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February 3, 2022
Coffee vs. Matcha: How to Know Which One Is Best for You
Coffee and tea are two of the most popular beverages in the world. Each day, nearly 1.4 billion cups of coffee are consumed across the globe; while a staggering 3.7 billion cups of tea are consumed (1, 2).
So which of these popular beverages is the better option for your health?
In this article, we’ll cover the history of matcha and coffee, the nutrition facts and caffeine content of each, and how to choose which one is right for you.
The History of Matcha vs. Coffee
Coffee was first discovered by a goatherder named Kaldi in the 9th century when he began to notice his goats becoming extra-energetic after munching on the berries of a nearby tree (what we now know to be the coffee tree).
This chance encounter with energizing berries led to a global coffee phenomenon, with billions each day brewing coffee at home, frequenting a favorite coffee shop, or simply popping a pod into a fancy espresso maker.
Green tea, on the other hand, was stumbled upon in 2737 B.C. when tea leaves just so happened to blow into a pot of boiling water belonging to a Chinese Emporer (also known as “The Divine Healer”). He immediately found the brewed tea to be refreshing, and ultimately, healing. Fate, right?
These two world-renowned beverages have a piping hot history. One that spans across every continent, culture, and social class. But, what are the nutritional differences between the two?
Let’s find out…
Nutrition Facts of Matcha vs. Coffee
Both matcha and coffee come steeping in health benefits.
Coffee is a cocktail of biologically active compounds—ranging from carbohydrates and lipids to vitamins and minerals to alkaloids and antioxidants. Aside from its energizing abilities, coffee is known for its potential to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, liver damage, and Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to this, it also improves endurance in long-duration physical activities (3).
- Cardiovascular disease
- Coronary heart disease
- Congestive heart failure
- Type 2 diabetes
Matcha, on the contrary, is an ancient green elixir brimming with health-promoting compounds. With free radical-fighting antioxidants, stress-relieving L-theanine, and anti-cancer catechins like epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), you’re getting a flavorful cup of health benefits.
Matcha green tea may…
- Stabilize harmful free radicals (6)
- Protect the kidney and liver (7, 8, 9)
- Boost brain function (10)
- Improve attention, reaction time, and memory (11)
- Promote relaxation and decrease stress (via a plant compound called L-theanine) (12)
- Stimulate energy, without the jitters (thanks to caffeine paired with L-theanine)
- Protect against certain types of cancer (including breast, prostate, skin, lung, and liver cancer) (13, 14, 15, 16, 17)
- Promote heart health by reducing levels of triglycerides and “bad” LDL cholesterol (18, 6)
- Promote weight loss by speeding up your fat-burning metabolism (19, 20)
Caffeine Content in Matcha vs. Coffee
Coffee is the most popular psychoactive stimulant in the world (21). The amount of caffeine in an 8-ounce cup of coffee ranges between 30 and 175 milligrams, with the average caffeine content being about 95 milligrams per cup (3, 22).
Matcha, on the other hand, contains 64 milligrams of caffeine per 8-ounce cup (23). An average cup of matcha contains about 1 teaspoon (or 2 grams) of matcha powder.
How to Know Which Is Best for You
A cup of coffee can come with a few drawbacks…
While most people tend to have a normal sensitivity towards caffeine (meaning, they can consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine without experiencing any adverse effects), there are some who don’t tolerate it as well…
In addition to those who have caffeine sensitivity, women who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breastfeeding should avoid caffeine as well, as coffee increases the risk for low birth weight or premature labor (3).
For those with caffeine sensitivity, matcha can be a great alternative. With just 64 milligrams of caffeine per cup (plus 40 milligrams of L-theanine, a calming amino acid), you’ll feel alert and energized—without the jitters (27, 12).
The Bottom Line
What used to be reserved for royalty two thousand years ago can now be enjoyed by billions of people today.
Coffee and matcha green tea are two popular caffeinated beverages that warm the souls of those worldwide.
Coffee has proven to be an absolute essential when it comes to social activity, leisure, work performance, and overall well-being—with 43% of individuals reporting it to be their most important morning ritual (28).
Conversely, matcha is a type of powdered Japanese green tea that’s equal parts savory and earthy. Whisked into steamed nut milk, it makes for a creamy, energizing jolt—without the jitters or heart palpitations.
If you’re sensitive towards caffeine or want a simple afternoon pick-me-up, matcha green tea is the perfect, all-natural alternative.
Wondering how to make the perfect matcha latte?
Lucky for you, we created a one-scoop solution to meet all your matcha needs.
Certified Health Coach and Head of Content at NativePath (aka I’m the gal responsible for ensuring that every blog we publish helps you live life a little more #OnThePath).
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Chad Walding nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.