Green tea is one of the most popular drinks in the world.
It offers various potential health benefits, such as weight loss and improved heart health (1Trusted Source, 2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source).
Matcha, a particular variety of green tea, is marketed as even healthier than other types.
It is grown and prepared differently than other green teas. What’s more, the whole tea leaf is consumed.
What Is Matcha?
Matcha and regular green tea both come from the Camellia sinensis plant, which is native to China.
However, matcha is grown differently than regular green tea. The tea bushes are shielded from sunlight for about 20–30 days before harvest.
The shade triggers an increase in chlorophyll levels, which turns the leaves a darker shade of green and increases the production of amino acids.
After harvesting, the stems and veins are removed from the leaves. They are then stone-ground into a fine, bright green powder known as matcha.
Because the whole leaf powder is ingested, matcha is even higher in some substances — such as caffeine and antioxidants — than green tea.
One cup (237 ml) of standard matcha, made from 4 teaspoons of powder, generally packs about 280 mg of caffeine. This is significantly higher than a cup (237 ml) of regular green tea, which provides 35 mg of caffeine.
However, most people don’t drink a full cup (237 ml) of matcha at once because of its high caffeine content. It’s more common to drink 2–4 ounces (59–118 ml). Caffeine content also varies based on how much powder you add.
Matcha, which can have a grassy and bitter taste, is often served with a sweetener or milk. Matcha powder is also popular in smoothies and baking.