Caffeine in Matcha Tea: Matcha Vs. Coffee – What You Need to Know
Caffeine can be a helpful supplement that gives you extra energy, but it can also make you jittery or promote insomnia if you have too much. Therefore, it is very important to know how much caffeine you are consuming, and most types of tea and coffee contain varying amounts of caffeine. If you regularly buy matcha or coffee and are trying to keep track of your caffeine intake, here is what you need to know about how matcha tea’s caffeine content compares to the caffeine content of coffee.
How Much Caffeine is in Matcha?
There is some caffeine in matcha, but it contains far less caffeine than the typical energy drink. Matcha has caffeine because it is a type of green tea, and all teas made from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant contain caffeine. Matcha is made from powdered, dried tea leaves that are mixed into hot water and then served without straining. Therefore, when you drink matcha, you are getting more caffeine than when you drink green tea that is made by steeping leaves in water and then removing them. Though caffeine content can vary minutely based on the growing conditions of the plants, on average, a single teaspoon of matcha contains 68 milligrams of caffeine before it is added to water.
Do Different Types of Matcha Have Different Caffeine Levels?
Though the amount of caffeine in unprepared matcha remains the same, it is important to realize that caffeine levels will vary wildly between individual cups of matcha. Traditional Japanese matcha can be prepared either usucha style, which and results in a light, refreshing tea, or koicha style which is a thicker drink with a texture similar to a smoothie. Generally, koicha style tea uses four times as much matcha as usucha style tea, so it contains four times as much caffeine. Depending on the style of matcha and the size of the cup, a serving of matcha tea can contain anywhere from 25 to 120 milligrams of caffeine. Therefore, if you are trying to monitor your intake, it is necessary to know how many teaspoons of matcha powder were used to create each cup of matcha that you drink.
Does Coffee Have More Caffeine Than Matcha?
Since caffeine typically is not consumed as a pure substance, most people have no idea whether a milligram of caffeine is a lot of caffeine or a little bit. Therefore, it is helpful to compare matcha to a cup of coffee to get an idea of how much caffeine is really in matcha tea. The typical cup of drip or filter brewed coffee has 145 milligrams of caffeine, and a cup of instant coffee can have up to 170 milligrams per cup. Generally, a cup of coffee has far more caffeine than a cup of matcha. Most people drink usucha style matcha made with a half to one whole teaspoon of powder, so matcha normally has about one half the amount of caffeine as a cup of tea. If a person is drinking koicha style matcha, which is normally only done during elaborate tea ceremonies, they will be consuming slightly more caffeine than a cup of brewed coffee. However, even koicha style matcha still contains less caffeine than a cup of instant coffee.
How Much Caffeine Should You Drink in a Day?
Most doctors agree that a healthy adult can drink up to 400 milligrams of caffeine each day. This means that it is normally safe for a person to have about three to four cups of coffee or six cups of matcha. Too much caffeine can upset stomachs, cause insomnia, make a person nervous, result in tremors, and make the heart beat too fast. However, staying under 400 milligrams a day can boost productivity and health. In moderate amounts, caffeine helps people to focus and remain awake, and it can give you more energy while exercising. Depending on your own metabolism rates and personal health, you may be able to drink slightly more or less than the daily recommended amount of caffeine. If you are feeling drowsy and lethargic, you may benefit from a bit more caffeine, but if you are feeling jittery and twitchy, you may need to cut back.
Should You Drink Coffee or Matcha to Get Caffeine?
Matcha and coffee might both provide caffeine, but their effects are not just different because they contain different amounts of caffeine. The other compounds within matcha and coffee affect the way that the body absorbs them. Matcha contains catechins, which are antioxidants that can help to boost weight loss by altering metabolism. The caffeine molecules that are found in matcha bind to the catechins, which are absorbed slowly over time, but the caffeine molecules in coffee tend to go directly into the bloodstream. Because the caffeine in coffee is absorbed so quickly, it tends to cause a sudden jolt of energy that is followed by a crash in an hour or two. In contrast, the caffeine in matcha takes up to six hours to be absorbed, so matcha drinkers remain mildly energized for a few hours before the effects gradually fade. Therefore, many people buy matcha instead of coffee because it just causes a calm feeling of alertness and awareness instead of a spike of energy.