Is Matcha Healthier Than Steeped Green Tea?

By Ted

2734-matcha-tea.jpgMatcha has been around for centuries in Japan, but over the last couple of years it’s been gaining popularity in the west.

If you’ve tried matcha, you probably noticed that it comes with a high price tag compared with regular green tea. So, is it worth spending the extra money on?Green tea has been studied quite a bit and its antioxidant content and the amino acid L-theanine are primarily responsible for its health promoting properties. The antioxidant ECGC has been shown to prevent cancer and L-theanine has been shown to have mood altering properties helping with relaxation.

There is also some evidence that green tea aides in weight loss, but its antioxidants are by far the best benefit it has to offer.

Most people consume green tea by steeping the leaves in hot water for a few minutes, however, matcha green tea is prepared differently. In this type of green tea, the whole leaves are ground down to an extremely fine green powder. This powder is then disolved in the hot water. Therefore, drinking matcha is consuming the whole green tea leaf and not just what is released by brewing the leaves.

Matcha Tea Compared with Brewed Green Tea

Green tea leaves contain the following nutrients; caffeine, tannin (flavonols), theophylline, theobromine, fat, wax, saponins, essential oils, catechins (EGCG), carotene, vitamin C, vitamins A, B1, B12, and P, flouride, iron, magnesium, calcium, strontium, copper, nickel, and zinc.

Matcha tea would contain slightly more concentrated levels of each of these components, especially those that wouldn’t be water soluble.

  • 2 grams of matcha would contain about 70mg of caffeine.
  • 2 grams of dried green tea would contain between 20-40mg of caffeine.
  • 2 grams of matcha could contain as much as 137 times the EGCG of steeped green tea.
  • 2 grams of matcha can contain around 60mg of amino acids which is similar to that of brewed green tea.

Conclusions

Overall, matcha seems to be a healthier choice primarily because it’s a whole food. People that don’t enjoy the taste of green tea may like matcha better because it has a rich, naturally sweeter flavor.

Just be sure to purchase high quality matcha powder to get the most benefits out of it and keep matcha in an airtight container as air quickly degrades it. Matcha is also finding its way into other products in the west such as ice cream and coffee house specialty drinks.

Have you tried matcha? What do you think of it?

3 Comments

  1. SueK24

    I’m a huge fan of green tea because of the benefits of the EGCG it contains (and I like the flavor). I’ve been drinking it for years. I haven’t even tried Matcha, primarily because it’s higher in caffeine that green tea. The by products of metabolizing caffeine cause an elevation in insulin levels. I follow the Zone diet and an important part of the Zone is maintaining lower insulin levels. I’ve also wondered whether there is any difference in the absorption of the EGCG in Matcha as opposed to steeped green tea leaves. Anyone\ know anything about this?

    Reply
    • Steve O'Dell

      Hello SueK24 – I am the CEO of Tenzo Tea – a matcha green tea company. Are you familiar with “L-Theanine”? It is an amino-acid that releases the natural caffeine to your body over the course of 4-6 hours. I’m not sure about the exact insulin levels, but it helped with my jitters a lot.

      Reply
    • Grace & Green

      Hi Suek24,
      I’m Ritsuo from Grace & Green ( gracematcha.com )
      There is no difference in absorption of the EGCg in Matcha and steeped green tea leaves. Green tea trees make L-theanine at their roots first. Then it goes up to leaves and store there. Under the Sun light, it changes into Catechine(including EGCg).
      Matcha leaves (Tencha) are made under shade.
      So high quality matcha tend to have not much Catechin(EGCg) but have lots of L-theanine. Catechin is the source of bitterness and astringency. L-theanine is the source of Umami. This is why high quality matcha has very little bitterness but full of Umami.

      If you’d like to take EGCg more than L-theanine, very low grade matcha or sencha would be better than high quality matcha.

      I hope this helps you!

      Reply