By Mariah Bourne
If you’re wondering about the caffeine in matcha, let’s just say there’s a lot to learn. Drinking matcha is an excellent choice if you’re sensitive to caffeine but still need a morning pick-me-up. Matcha has the highest level of caffeine compared to other green teas - but it’s not that simple.
Several factors, from quality to harvesting methods, play a part in matcha caffeine content. Whether you're an avid drinker or trying matcha out for the first time, understanding how much caffeine is in matcha is essential to how you can enjoy it.
All styles of green teas contain caffeine. Tea plants produce caffeine as a chemical defense mechanism to protect themselves from insects. Humans have had quite the opposite response and consume tea for its taste, caffeine content, and health benefits.
Determining how much caffeine is in matcha and other green teas boils down to multiple factors such as:
With all these factors involved, it’s clear how the caffeine in matcha and other green teas can widely vary. Not to mention, all teas aren’t created equally. Therefore, our discussion of how much caffeine is in matcha and other green teas will focus on high-quality teas like those offered by Mizuba Tea Co.
Studies have found that matcha can contain between 19 and 44 milligrams of caffeine (Health Benefits and Chemical Composition of Matcha Green Tea: A Review, 2021). Most high-quality matcha contains about 34 milligrams of caffeine per gram of matcha powder. In traditional consumption, a typical serving of matcha is about 2 grams of powder to 100 milliliters (about 3.5 ounces) of water. That would be about 68 milligrams of caffeine in a recommended serving. Matcha is regarded as a high-caffeine green tea because you can increase the level of caffeine in your serving simply by adding more powder.
Matcha could potentially contain more caffeine than coffee, depending on how it's prepared. For example, if you were to make an 8-ounce cup of matcha, it could contain more caffeine than a drip coffee of the same size. Don’t be alarmed, though! Caffeine in matcha is released and absorbed in a completely different way from coffee. More on that – read on!
The difference between the level of caffeine in matcha and other green teas is how the tea is consumed. With matcha, all the caffeine is consumed at once since the whole tea leaf is ground into a powder.
Green teas extracted from loose tea leaves must be steeped several times to extract all of the caffeine. With loose leaf teas, you also steep the leaves and then remove them, only consuming the infused water. A typical serving of loose leaf green tea is 5 grams of tea leaves to 150-180 milliliters (about 5 to 6 ounces) of water.
The caffeine in matcha may be the highest of all green teas, but other green teas like gyokuro aren’t too far behind. Similar to matcha, gyokuro is shaded for about 21 days before harvesting. The caffeine level in gyokuro is a bit lower than in matcha because the leaves are steeped, then removed after being infused into water. However, a recommended serving of gyokuro contains about 120 to 140 milligrams of caffeine which is higher than a recommended serving of matcha.
On the other hand, sencha, one of the most consumed green teas with the most categories, contains about 50 to 60 milligrams of caffeine in each serving. Most senchas are unshaded, hence their lower caffeine content.
However, kabuse sencha (kabusecha) is an exception. Kabusecha is shaded for less time than gyokuro and matcha and contains about 60 to 70 milligrams of caffeine per serving. Of course – everyone’s caffeine sensitivities are different, so you may find you are more affected by certain styles of teas than others!
As mentioned earlier, caffeine in matcha is unique in how it is released and absorbed after consumption. Matcha is very high in antioxidants and amino acids. Caffeine in matcha is released at the same time as the amino acid, L-theanine, which suppresses and antagonizes the stimulant effect of caffeine.
Some describe the synergy between caffeine and L-theanine as a calm, alert feeling that lasts throughout the day without the dreaded crash. L-theanine also reduces anxiety, stress, and insomnia while creating a sustained energy boost.
No matter what caffeine level you’re looking for, quality is an overarching factor in the level of caffeine in matcha and other green teas. Choosing high-quality teas elevates your experience while indulging in all the benefits of tea drinking.
At Mizuba Tea Co., our teas are sourced with the highest level of tradition and care. You’ll be able to taste and feel the difference with each #MatchaMoment. Join us for your next tea time!
Kochman J, Jakubczyk K, Antoniewicz J, Mruk H, Janda K. Health Benefits and Chemical Composition of Matcha Green Tea: A Review. Molecules. 2021; 26(1):85. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26010085
Mohanpuria P, Kumar V, Yadav S.K. Tea caffeine: Metabolism, Functions, and Reduction Strategies. Food Sci. Biotechnol. 2010; 19(2): 275-287. DOI 10.1007/s10068-010-0041-y
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