Switching from coffee to Matcha? Coffee caffeine vs. Matcha caffeine–how are they different?
Matcha is made from Camellia Sinensis, a botanical that naturally offers caffeine. People rave Matcha caffeine among other benefits. And what are ceremonial grade Matcha and culinary Matcha? Which one is better? If you are considering switching from coffee to Matcha for your morning routine, this article will help you to make a wise decision.
From this article, you will learn
1. How much caffeine is in coffee and Matcha?
Below is the caffeine amount in one serving of commercially available coffee and Matcha. We included some other drinks for comparison.
Caffeine amount in 8 oz of tea and coffee
|Edible Green® Japanese Sencha powder, regular||10mg|
|Edible Green® Japanese Sencha powder, decaf||<3mg|
|Green Tea (bottles and tea bags)||35 – 94mg|
|Black Tea||31 – 86mg|
|Coffee (coffee shops, such as Starbucks and Dunkin’)||80 – 410mg|
|Coffee (bottles and cans)||75 – 300mg|
|Coffee & Espresso (ground)||55 – 300mg|
|Coffee, decaf||2 – 25mg|
2. Coffee caffeine, Matcha caffeine, how are they different?
More people are consciously choosing to live a healthy lifestyle
Coffee has been fueling energy for American people every morning for more than 200 years. (It was after Boston Tea Party in 1773 when coffee became more popular than tea in the U.S.)
Nowadays, more people are consciously choosing to live a healthy lifestyle. Matcha’s signature color, the bright green, represents this clean natural trend. But this stunning color is not the only reason for Matcha’s popularity–Matcha offers plant-based components that work together with caffeine.
The grounded energy lasts longer and makes you feel less hungry
What does Matcha offer but coffee does not have? The answer is the “synergy with L-theanine and EGCG.”
L-theanine is a natural relaxant, which is almost exclusively found in Camellia Sinensis, the plant from which all of the teas are made. The combination of L-theanine and caffeine may enhance concentration, vigilance, and efficiency to a higher extent than the use of either compound alone.
A good balance of caffeine, the stimulant, and L-theanine, provides a calm state but alert at the same time. In addition, the state of “calm alertness” lasts longer and fades away gently. A study shows ingesting Matcha improves both attention and work performance. This study observed the remarkable effect, especially when the subject was suffering from psychological stress, compared with ingesting caffeine alone.
In addition to L-theanine, EGCG plays a major role in the Matcha’s magical energy effect. EGCG is a prominent antioxidant responsible for many health benefits of Matcha. EGCG has also calming effects and provides energy. A study also shows EGCG and caffeine may work together to suppress fat accumulation and curb excessive appetite. With Matcha, you do not need to fight against the temptation for sugary sweets and coffee.
Coffee provides the rapid boost of energy followed by “caffeine crash”
To the contrary, coffee provides a rapid boost of energy followed by a “caffeine crash,” which can cause tiredness, anxiety, depression, and poor concentration. After all, you may end up craving more coffee breaks with sweet doughnuts.
3. Is Matcha better than coffee?
Matcha is better than coffee if health comes first
It is a great feeling to start a day with good mood and good energy. And Matcha offers a lift for both.
Researchers are discovering how the key healthful constituents in green tea, EGCG and L-theanine, can boost mood, relieve stress and anxiety, improve focus and even decrease the risk of depression and dementia.
Also, Matcha can be made into latte and smoothie, sprinkled over morning cereal or oatmeal, or baked into baked goods or snack bars.
On top of the nutritional advantages and versatility, Matcha takes less trouble–there is no wet leaf or waste to discard.
“Matcha” means “ground tea” in Japanese. Tea leaves used to make Matcha are called “Tencha.” Tencha leaves are grown under a cover for 3-4 weeks prior to the harvest. During this period, the tea leaves slowly grow and accumulate Umami, the savory flavor, and chlorophyll, the gorgeous green color.
After harvest, Tencha leaves are steamed, dried, and ground–the whole leaves are milled into a really fine powder–as fine as talcum or dusting powder.
So, when you ingest Matcha, you are consuming the whole nutrition of the leaf. In addition to EGCG antioxidants and L-theanine natural relaxant, Matcha offers Vitamin A, C, K, B1, B2, B6, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Folic Acid, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc, Phosphorus, Copper, and Fiber.
Can’t you start the day without coffee? Here’s the easy & improved way to enjoy your coffee
If you really can not start a day without a cup of coffee, you may want to add a cup of Matcha rather than replace your morning joe with Matcha altogether.
In order to make this simple solution work for you, the order is the key. Try a cup of Matcha first, then coffee. In other words, L-theanine and EGCG in Matcha kick in first, and then you enjoy a cup of coffee. It’s likely your energy lasts longer without a total crush you normally experience from drinking coffee alone.
4. Which Matcha offers more caffeine, ceremonial grade matcha or culinary grade matcha?
What is ceremonial grade Matcha? How is it better?
It is natural to assume the tea used in such a ceremony must be “high quality.” However, when it comes to “quality, the more important question is which “quality” we would like to have.
One of our frequently asked questions is “Is your Sencha powder ceremonial grade?” We understand where this question comes from—you would like to choose the very best and we do too want to offer the very best to you. Thanks to the “matcha” boom, everybody talks “ceremonial grade” is “the one you want.” And the assumption of this question is “ceremonial grade offers more antioxidants, Catechins or EGCG, than other grades.” Is it true?
The answer is “to the contrary.” A brief history of traditional Japanese tea ceremony will help you to understand what “ceremonial grade” Matcha offers you most.
Historical background of traditional Japanese rituals
The traditional Japanese ceremony was born in the middle of the 15th century in Japan. It took about 100 years before the entire ritual was established.
The only senior class, such as Samurai warriors, aristocrats, and monks, was able to enjoy it as their social opportunity.
Samurai warriors were not allowed to carry Katana armors in the tearoom. The philosophy behind this custom is “we are equal once we step in the tearoom.” Without danger of getting “bloody mess,” they enjoyed the calm alertness—sustainable, clean, grounded energy—from Matcha.
Modern science discovered the quality they enjoyed from “ceremonial grade Matcha” are the synergy of caffeine (stimulant), and L-theanine (natural relaxant).
Birth of Matcha
About the same time the tea ceremony was born, some tea farmers noticed tea leaves grown in shade tasted “sweeter” and they started to cover their tea bush intentionally.
We now know the “sweetness” as Umami. “Umami” is pronounced “oo-mah-me” and it means “deliciousness” in Japanese. In modern days, “Umami” is known as one of the 5 basic tastes, which are sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami. And Umami is also L-theanine, a kind of amino acid and a natural relaxant.
Japanese tea ceremony culture flourished during the 16th century. Hideyoshi, the ruler of Japan at that time, supported the “shade-grown method” of Matcha in Uji, in the vicinity of Fushimi, where he resided. Uji Matcha is the origin of traditional Japanese ceremonial grade matcha.
The secret of the Matcha manufacturing method
The shading period lasts 3-4 weeks. The intensity of darkness is gradually increased and the last a few days, tea plants receives only 2% of sunlight. Shading technique adds stress on plants 3 ways.
- It depletes the sunlight, so tea leaves increase chlorophyll in the leaf to achieve more efficient photosynthesis. Thus, the matcha offers such bright intense green color.
- It slows down growth.
- It increases the risk of pests and diseases.
Organic Matcha is not “greener and sweeter” than non-organic
Conventional tea farming uses synthetic chemicals to reduce the risks and boost bright green color and Umami in the tea leaf. That’s why conventional Matcha offers brighter green and more intense Umami than organic Matcha if you compare the same grade Matcha products.
That is why not many tea growers are converting their practice to organic—but this is another story of its own.
If you see someone is reviewing a Matcha product using only color and Umami, be aware–the fact is the color and sweetness do NOT indicate the pureness of Matcha. Choose organic Matcha if you are taking it for your health.
This is important especially because you are ingesting an entire leaf when you drink Matcha.
Is first harvest tea (first flush tea) higher quality?
Younger tea leaf carries more caffeine and L-theanine. Shading slows down the growth of the young tea leaf as well. Thus, ceremonial grade Matcha made with young tea leaf offers you the best experience of Umami and sustainable, grounded energy.
What is culinary grade Matcha? Is culinary grade Matcha lower grade? Is culinary grade healthy?
Culinary grade Matcha is not lower grade. But…..
The economical cost of culinary grade makes it a more affordable option for everyday use. As with ceremonial grade, conventional culinary grade offers more Umami and brighter green than organic culinary grade with an aid of chemicals. So once again, the color and Umami are not indications of its purity. Stick to organic products if you are taking Matcha for your wellness.
Culinary grade Matcha means the shading period was shorter. More sun exposure breaks down L-theanine to Catechin antioxidants. And due to more sunlight, less chlorophyll, which makes the green color not as bright as a ceremonial grade. Compared to ceremonial grade, culinary grade Matcha offers less Umami, less caffeine, and higher astringency.
Another reason why culinary grade Matcha is cheaper than ceremonial grade Matcha is the grinding method. The traditional stone grinding method makes particles round, which creates a smooth, velvety mouthfeel. However, the stone grinding method produces only 1 oz of Matcha per hour. Most likely, culinary grade Matcha uses a ball mill method, which makes mouthfeel comparatively more stout.
Because of the taste of astringency and its stout texture, culinary grade Matcha tastes “stronger” than ceremonial Matcha and it makes it ideal to mix in other foods. Due to the shorter shading period, the color of culinary Matcha is more yellowish-green compared to ceremonial Matcha.
5. How much is too much?
Side effects of excess caffeine intake
Side effects of excess caffeine intake include difficulty sleeping, jitters, shakiness, and increased heart rate.
According to FDA, total Caffeine intake should be limited to 400 mg per day. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that adolescents get no more than 100 mg of caffeine a day.
How many cups of tea or coffee provide “400 mg of Caffeine”?
2 – 5 cups of coffee (95 – 240 mg/serving),
4 – 13 cups of black tea (31 – 86 mg/serving),
Over 40 cups of Edible Green® regular (10 mg/serving), or
About 5 — 11 cups of Matcha (35 mg/serving when ½ tsp. powder, 70mg/serving when 1 tsp. is used to make a serving).
Sensitivity to caffeine varies person to person so please use the above numbers as a guideline. Now you know which Matcha to choose for your healthy morning rituals. Choose SEI MEE TEA confidently for its purity.
“Effects of Daily Matcha and Caffeine Intake on Mild Acute Psychological Stress-Related Cognitive Function in Middle-Aged and Older Adults: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Study” Nutrients, 2021 May
“Matcha consumption maintains attentional function following a mild acute psychological stress without affecting a feeling of fatigue: A randomized placebo-controlled study in young adults” Nutrition Research 2021 April
“The combined administration of EGCG and caffeine induces not only suppression of fat accumulation but also anorexigenic action in mice” Journal of Functional Foods 2018 August
“Health Benefits and Chemical Composition of Matcha Green Tea: A Review” Molecules 2021 January