So if matcha is a green tea and green tea is matcha…
...you’d be half-right. Matcha is green tea, but green tea isn’t always matcha. Confused yet? Great! I'm here to explain.
Green tea is a beverage made from steeping dried tea leaves in hot water. Matcha, on the other hand, is stone-ground green tea leaves mixed directly into water (cold or hot – not boiling). Rather than just drinking tea juice, matcha powder allows you to drink the entire tea leaf itself. This gives you the full benefit of the tea leaf and its nutrients.
Though both green tea and matcha are known to have an earthy flavor, steeped green tea has a lighter, more gentle flavor, whereas matcha is richer, stronger, and slightly bitter.
Green teas also come in many different mixes of tea leaves that could include more pronounced flavors, like florals or fruits. The flavor of your green tea will also change depending on how long it has steeped and the temperature of the water used.
Matcha is described having an umami or savory flavor profile. It is slightly nutty, sweet, and bitter. Matcha is incredibly versatile and can be added to smoothies, mixed into a matcha latte, or turned into a soda.
Research suggests that green tea is a great source of antioxidants and other compounds, including L-theanine. These can boost your memory and alertness.
Matcha and green tea have similar health benefits, but with matcha, the entire leaf is consumed, giving even more antioxidants, cognitive boosts, and healthy nutrients. This not only greatly increases the amount of antioxidants you get, but introduces specific compounds, like catechin or ECGg. These are believed to promote a healthy heart, fight inflammation, reduce the risk of specific cancers, reduce stress, and still give you those memory and cognitive boosts.
Green tea and matcha may come from the same leaves, but they differ in how they are processed and prepared. Though a nice cup of green tea is refreshing, it’s my daily matcha that gets me through the day. With higher levels of antioxidants and other health boosts, matcha is an easy winner.