Green tea and matcha are excellent drinks that feature plenty of health benefits. Both are quite similar, especially since they hail from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis. The beverages have been consumed for thousands of years, and most people prefer them for their health benefits and unique flavors.
Matcha is mostly used for traditional rituals by Buddhist monks, as well as traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. But both beverages have gained significant popularity in the West in recent years. This article will review both teas to show you how they compare and their most notable benefits.
What is Green Tea?
Green tea is one type of tea made from the Camellia Sinensis plant. The same plant is used to produce different varieties of tea, including black, white, and oolong tea.
Manufacturers swiftly heat the tea leaves for green tea after they are harvested. By doing this, the leaves are kept from oxidizing and turning brown. They may prepare the leaves in a variety of ways, such as steaming, pan burning, or sun drying, depending on the type of tea.
To produce their ultimate form, they roll the leaves and let them dry. Tea is made by brewing tea leaves in hot water. The flavor of green tea is earthy, grassy, or vegetable-like.
Tea leaves behind a clear, yellowish-green to light-brown liquid after being brewed. The flavor of green tea may be slightly astringent. If you spend too much time brewing the tea, it results in a darker, potentially too bitter, drink.
Benefits of Green Tea
There are plenty of benefits of green tea, and that's why it has been a preferred drink for people for ages. Notably, green tea has numerous health benefits. Research indicates that it is an excellent source of minerals like manganese and magnesium. It's also a great source of antioxidants. That said, here are the tea's main benefits.
- It increases mental alertness
- It provides headache relief
- It improves the working memory
- It promotes weight loss
- It provides digestive symptoms relief
Extensive research continues to be done on green tea to confirm its benefits. Because of its antioxidant properties, it is believed that green tea is also great for the skin. The tea contains properties that minimize cellular damage, thereby preventing photoaging.
Additionally, green tea can empower your entire body system by incorporating autophagy. Autophagy is your body's ability to get rid of damaged or old cells. Some also take the tea because of its stress relief properties and because it can protect their bodies from neurodegenerative conditions.
What is Matcha?
Matcha is a specific kind of green tea. The tea is made from Camellia Sinensis leaves using sophisticated growing and processing methods. In the final few weeks before harvest, the tea plant is grown in the shadow. This shields it from the sun and retards growth, giving the tea leaves their distinctive flavor.
To reduce oxidation, the makers swiftly dry the leaves after harvest. The leaves are then stripped of their stems and veins, and the leaf matter is ground into a fine, bright green powder.
The tea is made by dissolving the powder in hot water. In the past, people have used bamboo whisks to assist break up matcha powder clumps and giving the tea a uniform texture. Similar results could be obtained with modern whisks or electric milk frothers.
The hue of the tea is an intense green. It can have a small frothy top depending on how it was made. It also has an earthy, grassy flavor with hints of sweetness and bitterness. If a person finds that the flavor is too strong for them, they may choose to reduce it by adding milk or a sweetener to the tea.
Like green tea, this tea also has its benefits. For centuries, the Chinese and Japanese have used the tea for its numerous health benefits.
The growth, harvesting, and preparation processes of this tea could help in the production of specific compounds that promote its health benefits. Some of the compounds include matcha caffeine, chlorophyll, theanine, and antioxidant catechins.
The tea is also rich in antioxidants, which boost several bodily functions. One of the most active antioxidants in the tea is epigallocatechin-3-gallate, which contributes to various mental and physical benefits. That said, here are some of the most notable benefits.
- It reduces oxidative stress
- It helps fight inflammation
- It improves memory and cognitive functions
- It helps minimize photoaging
- It strengthens blood vessels in the heart
- It promotes the markers of metabolic health
- It reduces the factors of tumor growth in the gut
Generally, matcha has more nutritional compounds than green tea. That's because it uses the entire leaf. So, whether you're enjoying your matcha latte or taking it plainly, you can rest assured you'll obtain these benefits.
Ceremonial grade matcha is a type of high-quality tea, which is used to brew traditional matcha tea with water. Ceremonial grade matcha is made from ground-up leaves from the camellia Sinensis plant, which is shade grown in Japan. Usually, ceremonial matcha is made from the first-harvest tea leaves, but all the veins and stems are removed. The tea has a rich, natural sweetness and you can drink it plainly with just water.
Differences Between Matcha and Green Tea
The main distinctions between the two types of teas are their production processes, as well as the content of the end product.
Usually, matcha undergoes more careful growing and extraction processes compared to other teas. Most green teas aren't grown in the shade or protected from oxidation. Therefore, the careful growth process of the former tea makes it have a richer flavor with unique characteristics.
Other types of teas could go through multiple processes, including drying, heating, and rolling once harvested. However, these processes vary based on the type of green tea. Japanese tea has a rich, strong, and grassy flavor, whereas green tea has a light, refreshing flavor.
You can add some milk to make a matcha latte to enjoy it some more. Usually, the matcha caffeine content is about 19 to 65 milligrams per gram, while green tea has about 11 to 25 milligrams per gram of caffeine.
Both teas also have varying prices, with green tea selling at a lower price. While both teas contain similar compounds, green tea has a lower nutritional content because of the growth and production processes.
Flavor Spectrum: A Tale of Distinctive Tastes
Delving into the world of matcha and green tea is like embarking on a journey through diverse flavor landscapes. Each sip tells a unique story, reflecting the nuances of their preparation and the distinct characteristics of their leaves.
Matcha: As you take your first sip of matcha, you'll be greeted by a vibrant green hue that's a feast for the eyes. But it's the flavor that we believe truly captures your senses. Matcha's taste is unlike any other, a harmonious blend of vegetal, umami, and sweetness. The initial sip is often earthy and slightly astringent, with hints of fresh grass. However, as the liquid settles on your palate, a creamy, velvety texture emerges, revealing an exquisite umami undertone that lingers. This unique combination of flavors transforms matcha into a truly memorable and immersive experience. Read more about the distinctive taste of matcha and which factors can affect it!
Green Tea: In contrast, traditional green tea unveils a wider spectrum of tastes. From delicate to robust, green tea encompasses an array of flavors influenced by factors such as the tea's origin, processing methods, and even the time of harvest. Lighter green teas, like sencha, greet you with a grassy and slightly sweet note that dances on your taste buds. Meanwhile, more oxidized green teas like hojicha offer a roasted, nutty flavor profile, evoking warmth and depth. Floral varieties such as jasmine green tea infuse a fragrant aroma and a subtle, enchanting sweetness.
Both matcha and green tea present an opportunity to explore the nuances of flavor that the Camellia sinensis plant has to offer. At MatchaConnection, we are fans of both matcha and green tea and drink them daily, however, we do have a slight bias toward the complexity that matcha offers. We highly recommend checking out our list of the best matcha powders available and we assure you that you won't be disappointed!
Which is the Best Matcha?
While people have different tastes and preferences, some tea brands are obviously better than others. We made a comparison between different kinds and concluded that Encha matcha is the best matcha.
Encha matcha was founded by Dr. Li Gong who was inspired to bring high-quality grade tea to the masses. The matcha powder comes directly from their farm in Uji, Kyoto, Japan from where it is distributed to other parts of the world.
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Encha matcha is available in different grades including latte grade, ceremonial grade, and culinary grade. This brand is USDA-certified organic and its packaging is BPA-free. Apart from coming directly from the farm, Encha Matcha is routinely tested for radiation and heavy metals. It also has a rich, earthy, clean taste.
Encha has great packaging, which is marked differently than other kinds. The bag is also resealable, unlike other teas that usually come in metal tins. Encha also has a rich, slightly grassy scent, which is an indication of its high quality.
Encha Matcha also has a crisp, green color. This is the color usually associated with high-quality ceremonial grade teas, indicating that it's been grown under a shade. Moreover, the powder is ultra-fine, meaning that it's been stone ground to perfection.
Additionally, the tea has a rich taste, and you can prepare it traditionally, using some water. The tea is exceptionally sweet and creamy, unlike other green teas that contain some bitterness.
Tea is a great way to start and end your day, and you could get yourself some green tea or the best matcha. Herein, the article has compared both teas to determine their characteristics and benefits. Both have significant health benefits, including improving memory, reducing oxidative stress, and promoting weight loss. Although both are green teas, they have some differences. Mainly, these differences come from the processes manufacturers take them through, including growing, rolling, drying, heating, and extraction.
When comparing matcha and green tea, it is evident that matcha powder has a much denser nutrient profile and ultimately contains more health and weight loss benefits than green tea. This is mainly due to the fact that the entire leaf is consumed when drinking matcha, as well as the fact that matcha leaves are shade grown meaning that they contain more catechins, chlorophyll, l-theanine, and caffeine.
When drinking matcha or green tea we highly recommend only drinking from the highest quality brands, to ensure the best experience, and most natural cultivation methods. We recommend the following matcha powders:
Best Matcha Powder
- Encha Ceremonial Grade Matcha
- Hand-picked from organic farm in Uji, Japan
- First Harvest Matcha - Vibrant green color
- Highest quality matcha, never bitter
- Our Rating: 4.9 of 5 stars
- Tenzo Organic Ceremonial Matcha Green Tea Powder
- Authentic Japanese Matcha
- Rich in antioxidants, helps boost metabolism
- Ceremonial Grade - Vibrant Green Color
- Pique Matcha - Organic Japanese Matcha Green Tea Powder
- Harvested from a family-owned organic tea farm in Japan
- Increases energy and focus
- Highest-quality, shade grown ceremonial-grade
- Our Rating: 4.8 of 5 stars
- Kenko Matcha Organic Ceremonial Matcha
- Gold Class Ceremonial Grade Matcha
- Country of Origin: Japan
- First Harvest Matcha - Vibrant Green in Color
- Our Rating: 4.8 of 5 stars
Is matcha green tea?
Matcha is derived from the same plant as green tea, however, the growing and preparation processes are much different, which makes matcha and traditional green tea very distinct. Matcha is shade-grown, dried and turned into a powder form, whereas, green tea is grown in the sun, withered, and then immediately cooked. When drinking matcha, the entire leaf is consumed as it is dissolved in water. Traditional green tea on the other hand, is steeped in hot water and then removed before drinking.
Who should not drink matcha green tea?
Although some believe that matcha tea should not be consumed by pregnant women, this is actually not the case. Too much caffeine during pregnancy can be dangerous, however, drinking matcha in moderation (around 1 cup per day), can have many wonderful benefits for pregnant women. Matcha is a superfood that is suited for everyone, as long as it is enjoyed in moderation and without the use of additives, heavy metals, and harmful chemicals used by cheap matcha brands.