Matcha vs. Green Tea: Everything You Need to Know About Both
Many pharmaceutical products share similar chemical compositions with minor variations to preserve brand integrity. While this concept usually applies to different prescription medications and aspirins, it can apply to natural substances that share close relationships. Many plants we use to create food and drink come from similar families and share certain characteristics. Sometimes, the similarities are so intense that it can be extremely difficult to discern their differences.
An example of natural substances that have this close connection is the link between green tea and matcha. These 2 substances are remarkably similar and have been used to produce health benefits. Both green tea and matcha are frequently used in eastern and western civilizations, but the exact differences between the 2 are vague to some people.
Understanding these differences is essential to determine which one you want to introduce to your system. The potential of both substances is not in question, but one might be more useful to you than the other, depending on your goals. Therefore, learning as much as possible about them is essential to making the right decision.
What is Green Tea?
Chances are you already know what green tea is and have likely already consumed some at one point in your life. This is hardly unexpected since green tea is commonly served as a breakfast drink worldwide, though usually accompanied by sugar and milk. Nevertheless, green tea is an important substance that is made from the leaves and buds of the Camellia sinensis shrub. C. sinensis is related to evergreen, but the shrub varies depending on the environment in which it grows.
It is a fairly common plant that began its journey into cultural significance 1,400 years ago in China. The ancient Chinese began using green tea as a beverage and turned it into a cultural icon that has lasted into the modern century in multiple countries.
The preparation of green tea is considered a sacred ceremony in Japan and involves a small ritual in which the tea is slowly prepared in front of the intended drinkers. In America and England, tea preparation is less ceremonial and more practical since it is primarily a beverage. However, many western countries have begun to drink green tea because it offers benefits that can improve overall health. The important detail is that green tea comes in various qualities, some being purer than others. The quality of the tea affects the preparation since it takes longer to prepare lower-quality tea leaves than higher-quality ones.
The tea grade also affects the benefit the tea provides and ensures you can enjoy the full range of benefits. While ensuring you have a high-quality green tea is a good idea for casual consumption, it is essential for those looking to drink it for health reasons. The big question is what benefits green tea can offer.
What Are the Benefits of Green Tea?
Green tea is a remarkably healthy drink and has a host of beneficial interactions with the human body. Some effects of green tea directly relate to improving physical health, while others help enhance energy. The benefits of green tea have become so well-known that consumption has increased exponentially. Understanding these benefits is essential for those who want to use green tea to improve their health rather than for the flavor. Fortunately, you do not have to sacrifice the latter to enjoy the former unless you load your tea with sugar or milk. Nevertheless, the first and most important benefit is that green tea consumption improves cognitive function.
Green tea, like coffee, contains caffeine, turning green tea into a stimulant that can help you stay awake throughout the day. Caffeine has been used for decades to help us face the day by energizing our minds and bodies despite lingering grogginess. Green tea consumption has been scientifically linked to improved cognitive function, though only to a certain extent. A cup of green tea contains between 30 to 50 milligrams of caffeine, compared to the 95 milligrams a cup of black coffee usually has.
Therefore, green tea is less energizing than coffee, but the difference is marginal. Nevertheless, green tea can enhance cognitive function by using caffeine to release certain neurotransmitters that are less prevalent when we first wake up.
In addition to cognitive enhancements, green tea has been linked to improving metabolisms and weight loss. Green tea has been linked to weight loss through studies focusing on the abdominal area. Consuming green tea can help reduce body fat and make it easier to lose weight, though the effects are limited. You cannot rely solely on green tea to lose weight, but it can provide certain advantages you might otherwise lack. Green tea is an effective tool in many ways, but other substances can provide health benefits. This brings us to the topic of matcha.
What is Matcha?
Matcha is often associated with images of green powders, drinks, and desserts, making it seem eerily similar to green tea based on color. The shocking thing is that this correlation is not wrong and is, in fact, extremely accurate. Matcha is a variant of green tea harvested from C. sinensis, just like traditional green tea. It is fair to claim that matcha is a cousin of green tea that is similar in many ways but has several key differences.
Specifically, matcha is harvested from C. sinensis grown in shaded areas, which causes it to generate more theanine. The plants are grown in the shade for 3 to 4 weeks before harvesting, allowing the plant to develop with improved levels of essential nutrients.
This different growth process is only one aspect that makes matcha distinct from its common cousin since the storage process is remarkably different. Matcha is typically formed into bricks and stored for future trade, though this storage method has little impact on how matcha tastes or works. Aside from these details, matcha is remarkably similar to green tea despite being more valuable regarding nutrients.
For example, matcha originated in China just like traditional green tea and was originally created during the Tang dynasty. Matcha has gained almost more popularity in the thousand years since it was discovered than traditional green tea. It also developed cultural significance in Japanese and Buddhist cultures, with the latter using matcha in religious ceremonies.
Like green tea, matcha can be divided into different levels of quality, but matcha's categories are a little more detailed. Matcha can be divided into 3 grades:
- Ceremonial Grade: Ceremonial grade matcha is the highest quality matcha traditionally used in the religious ceremonies we mentioned before. It is the most expensive matcha because it is purer and stronger than the others.
- Premium Grade: Premium grade matcha is the 2nd highest quality matcha and was more readily available to the general public. While it is slightly less powerful than ceremonial matcha, it remains an extremely viable version of the substance.
- Culinary Grade: Culinary grade matcha is the lowest quality and the most affordable since it is not as pure. This grade is specifically used for cooking other products that do not require the same level of strength ceremonial matcha offers.
These different matcha grades indicate the product's strength and can help you identify whether it offers the benefits you need. Matcha also shares another similarity with green tea that impacts its importance in western society. Like green tea, matcha offers several health benefits, making it very popular with thousands of American citizens. And, like before, understanding these benefits will make it easier to figure out whether you should invest in matcha.
What Are the Benefits of Matcha?
Matcha is extremely similar to green tea and therefore offers the same benefits its common cousin does. The biggest difference is that matcha has more nutrients than green tea and is, therefore, more potent. As a result, the effects of matcha are greater than green tea by a decent margin. While this is not to say that matcha is miraculous by comparison, you will likely enjoy somewhat enhanced results when using matcha instead.
For example, the cognitive enhancement we discussed in the green tea section is present in matcha too. Like green tea, matcha can improve cognitive function thanks to its caffeine concentration.
Since matcha is grown in the shade, it contains more theanine and other nutrients prevalent in green tea. Among the supercharged nutrients is the caffeine concentration, which is less than coffee's caffeine concentration insofar as green tea is concerned. On the other hand, matcha has a significantly higher caffeine concentration, making it one of the most energizing substances available. Matcha has an average caffeine concentration of 38 to 176 milligrams, meaning it can have more caffeine than coffee, depending on the mix.
This enhanced caffeine concentration means matcha can generate the same cognitive-enhancing effects as green tea and coffee. The problem is that the maximum caffeine in matcha accounts for almost half the recommended caffeine intake, limiting how much you can consume daily. Nevertheless, matcha can be an excellent alternative to coffee and green tea if you need a caffeine boost.
Matcha's caffeine concentration has been scientifically linked to improved brain function, increased attention, reaction time, and memory retention. As a result, matcha consumption can help us focus in scenarios where our mental functions might otherwise be impaired. This is not the only green tea benefit that matcha improves upon. Matcha has been linked to weight loss, just like green tea, but the effects are also slightly improved by the improved nutrients in matcha. Like green tea, matcha's benefits for weight loss seem connected to metabolic enhancement, allowing our bodies to process nutrients and expend energy more efficiently.
This boost makes it easier to shed excess weight and offers a slightly improved result when introduced through matcha. However, the same caveat applies to matcha: you cannot rely on it completely to lose weight. Nevertheless, matcha offers serious benefits to improve health and beauty without adding synthetic additives to your diet. Regardless of whether you prefer green tea or matcha, there are concerns that you must address when acquiring one. One of the most important details is ensuring the green tea or matcha you acquire is one of the higher-quality options rather than lower-grade options.
Finding the Right Blend
Green tea and matcha are both derived from the same shrub but are just different enough to have differences in how we process them. Ultimately, matcha is a stronger incarnation of generic green tea and provides the same benefits with slightly more potency. This extra edge that matcha provides makes it a slightly more desirable supplement than green tea, but with that edge comes an increased price. As a result, it is possible to enjoy the same benefits using green tea instead if you need to be a little more frugal.
Either way, the benefits of C. sinensis will be available to you so long as you consume your green tea or matcha responsibly. Unfortunately, the quality of the product is not guaranteed, depending on the vendor you use to acquire it. This makes finding a reliable source of matcha (and possibly green tea) challenging.
We at Teami have always believed in the benefits of natural substances for addressing health issues and improving appearance. That is why we have created a catalog of products that yield beneficial results for both. While most people might assume a group like us would not carry such things, we do offer matcha and green tea products that can provide the benefits you are likely after.
Our Skinny Tea Blend (made with oolong green tea) or our Matcha Ceremonial Grade Powder (available in 4 flavors) can help you on your journey. We know that seeing is believing, so we encourage you to visit our website and see our products yourself. After all, finding the right blend is a Teami effort.
Do you have any questions about matcha, green tea, their differences, or anything else we mentioned in this article? If you do, be sure to leave us a comment down below with any questions you may have, and we'll get back to you as soon as possible!
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