Matcha vs. Green Tea: What Is the Difference?
Face it, no matter how many times you’ve seen Instagram stories of matcha tea, you still have no idea how it’s any different from typical green tea. The truth is, matcha is very different from the standard green tea. Matcha is velvety and light compared to classic green tea. The differences between matcha vs green tea lie in the way they're made and their distinct flavors.
Flavor of Matcha Tea vs. Green Tea
Both green tea and matcha powder may be described as having a grassy, earthy, or vegetal taste. However, the similarities end there.
Green tea is light, delicate and fresh. Depending on how it has been processed and any herbs or botanicals that have been added, green tea may taste floral, fruity, or nutty. It might feature notes of honey, jasmine, peach, citrus, ginger or other aromas.
Matcha tends to have a richer, more intense flavor. It is often blended with milk and sweetener to create matcha lattes, so many tea drinkers associate matcha with a frothy, velvety texture and sweet taste.
Cultivation of Matcha Tea vs. Green Tea
Both drinks are similar in that they come from the same Camellia Sinensis plant, but that’s where their similarities end. Green tea is made by steeping tea leaves in water,we’re drinking the compounds that are released into the water. Meanwhile, matcha is made by dissolving ground tea leaves into water, meaning we’re drinking the actual leaves themselves. The leaves themselves are less processed than those used for green tea, she adds, and are typically richer in chlorophyll and antioxidants.
Health Benefits of Matcha Tea vs. Green Tea
Matcha is the avocado of wellness drinks—we just can’t get enough of it. It’s in our lattes, our baked goods, and even our skin-care products. However, as with any popular wellness trend, it’s easy to jump on the bandwagon without exactly knowing how it benefits your body. Isn’t matcha just fancy, rebranded green tea anyways?
Because matcha is made from high-quality tea, and the whole leaves are ingested, it’s a more potent source of nutrients than steeped green tea. In addition to providing small amounts of vitamins and minerals, matcha is rich in antioxidants called polyphenols, which have been tied to protection against heart disease and cancer, as well as better blood sugar regulation, blood pressure reduction, and anti-aging. Another polyphenol in matcha called EGCG has been shown in research to boost metabolism, and slow or halt the growth of cancer cells.
Since you’re consuming whole leaves in matcha, you may get three times as much caffeine than a cup of steeped tea, about the amount in a cup of brewed coffee. Matcha aficionados say that compared to the caffeine buzz from coffee, matcha creates an “alert calm” due to a natural substance it contains called l-theanine, which induces relaxation without drowsiness. Still, we do believe it’s best to avoid all forms of caffeine (including matcha) at least six hours before bedtime, to ensure a good night’s sleep.
Matcha powder and green tea have much in common, but due to differences in cultivation, processing, and preparation, each variety offers its own unique flavor profile and health benefits. We recommend trying both types of tea to learn your preferences.