The Difference Between Matcha vs. Green Tea

Learn about the differences and similarities between matcha and green tea.

Tea is a beloved drink around the world. But when you reach for a mug, should it contain green tea or matcha? That’s a question many ask since both options have similarities and various health benefits. Do the two types of tea have differences in flavor and caffeine content? 

Matcha and Green Tea

Since green tea and matcha come from the same plant, knowing which to choose can be confusing. Though both have the same roots, they have different flavors and appearances.

I enjoy matcha with almond milk in the morning and iced green tea in the afternoon.

Green tea and matcha are processed and prepared differently, but both can be healthy choices at any time of day. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of matcha vs. green tea. 

What is Matcha? 

Matcha is a type of green tea that’s made into a powder after harvest.

For matcha, the Camellia sinensis plant is grown in the shade to protect leaves from sunlight and slow the growth of the plant.  

After the tea leaves are picked, they’re dried to reduce oxidation. Stems and veins are removed before manufacturers grind the leaves into a fine, green powder.  

Dissolving this powder in hot water creates matcha. Matcha fans often use bamboo whisks to break up any clumps of powder.

Matcha has a distinct green appearance and a grassy flavor. Many people use matcha to flavor desserts such as mochi

What is Green Tea?  

Another form of the Camellia sinensis plant is green tea.

To make green tea, farmers harvest the leaves and quickly heat them to prevent them from oxidizing and turning brown. The leaves are then rolled and dried. 

To make green tea, steep green tea in hot water. Green tea has an earthy, vegetable taste and is clear with a light brown tint. This Chinese tea is loved for its fresh taste, and its high caffeine content.

How are Matcha and Green Tea Different?  

Many teas, from Oolong to matcha, come from the same plant. But the growing, harvesting, and processing of the tea leaves make matcha vs. green tea different.  

Matcha is grown in the shade to keep the leaves green and slow their growth. The added care in matcha production creates its distinct color and flavor.  

Other tea leaves aren’t shielded from the sun. Other processes such as heating, drying, and rolling make green tea different from matcha, which is ground into a bright green powder.

Matcha also has more antioxidants and is more nutrient-dense. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

If you still have questions about green tea and matcha, these frequently asked questions can help set things straight. 

Which is better, matcha or green tea? 

The question of which is better, green tea or matcha, comes down to personal preference.

Green tea is better when you want something light and refreshing, while matcha is rich and flavorful and can replace coffee in a latte. 

Matcha and green tea have similar health benefits. Both contain compounds such as:

But matcha tends to contain more of them because of the shaded growing process. Since matcha powder is finely ground tea leaves, more of the compounds are in a cup of matcha. 

Green tea and matcha have similar levels of caffeine. 

Is green tea or matcha better for weight loss? 

Neither matcha nor green tea is high in calories, but matcha may outweigh green tea as a weight-loss aid.

One study showed that green tea extract after moderate exercise boosted fat-burning by 17 percent. Green tea is also helpful in maintaining weight loss.  

Because of these benefits, green tea extract is often included in diet supplements. With that in mind, count any green tea extract in supplements as part of your total daily green tea intake. 

Matcha is more concentrated, so it brings more metabolism-boosting benefits than green tea. 

Can I drink matcha every day? 

Yes, you can drink matcha every day since matcha is loaded with health benefits.

But there can be too much of a good thing. Because of its caffeine content, overusing matcha may result in mood changes, trouble sleeping, and other caffeine-related issues. 

Since matcha is ground tea leaves, it may also increase exposure to contaminants such as pesticides. 

The maximum amount of matcha someone should consume is unclear and might depend on personal tolerances. Stick to no more than two or three cups of matcha a day to be safe. Buy organic matcha powder to enjoy its health benefits without the risk of pesticide exposure.  

Final Thoughts 

What’s the difference between matcha vs. green tea? 

Matcha and green tea come from the same plant, but they have distinctly different flavors. Green tea is better for a refreshing iced tea, while matcha makes a rich morning latte that will give you a caffeine boost with added health benefits. 

Either tea choice is a delicious way to get added antioxidants. 

If you love tea, check out the best tea drinks from Starbucks for when you need a drink on the go!

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Written by Erin Elizabeth

Erin lives in East Passyunk and enjoys checking out the local restaurants in South Philly and beyond. Her favorite restaurants are those with spicy food and outdoor seating so that she can bring along her dog, Miss Piggy.