Matcha Green Tea: A Potent Tea With Amazing Health Benefits

matcha green tea

Story at-a-glance -

  • Matcha is an excellent source of antioxidants, especially epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is a catechin that may help fight the negative effects of free radicals to protect your cells and tissues against damage
  • Matcha contains high amounts of L-theanine, an amino acid that may help improve your memory and concentration by increasing the production of serotonin and dopamine in the brain

You’ve probably heard of matcha, a type of green tea that’s been around since the 12th century,1 but only recently gained significant popularity. Matcha-infused recipes have become the trend nowadays. But what exactly is this bitter, green powder, and what can it do for your health? Read on to find out why matcha green tea deserves all the hype that it gets.

What Is Matcha Green Tea?

Known for its vibrant green color, rich grassy taste and numerous health benefits, matcha is the powdered form of green tea that’s traditionally used in Japanese tea ceremonies. Zen monasteries favored matcha because of its ability to help enhance mental alertness and presence of mind, while promoting a calm, meditative state at the same time.2

It’s said that the best organic matcha green tea powder comes from southern regions of Japan, particularly Uji, Nishio, Shizuoka and Kyushu.3 Similar to other tea varieties, matcha green tea is also made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which is native to Southwest China.

What sets these tea varieties apart are their processing methods and degree of oxidation. Even matcha and the regular green tea have several distinct differences when it comes to cultivation, harvest, production and nutritional profile.

To produce organic matcha green tea, the tea bushes must be shaded from sunlight 20 to 30 days before harvest. Protecting the leaves from direct sunlight stimulates the production of amino acids and increases the chlorophyll levels, which makes the leaves turn dark green.

After the finest leaves are harvested by hand, their stems and veins are removed and then steamed to stop fermentation, which preserves their color and health benefits.4,5 The steamed leaves are then dried and aged in a cold storage before being stone-ground on a granite block until they turn into fine powder.

Unlike other tea variants, which are served by soaking the tea leaves in hot water, matcha green tea is prepared by whisking the powder in hot water until a layer of froth is formed. I personally prefer this type of tea because the entire leaves are basically ingested in powdered form when drinking, which is exactly what makes matcha more beneficial versus regular green tea.

Discover the Numerous Health Benefits of Matcha Green Tea

The unique cultivation and production of matcha are not just responsible for its rich flavor and vibrant coloring, but also for its nutritional value. Here are some of the health benefits of matcha green tea:6,7,8

Enhances cognitive function and concentration

Matcha contains high amounts of L-theanine, an amino acid that may help improve your memory and concentration by increasing the production of serotonin and dopamine in the brain.

Provides a significant amount of antioxidants

Matcha is an excellent source of antioxidants, especially epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is a catechin that may help fight the negative effects of free radicals to protect your cells and tissues against damage. It’s also found to be helpful in reducing inflammation.

Provides a calming effect

The L-theanine content of matcha improves the production of alpha waves in the brain, which helps induce mental relaxation and reduce stress levels.

Boosts energy levels and endurance

Matcha contains a healthy form of caffeine, which may help improve energy levels and endurance without any adverse side effects.9,10

Detoxifies the body

Matcha has high levels of chlorophyll, which helps flush out heavy metals and toxic chemical from your body.

Aids in weight loss

Drinking matcha may help increase your metabolic rate, allowing your body to burn fat more efficiently.

Studies have shown that exercising right after drinking matcha green tea may increase the fat-burning rate by up to 25 percent.

Strengthens the immune system

Aside from being rich in antioxidants and L-theanine, matcha also contains small amounts of vitamins and minerals.

Collectively, these nutrients may help boost your immune system and protect your body against bacterial infections and viruses.

Improves eye health

A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that the catechins in matcha green tea may also be absorbed by different parts of the eyes, reducing your risk of glaucoma and other eye diseases.11

In addition to the benefits mentioned above, research also suggests that matcha green tea can help fight different illnesses, including heart diseases, Type 2 diabetes, liver disorders and several types of cancer.12,13

What Makes the Caffeine Content in Matcha Green Tea Different?

As with other types of tea, matcha contains caffeine. A half-teaspoon of matcha powder has 35 milligrams of caffeine, which is slightly higher than the content of regular green tea but still lower than that of coffee.

Even though both coffee and matcha green tea contain caffeine, their effects on your energy level and mental clarity are different. Unlike coffee, which may cause energy crashes, nervousness and jitteriness, matcha green tea may help improve brain function without any adverse side effects, thanks to its catechins and L-theanine content.

The larger catechin molecules tend to bind with caffeine, slowing down its release into the bloodstream. This leads to stabilized energy levels and prolonged energy-boosting effects. L-theanine also helps sustain the release and counteract the negative effects of caffeine, while inducing mental clarity and alertness at the same time.14,15,16

Matcha Green Tea Nutrition Facts

There is no denying that matcha is one of the most nutritious foods available today. To give you a better idea of the other health benefits matcha green tea has to offer, take a look at its nutrition facts:17

Generic - Organic Matcha Green Tea Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 tsp
  Amt. Per
% Daily
Calories 3  
Calories from Fat 1  
Total Fat 0 g 0%
Saturated Fat 0 g 0%
Polysaturated Fat 0 g 0%
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g 0%
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Potassium 27 mg 0%
Sodium 0 mg 0%
Total Carbohydrates 0 g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0 g 0%
Sugar 0 g  
Protein 0 g  
Vitamin A 6% Vitamin C 3%
Calcium 0% Iron 0%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs

A teaspoon of matcha also contains 15 times more than the amount of antioxidants in pomegranates and blueberries, and 60 times more than the antioxidants found in spinach.18

Here’s How You Can Make Your Own Cup of Matcha Green Tea

As mentioned above, matcha is prepared differently than other types of tea. Preparing a traditional bowl of matcha may seem difficult, but it’s actually quite simple.

In the traditional Japanese way, a bamboo spoon called shashaku is used to measure the amount of tea that will be mixed with hot water in a heated tea bowl. The mixture is then whisked using a special bamboo whisk, which is known as a chasen, until it becomes frothy.19 If you don’t have these accessories, a small conventional whisk and a ceramic bowl will do.

There are three different ways to prepare matcha: standard, usucha and koicha. The standard matcha tea involves mixing one teaspoon of matcha powder with 2 ounces (oz.) of hot water.

Usucha is a thin concoction that you can make by mixing a half teaspoon of matcha with 3 to 4 oz. of hot water. Koicha, on the other hand, is a thicker form of matcha green tea that’s made by mixing two teaspoons of matcha in 1 oz. of hot water — this type of matcha is commonly used in Japanese tea ceremonies.

Now that you know how to prepare matcha green tea, you should put your knowledge to the test by trying this matcha green tea smoothie recipe:

Energy-Boosting Coconut Matcha Green Tea


1 serving of prepared hot, organic matcha green tea

1 to 2 tablespoons coconut oil

Grass fed vanilla whey protein powder

Generous dash of cinnamon

1 tablespoon medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil, optional


1. Using a blender, blend together the hot tea and coconut oil.

2. Carefully touch the mixture with your finger to test the temperature. If it’s too hot to touch, then it needs to cool a little longer before you add the whey protein powder (to avoid damaging the nutrients).

3. Once it’s at a temperature you can comfortably touch, add the protein powder and cinnamon. Blend again. Enjoy!

NOTE: Different brands of whey protein powders have varying levels of nutritional content and sweetness. Try adding 2 tablespoons first and then adjust to your preferred taste.

There are many other matcha green tea recipes that you can choose from. Whether you want a traditional matcha drink or a matcha-infused dessert, I recommend you to make one on your own to ensure that you’re using only high-quality ingredients from organic sources.

What’s the Proper Way to Store Matcha Green Tea?

The typical shelf life of unopened matcha green tea is one year. However, its lifespan decreases once you’ve opened its packaging, so it’s best to consume it as soon as you can. In case you want to save some for later, make sure that you store it properly to preserve its nutritional value.

Keep in mind that this delicate powdered tea should not be exposed to heat, air and sunlight. Transfer it to a dry, airtight container to prevent contamination, and then put it in the fridge or a dark and cool cabinet.20,21

Possible Side Effects of Matcha Green Tea

Just because matcha green tea is great for you doesn’t mean that it’s beneficial to drink it all day long. Keep in mind that consuming excessive amounts of green tea may lead to undesirable side effects, including:22,23

  • Upset stomach: Matcha green tea may cause stomach upset if consumed on an empty stomach. This it because of its tannin content, which is a naturally-occurring micronutrient that may increase the stomach acid.
  • Nausea: This is another side effect that’s caused by excessive stomach acid. It usually occurs together with upset stomach.
  • Iron deficiency: Drinking excessive amounts of matcha may interfere with your body’s ability to absorb iron, eventually causing iron deficiency or anemia.
  • Kidney and/or liver damage: While matcha green tea helps prevent kidney and liver diseases if consumed in moderate amounts, studies have shown that these organs may also be the first ones to get damaged by drinking too much matcha.

Even though the caffeine content of matcha is generally safer than that of coffee, too much of it may still cause side effects, especially in people who are sensitive to caffeine. Some of the caffeine-related side effects that matcha may cause include headache, irritability, insomnia, heartburn and bowel disorders.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as individuals with psychological disorders, kidney problems, heart diseases and liver disorders, are advised to avoid matcha green tea. If you have any concerns about the possible side effects of matcha, consult your doctor first before making it a part of your regular diet.24,25

Make Sure That Your Matcha Green Tea Powder Comes From Reputable Sources

Not all matcha green tea available in the market contains the same amount of nutrients. Some of the matcha that comes from China, Pakistan and India may contain high levels of metals, including lead, fluoride and aluminum. If these metals accumulate in the body, they may cause serious health problems like Alzheimer’s disease.

I suggest that you buy matcha green tea from reputable Japanese sources to ensure that the cultivation, harvesting and production methods required to produce high-quality matcha powder are observed. You should also look for a product with an organic certification to guarantee that it’s processed in a way that will not damage your health.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Matcha Green Tea

Q: Where can you buy matcha green tea powder?

A: Matcha green tea powder is widely available in groceries nowadays because of its growing popularity. When buying one, choose a product that’s cultivated in Japan instead of China or India, and double-check to ensure that it’s organic.

Q: What’s the difference between matcha and green tea?

A: Matcha and regular green tea differ in flavor, texture, color, preparation method and nutritional profile. Since green tea is basically dried leaves, it has a dull brown color and gritty texture. Matcha, on the other hand, comes in a fine and velvety bright green powder. In terms of taste, premium-grade matcha tends to be more palatable than green tea.

Their different processing methods also affect their nutritional value. Matcha contains higher amounts of amino acids, antioxidants and polyphenols than regular green tea.26

Q: Is matcha green tea good for you?

A: Matcha green tea is great for your overall health, since it’s loaded with antioxidants, amino acids and other nutrients that may provide various health benefits, such as enhanced brain function, better mood, higher energy levels and improved immune system, among others.

Q: Does matcha green tea have caffeine?

A: Just like other tea variants, matcha green tea also contains caffeine, which is why it helps boost energy levels and endurance. Its caffeine content is a bit higher than green tea but still lower than coffee, so the usual side effects of stimulants shouldn’t be a concern, especially if you only drink it in moderate amounts.

Q: How much matcha green tea is safe to drink per day?

A: The daily recommended consumption amounts of matcha depends on a variety of factors, including your diet, lifestyle and health conditions. In general, one to two cups per day is enough to keep your health in check and boost your energy levels without the risk of adverse effects.27,28,29

Q: When should you drink matcha green tea?

A: Avoid drinking matcha early in the morning or on an empty stomach. Doing so may lead to stomach upset and nausea because of its ability to increase stomach acid. You should also avoid consuming it before bedtime, since its caffeine content boosts energy and alertness, which may hinder you from getting a good night’s sleep.

The best time to drink matcha green tea is before exercising or going to work. This gives you the energy and mental clarity that you need in order to perform your activities more efficiently. Drinking matcha two hours before mealtimes may also help increase your body’s ability to absorb nutrients.30,31

Q: How can you use matcha green tea?

A: You may either consume matcha in the traditional way, which involves whisking it into a bowl of hot water, or you may also opt to add it into different beverages and desserts. Make sure that you only mix it with organic ingredients to make the most out of its health benefits.

Note: When buying tea of any kind, make sure that it’s organic and grown in a pristine environment. The Camellia sinensis plant in particular is very efficient in absorbing lead, fluoride and other heavy metals and pesticides from the soil, which can then be taken up into the leaves. To avoid ingesting these dangerous toxins, a clean growing environment is essential, so that you can be sure you’re ingesting only pure, high-quality tea.

+ Sources and References
Post your comment
Click Here and be the first to comment on this article