Should you switch to matcha or stick with coffee?

By Published On: June 16, 20243.6 min readViews: 1220 Comments on Should you switch to matcha or stick with coffee?

Talk about a green new deal.

Stroll the streets of Manhattan these days and in some neighborhoods, you might see almost as many matcha cafes as espresso bars and coffee shops.

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And if you’re curious about switching your caffeine source, that’s good, experts say — matcha can keep you alert and awake just like your morning cup, make that cups, of java. But it can get the job done without the jitters and dehydration coffee has been known to cause.

Considered by many to be superior to coffee, Matcha has been treasured for centuries for its restorative powers. Foodfine – stock.adobe.com

Far from being just another trend, matcha is rooted in ancient Japanese culture, and treasured for its energy-giving powers, nutrients and phytochemicals, which strengthen the immune system.

“It’s a concentrate, so it’s not just high in antioxidants. It can also offer considerable caffeine,” said Cami Jacobsen RD, LD of Avera Medical Group. “People like it because it offers calm and relaxing feelings but also sustained energy.”

What is matcha?

Green tea and matcha come from the same, miraculous plant, the Camellia Sinensis, but matcha is shade-grown and processed very differently.

“Since the plants get less sun, they have more chlorophyll and amino acids,” Jacobsen said. “Green tea is made with the leaves. Matcha uses every part of the plant and that comes through in various ways.”

Does matcha have as much caffeine as coffee?

If you’re worried about your levels, don’t be, say the pros. While it can depend on the matcha you’re using and how strong you make your morning latte, there’s plenty of oomph behind just one cup of the stuff.

To be specific — a cup of matcha contains 75.6–177.6 mg of caffeine, vs. 80–100 mg in coffee, according to Medical News Today. Make yours a bit stronger, and you might find yourself flying.

The best part is, that nice, clean buzz lasts longer than your typical coffee high. Plus, less of a chance of anxiousness/nerves, and no sad crash at the end, either.

“Because it has a lot of L-theanine and other antioxidants, matcha caffeine is thought to take longer to be absorbed,” Jacobsen said.

What does matcha taste like?

What Does Matcha Taste Like?

For most people, the taste of matcha tends to decide whether or not they make the switch. Grafvision – stock.adobe.com

Umami-rich matcha can be a little powerful for some — Jacobsen said that many people describe it as “grassy,” or “nutty.” Others say it’s an acquired taste, while still more won’t touch the stuff.

They should — it offers a range of health benefits. That’s probably why it’s suddenly popping up all over, Jacobson wagered.

What’s the best way to drink matcha?

A slightly sweet matcha latte from a chain coffee shop is how many Americans are being introduced to the ancient beverage. puhimec – stock.adobe.com

Matcha is traditionally consumed as a hot tea, but many Americans are being introduced to the Japanese sensation as a sweet, iced latte.

Matcha can also be used to add color and flavor to baking, thanks to its distinct, vivid hue.

There are three grades of matcha out there — culinary, barista or premium, and ceremonial. You can buy tins of single-estate matcha powder from Japan on Amazon, or you can snap up a bag for a few bucks that will last you for a month or more.

What are the health benefits of matcha?

Matcha isn’t just another upscale trend — it’s a real health booster, too. Uuganbayar – stock.adobe.com

“It can help fight many conditions, from inflammation to diabetes,” Jacobsen said. “Matcha’s linked to heart health, memory improvement and focus. It’s a nice once-a-day drink to boost health.”

Matcha also contains something called catechins, a nutrient that cuts oxidative stress, which occurs when our free radicals and antioxidants are out of whack.

“It can be an inflammation-reducing drink,” she said. It is one of many micronutrients the powder provides; many organs including the liver, brain and heart get a boost from these chemical compounds.

The drink also contains polyphenols, which can help fight heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

“Matcha offers many benefits,” she said. “It’s an alternative for people who want energy beyond green tea or who are tired of coffee.”

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