With so many different matcha benefits, it’s no wonder that people everywhere are trading in their morning coffee for a nice bowl of matcha.
In the first part of this article, we are going to be going through all the different matcha benefits you should know about.
In the second part, we also talk a little bit about how matcha is made and how different steps in the production process make matcha the nutritional powerhouse that it is.
We’ll also break down the chemical composition of matcha, to see how its antioxidants, caffeine and amino acids compare to other types of teas.
We made our research based on scientific studies and facts.
Let’s get started! 👩🔬🍃👨🔬
The most detailed evidence based list of Matcha Benefits
A lot of the matcha benefits come not only from the careful growing and production of the tea, but also from the grinding of the leaves.
When you mix this matcha powder into water, you are consuming the entire leaf.
This means that you are getting a higher dose of the health benefits compared to if you simply brewed the leaf.
Let’s go through the most detailed and accurate list of matcha benefits based on thorough research.
Does matcha have caffeine? Yes.
The caffeine in matcha will be much higher compared to a regular green tea. If you prepare matcha tea using a normal ratio, you will end up with 68mg of caffeine. If you simply add an additional teaspoon of matcha powder, you are now at 136mg of caffeine, which is more than a cup of coffee.
This means that matcha can be great as a coffee replacement, even if you are used to a heavy caffeine regiment.
#2 Rich in antioxidants
Because you are consuming the entire leaf when you drink matcha tea, you will find that it is much higher in antioxidants. There is a widely circulating myth that matcha has 137 times more antioxidants than a regular green tea. While it may not have that much, the amount of antioxidants in matcha is likely 10 times higher than a standard brewed green tea.
The antioxidants most commonly found in green tea are EGCG or Epigallocatechin gallate. These antioxidants can have all sorts of benefits to them, all of which we will discuss later!
In addition to having more caffeine and antioxidants, matcha also contains more theanine. As we briefly touched on before, theanine is the amino acid in green tea that gives it that sweet and savory flavor. Its really high in shaded teas like gyokuro and matcha, but much lower in unshaded teas because the tea plant converts it into catechins when it is exposed to sunlight.
Theanine also can have a beneficial impact on the brain, and it can buffer some of the negative effects of caffeine. As we will discuss in the next section, the l-theanine in green tea is a major advantage you get when you trade your coffee in for a morning cup of matcha.
#4 Improves Brain Function
Although matcha is extremely high in caffeine, it is also very high in l-theanine. L-theanine slows the absorption of caffeine, so instead of getting a sudden jolt of energy all at once and then a crash later, you get a longer lasting, “calm-alert” sensation that lasts throughout the day. This is why you don’t feel as jittery when you drink matcha compared to coffee.
#5 Heart Health
The combination of high antioxidants, amino acids, caffeine, and heart-disease-preventing vitamins and minerals make matcha a very good choice for improving your heart health. One study found men that drink matcha are 11% less likely to develop heart disease than those who don't drink matcha.
Yet another reason to start enjoying some delicious matcha, and take advantage of all the matcha benefits.
#6 Weight Loss
Studies have been done on groups that drink green tea before moderate exercise and it has been found that green tea has the potential to increase the amount of calories and fat burned.
This means that green tea like matcha can be a great tool to have with you as you embark on your weight loss journey. It’s thought that even 2-3 cups of matcha per day are enough to help you lose 3 additional pounds over 3 months
#7 Protects the Liver
The liver is so important when it comes to flushing out toxins and metabolizing nutrients, that’s why it is so important to maintain liver function as you get older. One of the matcha benefits may help you do just that!
One study gave 80 people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease either a placebo or a green tea extract. At the end of the study, it was found that the green tea group had reduced liver enzyme levels compared to the placebo group. Higher liver enzyme levels would be a marker for liver damage, so this would seem to point to green tea having a positive impact when it comes to maintaining liver health.
#8 May Help Reduce Cognitive Decline
Because of the high amount of polyphenols and amino acids in matcha, it may help to protect against cognitive decline, warding off dementia and boosting memory.
One study conducted with people over the age of 60 found that matcha significantly improved performance on recall and memory tests over the course of 12 weeks. As if you needed another reason to drink matcha tea!
#9 Boosting Mood
The l-theanine in matcha not only helps to buffer the negative side effects of caffeine, it is also thought to improve mood. L-theanine stimulates alpha brainwave activity, the same brainwaves stimulated during meditation.
This creates a calmer and more relaxed state, during which the brain feels more creativity and less anxiety. This is why many tea drinkers choose to drink high-theanine teas like matcha and gyokuro during long periods of work and study.
#10 Skin Health
Matcha can be yet another part of your skin care routine! The high concentration of antioxidants and other healthy compounds in matcha is thought to help contribute to a clear, smooth and healthy complexion.
Matcha may also help to protect your skin against UV Rays and sun damage, and it may even fight off acne, promote blood flow to the skin and alleviate redness. In addition to this, it may even help slow down the signs of aging.
#11 Help Lower Cholesterol
One of the key battles when it comes to improving your overall health, is the struggle to maintain healthy cholesterol. Luckily, one of the matcha benefits may be able to help you out!
Studies have shown that individuals who drink matcha tea regularly have lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels while at the same time having higher levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.
#12 Boosting Immune System
The catechins in green tea is another one of the many matcha benefits. During one study, these compounds were given to healthcare workers in a green tea extract, and they were found to be 3 times less likely to succumb to the flu!
This means that green tea has the potential to not only make you feel better when you are sick, but also help prevent you from ever getting sick in the first place!
#13 Energy without the anxiety, crash or jitters
Of course in addition to all of these health benefits, matcha also does give you a lot of energy in a similar way to coffee. This can have all sorts of secondary benefits like increased alertness during work or school as well as increased performance during your workouts! Try swapping out that cup of coffee for a cup of matcha and see how you feel.
#14 Easy to Prepare
Unlike regular green tea that needs to be brewed, matcha can be quickly mixed into water or milk, making it very quick to prepare in the morning. If you are using a bamboo tea whisk or a milk frother, it can be faster than making a teabag!
Just add teaspoon of matcha powder to a bowl or glass, pour in 100ml of warm water and mix it up. Of course there are steps you can take to improve the taste of your matcha, but this is the basic procedure.
If you have a little bit more time and you want to learn how to prepare matcha like a pro, you can read our guide on the Complete Ceremonial Matcha Preparation
#15 Unique Flavor
In addition to having a plethora of health benefits, the matcha benefits also apply to the flavor. Matcha has a strong, yet smooth flavor that is difficult to find in the world of tea. The smoothness comes from the labor intensive production process and the intense flavor comes from the fact that the leaf is mixed directly into water.
If you are a fan of green teas that have a strong flavor to them, you can’t go wrong with matcha. A lot of words can be used to describe the flavor of matcha, but weak is not one of them! This tea provides plenty of flavor and a rich, engaging drinking experience.
The final one on the list of matcha benefits is the fact that matcha is incredibly versatile. Because it is a powder, it can be mixed into just about anything. This makes it possible to make not only matcha lattes, but also matcha ice cream, matcha cakes and more!
Matcha Tea Benefits Explained in a detailed video
Where do the Matcha Benefits Come From?
To understand where the matcha benefits come from, we first have to take a look at how is matcha made. Matcha undergoes a long and labor intensive production process, and each phase improves both the flavor and the health benefits of matcha.
When you get cheaper matcha, often a lot of the steps are skipped, so you end up with a dull yellow color, a bitter flavor and less health benefits. Make sure to go for premium matcha so that the taste is smooth enough to drink plain and you don’t miss out on any of the health benefits.
Shading of matcha teas
First, the tea plants used to make matcha need to be covered with a special type of netting for 3 weeks before the harvest. Normally, when the tea plants are exposed to sunlight, they will begin to convert the amino acid theanine into catechins. This would create a bitter flavor in the matcha, so the farmer decides to cover the tea plants to block out the sun.
This not only produces a smoother flavor in the matcha, but also a greener color and more caffeine. If this step is skipped, you would end up with more bitterness, less caffeine and a less appealing yellow color.
Selection of the Leaves
The leaf selection of premium matcha is very important. Not only does this high quality matcha have to be made from the youngest, most nutrient dense leaves on the top of the tea plant, but it has to be made from the first harvest in the spring time.
The tea plant can be harvested up to 4 times throughout the year, with the last harvest being in the fall. After the fall harvest, the tea plant has all winter to build up nutrients from the soil and these nutrients are released all at once into the fresh sprouts in the springtime.
These top three leaves are the ones used for matcha, and they are the highest in nutrients and the smoothest and sweetest in flavor.
Removal of the Stems
Once the young, fresh leaves are gathered up, they actually need to have their stems removed. These yellowish stems will detract from the flavor of the matcha, and they will also make it more bitter.
These stems not only have less of this sweet flavor compared to the leaves, they also have ⅓ the caffeine of the leaves. This is another reason why high quality matcha teas have more caffeine compared to low quality ones.
Grinding of the Matcha Powder
Finally, after the stems are removed from the leaves, the tea is referred to as “tencha” and it is one step away from becoming matcha. Now the leaves need to be ground into a fine powder.
To produce a premium, finely graded matcha powder you need a large stone mill with a network of grooves that grind the matcha into a finer powder as it is pushed out the sides of the mill. It takes this mill an hour just to produce 50 grams of precious matcha powder.
Final words about the benefits of matcha tea
Whatever your reason is to drink matcha, the best time to start is today! We have an excellent selection of matcha teas on our website that we have carefully picked out during our travels around Japan.
We’ve met with dozens of tea farmers at small farms all around the country and we have sampled hundreds of different matcha teas. After much research and tasting, we have compiled a list of our favorites and these can all be found at nioteas.com. If you want to try a few different matcha teas at once and see which one is your favorite, you can try one of our matcha samplers.
These samplers include matcha teas from different regions, tea farms and tea cultivars. Each one is a little bit different and if you really want to expand your palate, this is the best way to do so.
Thank you all so much for taking the time to read this article