The taste of coffee and matcha are very different. Coffee is typically bold and rich, often paired with milk, sugar, or flavoured syrups to balance out its sometimes natural bitterness. Matcha, on the other hand, is known for its mellow botanical notes, sweet nuttiness, and just a touch of bitterness. Generally, higher grade matchas, such as ceremonial grade matcha, will only come from the first harvest of leaves in spring. The youngest first-harvest leaves will have a sweeter profile due to containing fewer catechins1.
In Japan, like coffee, matcha is widely available – hot or cold – in vending machines, cafés, and street stalls. And you’ll likely have seen it popping up in cafés and coffee shops here too – either plain, with sugar, or combined with milk to make a creamy latte-like drink. You might even have seen matcha ice cream and cakes, or combined with coffee.
Both coffee and matcha have associated health benefits. Coffee is high in caffeine, which is known to improve mental alertness, focus, and concentration.
Made from specially grown, processed, and finely ground tea leaves – matcha powder isn’t just an infusion, you consume the whole leaf, so it’s packed with nutrients and antioxidants.
Research has shown that matcha contains three key ingredients that can positively affect your attention span: I-theanine, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and caffeine. Studies also show matcha has an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effect – thanks to its I-theanine content. In addition, Matcha contains high levels of catechins and polyphenolic antioxidants, which could keep your heart, liver, and skin healthy, and even freshen your breath2.
But the health benefits of matcha don’t end there. One study found that drinking matcha daily reduces cholesterol, particularly ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL). Another study found that matcha could boost thermogenesis – the rate at which your body burns calories – by anywhere between 35% and 43% (the standard rate is between 8% to 10%, so a huge increase)3.
BoostIf you’re looking for a swift surge of energy, coffee simply cannot be beaten. Per serving, matcha caffeine vs coffee is much lower. But if you’re looking for a less intense, longer lasting effect – matcha has the edge, thanks to its unique combination of caffeine and L-theanine. Much like coffee, matcha is also thought to activate serotonin and dopamine receptors in the brain – contributing to feelings of wellbeing and relaxation.
The good news is you don’t have to choose! These two drinks both have distinctive flavours, uses, and benefits. So why not add a little variety into your daily caffeine routine? You can even try to combine them.