Now, please note that the second description says, “the leaf used to make matcha is shade grown.” “Shade grown” sounds really special and adding a big value to just a simple green tea, doesn’t it? OK, then, what’s happening in the leaf while growing in shade? You would think, “Since matcha is famous for ‘antioxidants,’ this process is increasing the amount of ‘antioxidants’ in the leaf.” That would be a logical guess. But unfortunately, sun-deprivation doesn’t increase ‘antioxidants,’ Catechins, which science says is the reason why green tea is one of the healthiest foods.
The leaf of Camellia Sinensis, green tea bush, contains natural caffeine. When Camellia Sinensis is covered and grown in shade, three things happen:
1. Caffeine level is preserved in the leaf, because the break-down of caffeine by the sunlight is slowed.
2. L-theanine level is preserved in the leaf, because the break-down of L-theanine by the sunlight is slowed.
3. Chlorophyll level is elevated for efficient photosynthesis, which gives matcha its characteristic bright green color.
On the other hand, when the leaf receives abundant sunlight, two things happen:
1. Caffeine level is decreased because caffeine is broken down by sunlight.
2. Catechin level is elevated because sunlight breaks down L-theanine into Catechins.
Here’s the fact you would like to share with your tea-benefit-loving friends: Catechins, primary green tea antioxidants, are synthesized from L-theanine when leaf is exposed to sunlight. By the way, the green tea leaf grown in full sun and treated with Japanese steaming method is called “sencha.”
Now I don’t blame you if you are puzzled, as you were told to believe, “Matcha is the best for you.” But two facts don’t support that statement: Fact 1–Matcha uses shade grown leaf. Fact 2–Catechins are synthesized when the leaf is exposed to the sun.
And as you can imagine, putting a shade over green tea bush takes time, labor, and cost. Then, why do they do it?
Because it makes tea leaf rich in L-theanine, which is a natural relaxant and Umami. Umami gives a brothy, satisfactory flavor to the tea. And tea rich in Umami has been traditionally regarded as “high quality” green tea in Japan. During the 16th century, people felt the positive effect of the “calm alertness” that the good balance of caffeine and L-theanine provides. It is easy to imagine how “calm alertness” was appreciated by “Samurai” warriors and monks, who need to be alert but not jittery. The only certified tea makers were allowed to produce matcha for centuries. Matcha’s calm energy was like a “secret weapon,” and only available for specific social classes–the nobles and monks. And this beverage that provides the sustainable energy earned the reputation as “the very best” in Japanese tea culture.
So even though “shade grown” sounds romantic and exotic, and it creates the “Umami” flavor, it doesn’t make “Catechin rich” tea.
Now, you know what matcha is and what the process that makes matcha does to the leaf: Maintains the high level of caffeine. And now you know sencha has less caffeine and more Catechins, naturally.
I’m not saying matcha is not good for you. It is true matcha offers more Catechins than steeped tea. Because you eat the whole leaf. If you boil spinach, you get a green colored water, but you don’t drink the green liquid to get the most nutrition from spinach. You got the picture.
So if you grind sencha leaf–voila, you have “naturally less caffeinated green tea powder.” But we are not calling this “decaf matcha.” You now know better–“decaf matcha” is the blend of two contradictory ideas.
Then why the tea industry doesn’t talk more about sencha powder? Sencha is usually brewed as a “steeped tea,” either loose leaf or tea bag. And to talk about why sencha powder is rare to find, it will take another whole article, and I’ll save that for later.
The bottom line is, you would like to have “green tea with little caffeine in powder form so you get maximum Catechins from an entire leaf.” And for some people, “little caffeine” means “little caffeine” as it matters like life or death. Our decaf green tea powder has registered trademark: Edible Green®, and it offers less than 3mg caffeine in one serving. We know there is a demand for “decaf matcha” but we refuse to call this product “decaf matcha” as we know this is not “matcha.” Do you think we are silly?
Unfortunately, some people take advantage of consumers’ ignorance about “matcha.” Recently, we received an email from one of our customers. He asked what we think of a product called “decaf matcha.” I read everything on the product. And this is my warning for you as this product could be very dangerous for some people. And here is what I said:
Thank you so much for drinking our decaf sencha and regular matcha.
I appreciate your great question. Matcha is very popular now and many people believe “matcha” is any green tea in powder form, which is technically incorrect. For example, sencha in powder form is not matcha. In my opinion, tea professionals should not use the term, matcha, for anything other than authentic matcha.
I’ve read the product ‘description’ of this “decaf matcha” product. And I have a strong doubt about the authenticity, integrity, and quality of this product. Here are the reasons:
1) As you have read on our website, matcha is shade grown and sun-deprivation increases the caffeine level in the leaf. It is rather ridiculous to talk about “decaf matcha” since matcha green tea has specifically been grown for centuries to have high caffeine. Plus, shade grown tea leaf before grinding process is called “TENCHA”. Once tencha is ground into a fine powder, the product is called “MATCHA.” After it is made into a fine powder, there is no way to “decaffeinate” the powder.
2) The seller of “decaf matcha” says, “With the patented water process, 95% of Catechins are left in matcha which makes this tea the most beneficial decaf matcha green tea.” This phrase sounds familiar, doesn’t it? It is exactly what we say in our product description of Edible Green® decaf sencha, except we do not call the powder “matcha.” The important fact here is there is only one factory in the world which does this patented decaffeination process. To do this process, the tea leaf needs to be brought into the facility right after leaf is harvested, within half an hour. The facility is over 150 miles away from Uji. It takes over 3 hours without traffic. It is impossible to process Uji tea leaf in this facility, period.
3) Their explanation is inconsistent, and not technically correct throughout the description. The following are just a few of the inconsistencies. I bolded what I quoted from their product description. Typo graphical, spelling, and grammatical errors are as in original.
– “The process of decaffeination is steeping matcha leaves to extract most of the caffeine and throwing away the first steeping.” This phrase makes me wonder if this powder is a freeze dry powder of steeped matcha or green tea. They may have steeped regular matcha once and then processed the liquid into a powder using freeze dry method. Freeze drying, also known as lyophilisation or cryodesiccation, is a low temperature dehydration process which involves freezing the product, lowering pressure, then removing the ice by sublimation.
– “To sum it up, our matcha tea has 95% of antioxidants and 2% of caffeine left in 1 kg of matcha. So the package of 100gr contains only 0.2% amount of caffeine which your organism doesn’t notice when you drink a cup matcha.” They say 2% of caffeine left in 1kg of matcha. If “2% of caffeine left” is correct, still 2% of caffeine is in 100g tea leaf. Usually, quality matcha contains 35g of Caffeine in 1kg of tea leaf. 2% of 35g is 0.7g. When there is 0.7g caffeine in 1kg (1,000g), 0.07g caffeine is in 100g tea leaf, which is 2% of 3.5g caffeine in 100g regular leaf. There is a distortion in their logic. It seems they do not know what they are talking about and their argument is not based on the scientific facts.
4) There are lots of ‘discussions’ among customers who bought this product. The following is the exact quote from the review, including grammatical and factual errors: “The suggested serving size is 14 grams ( which is equivalent to about 7 tsps) and that is why it looks like it has so much sugar. It has the same amount of carbs/sugar that any matcha does, which is about 1 gram of carb/sugar per 1 gram of matcha ( which is At the bottom of the label, it says a suggested daily effective dose is 1/2 to 1 tsp. ” This person’s information on sugar content in matcha leaf is, unfortunately, incorrect. If 1g matcha contains 1g carb/sugar, 100% of matcha nutrition is carb/sugar. It is obvious this is incorrect. Correctly, 1g matcha contains 0.385g carb/sugar.
A different customer left a comment, “Ok so let’s go on the upper end and say there’s 2 g, that means you’re getting 1/7 of the values on the nutritional label and only 1.86 g of sugar per teaspoon. That’s a pretty small amount. ” Once again, if this is a true pure matcha (decaf or regular, it doesn’t matter), then carb/sugar in 2g powder should be 0.77g (twice 0.385g). On their product description, it says, “– organic CAFFEINE FREE & SUGAR FREE matcha powder.” 1.86g sugar in 2g tea leaf is impossible unless they added sugar. Based on these numbers, their tea is neither caffeine free or sugar free.
If the seller’s numbers on their nutritional label are correct, 1.86g is added sugar out of 2g powder. If it is not sugar, it is likely some kind of filler, such as tapioca, blended with matcha powder. That means only 0.14g is actual tea leaf/powder. If matcha is authentic and 100% tea leaf, 1g matcha powder contains 35mg (0.035g) caffeine. Caffeine amount in 0.14g matcha powder (regular) would be 0.0049g (4.9mg).
Later on in Q&A, the seller said, “the nutrition panel is wrong”:
Why is there so much sugar and calories in your matcha, and I have used other organic matcha before and there is no sugar? This is bad.
I am sorry, the nutritional info on the bag is wrong. Now we are in the process of printing a new one.
Contact me directly and I will send you a file with a correct nutritional info.
There is no sugar in our matcha + there is 0,8gr of carbs in 2g serving + there is 68mg of caffeine in 2gr serving.
So we have sugar-free and low caffeine matcha.
Here, he said “68mg of caffeine in 2g matcha.” Do you remember I said regular matcha contains about 35g caffeine in 1kg (1000g)? That means about 70mg caffeine in 2g matcha. If the seller’s number is correct, his product is NOT decaf at all. It has the same caffeine as regular. I really have doubts if he knows what he is talking about and what he is selling.
5) The seller’s answers are not consistent with the product description. Here is another example. Once again, the quote is exactly the way it is on Amazon’s product page, including incorrect spelling:
Question: Is this truly defacinated? It does not say decaf anywhere on the package.
Answer: This matcha is low caffeine. There is not decaf matcha on the market. Our matcha has a limited amount of caffeine. The amount so so precious little, it will not affect your body in anyway. This is just the amount your body needs
In the above quote, it says “There is not decaf matcha on the market”. This is also what we say in our website. If their matcha is truly decaf matcha, why don’t they say, “This is the only deaf matcha on the market”? And what is meant by “This is just the amount your body needs”?
The following seller’s answer is incorrect as they are not ‘ingredients’ but they are nutrition, naturally included in green tea leaf. However, the explanation of Theanine is incorrect. Theanine is a natural relaxant, not a stimulant.
Question: Whats the ingredients?
– Tannins (Catechins)
Tannins give matcha its astringent flavour. They have antioxidant and antibacterial properties, and also act as detoxicants.
– Low Caffeine
A little bitter ingredient. While a stimulant, low caffeine in this matcha plays a role of relieving stress altogether with other antioxidants.
– B Vitamins
Our matcha contains B1, B2, niacin and pantothenic acid. B vitamins aid carbohydrate metabolism. They also promote secretion of digestive fluids and protect the mucous membranes.
– Vitamin C
Our matcha contains large amounts of vitamin C, which is resistant to heat. Five or six cups of green tea a day provides the body with all the vitamin C it needs. Vitamin C also prevents the formation of melanin, inhibits oxidation, and increases the body’s resistance to disease.
– Vitamin E
This Matcha Green tea contains chemical compounds called tocopherols (more commonly known as Vitamin E), which are thought to have anti-aging properties.
An amino acid that produces an umami taste. The better the matcha, the more theanine it contains. As our matcha is of a high ceremonial grade, it contains enough Theanine to act as a stimulant if drunk in the morning.
– Plant pigments
Among others, our matcha contains green chlorophyll and yellow flavone compounds which improve blood circulation in body.
Our matcha contains potassium, calcium, zinc, nickel, and molybdenum.
Matcha contains the most fluorine of any drink even coffee
A special ingredient in our matcha that has anti-inflammatory properties.
There is a great deal of incorrect and distorted information in their description. They obviously copied our product descriptions, but they came to wrong, incoherent conclusions. The seller is apparently trying to take advantage of the popularity of matcha and customers who are in need of green tea powder with little caffeine. To make the matter worse, it seems the seller is confused about their own product and failed to provide a reasonable explanation about the product. You would say it is safe to stay away from this company and product. Not to mention this product can be severely harmful for some people, it is very disappointing to see such deceitful product like this is available on a popular online market. I appreciate you for letting me know and that you also used your common sense to not use such products.
If one wishes to minimize caffeine intake from green tea, still the best and only choice remains SEI MEE TEA®’s Edible Green® decaf sencha powder!
Wishing a joyful Holiday Season to you and yours!
Well, what do you think? Did you see the product is a mess?
We offer true “decaf green tea powder” and we do not call it “decaf matcha”–why? Because we are a tea professional. If you see some people who call their products “decaf matcha,” that is the first and most important indication you would like to stay away from them.
I hope this article was helpful for you to make an informed decision. Please read the following articles, if you would like to learn more about decaffeinated green tea powder:
– What is your decaffeination process?
Meet the Author: Kiyomi