If you’ve spent time in coffee or tea shops in recent years, you’ve probably noticed more and more people sipping on matcha for an energy boost. But does matcha have caffeine and if yes, how much? — how does it compare to other popular caffeinated beverages like coffee?
Matcha is a popular caffeinated beverage made from ground green tea leaves steeped in hot water or milk.
Matcha has less caffeine than coffee, but more caffeine than regular green tea.
Although matcha contains caffeine, it also has L-theanine, which is thought to be calming and relaxing.
Matcha and matcha lattes have enjoyed increased popularity over the past few years. If you enjoy drinking matcha, you might have wondered, “Does my matcha latte have caffeine?” Similarly, coffee lovers might ask, “Does matcha have more caffeine than coffee?” This article explores matcha caffeine content versus other popular caffeinated beverages like coffee and regular green tea.
What is matcha?
Matcha is a powder that is mixed with hot water or milk to make tea.
Matcha comes from the same plant as green tea, Camellia sinensis. However, unlike green tea, which is usually made by steeping the Camellia sinensis leaves in hot water, matcha is made by grinding whole tea leaves into a fine powder. The powder is then whisked into hot water and drank whole.
Matcha has been a staple in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies for centuries, where it was used to increase focus during meditation. It’s also a favorite caffeinated beverage in Asian households. It has gained rapid popularity in the Western world as an energizing alternative to coffee. People who don't like the taste of coffee, or who don't tolerate it well, may prefer matcha instead.
How much caffeine does matcha have?
The caffeine content in matcha can vary based on the age of the tea leaves and the steps taken during harvesting and processing. However, studies have found that each gram of matcha contains about 18.9–44.4 mg of caffeine. The average matcha beverage contains about two grams of matcha, meaning the average matcha caffeine content per beverage is roughly 37.8–88.8 mg of caffeine.
You can find matcha in different forms, but the caffeine content is about the same per serving of matcha powder. The only difference between matcha and matcha lattes is that matcha lattes are made with milk or a milk alternative rather than hot water (matcha lattes are also sometimes sweetened with sugar or honey, but this does not affect the caffeine content either).
Matcha vs coffee
Matcha and matcha lattes are significantly weaker than a cup of coffee.
- A cup of matcha contains approximately 37.8–88.8 mg of caffeine.
- A regular cup of coffee contains approximately 100 mg of caffeine.
- A single shot of espresso contains approximately 50 mg of caffeine.
However, this can sometimes be seen as an advantage. For example, you may be less likely to experience a “caffeine crash” after consuming matcha vs coffee since the caffeine content is much lower.
Matcha may also be a superior caffeinated beverage choice for anxiety sufferers. Matcha is thought to have a “zen,” soothing effect to help you stay focused and calm. Meanwhile, studies have shown high doses of caffeine can induce panic attacks in those with a panic disorder. It’s also been linked to anxiety and other adverse side effects in healthy adults.
Matcha vs. green tea
Matcha may also be healthier than drinking regular green tea even though they come from the same plant. Because you are consuming the whole tea leaf, rather than steeping the leaf and removing it, matcha has better antioxidant benefits.
Similarly, matcha has more caffeine than a regular cup of green tea.
- A cup of matcha contains roughly 37.8–88.8 mg of caffeine.
- A cup of green tea usually contains between 30–40 mg of caffeine.
However, it’s important to note that the caffeine in green tea leaves can vary widely based on the age of the tea leaves and preparation methods.
Is caffeine in matcha different?
The caffeine in matcha is the same caffeine found in coffee, green tea, and other caffeinated beverages.
Although the caffeine is the same, matcha also has the added benefit of the amino acid L-theanine. L-theanine is thought to help improve mood and focus while reducing stress and anxiety. This may temper some of the jitter-inducing effects of caffeine and be responsible for the more calming effects of drinking green tea or matcha versus coffee.
An interesting study found that participants who drank matcha could improve their attention and work performance under stress versus participants who only had caffeine.
Should I choose matcha instead of coffee?
Matcha and coffee are caffeinated beverages that can help to temporarily increase focus. They are also fairly healthy in moderate doses.
However, matcha does have some marked health benefits over coffee. For example:
- Matcha contains more antioxidants because it is a rich source of catechins, a compound with powerful antioxidant activity.
- Matcha has antibacterial and antiviral properties linked to improved oral health. Meanwhile, coffee is acidic, which can actually erode tooth enamel and contribute to tooth damage and sensitivity.
- Matcha has less caffeine than coffee, which can be good for those with caffeine sensitivity.
Ultimately, both matcha and coffee are good choices for caffeinated beverages, but matcha may have more health benefits. Choosing matcha over caffeine depends on your health goals and preferences.
How much matcha should you drink to see the effects?
You can reap the benefits of matcha from just a cup or two per day. However, if you have a high caffeine tolerance (for example, if you usually drink several strong cups of coffee per day), you may not notice the caffeinated effects right away.
You might also experience caffeine withdrawal if you change from coffee to matcha. In cases like this, it’s a good idea to gradually switch one cup of coffee with a cup of matcha until you no longer feel the effects of caffeine withdrawal.
Matcha and matcha lattes are healthy alternatives to coffee and green tea due to their antioxidants and health benefits. They have less caffeine than regular coffee but may make up for it by delivering a smoother, less anxiety-ridden energy boost.
Is matcha stronger than coffee?
Matcha is not stronger than coffee. A serving of matcha has about 40–90 mg of caffeine, while a cup of coffee has about 100 mg of caffeine.
Is matcha better for anxiety than coffee?
Matcha has a more calming effect than coffee due to the inclusion of the amino acid L-theanine, which may make it better for people who suffer from anxiety. It also contains less caffeine than coffee, which can help with jitters and subsequent caffeine crashes.
Can matcha replace coffee?
You can use matcha instead of coffee. However, if you find that you have a high caffeine tolerance, you may need to make this transition gradually to avoid caffeine withdrawal.
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