How Much Caffeine Does Matcha Have? [Beginners Guide]
Matcha is a Japanese Green Tea that has boomed in popularity in recent years. Just step outside and check the blackboard outside any hipster cafe, you’ll see what I mean. But seriously, matcha is big, and for good reason.
The frothy green drink with its earthy and nutty flavor has an array of health benefits and interesting properties. These are causing more and more people to reach for matcha as a replacement for coffee or other hot drinks.
While energizing matcha contains caffeine, it is known for not causing the same caffeine crash as your morning double espresso. But how much caffeine is actually in a cup of matcha?
How does it compare to coffee and tea? We will answer all you need to know about matcha, its caffeine content, and whether you should be drinking it.
Table of Contents
How much caffeine does matcha contain?
Matcha contains on average around 70mg of caffeine per 8oz cup.
Matcha is actually a form of Green Tea and so it does contain caffeine. It is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which is typically known for making pure teas— teas that contain caffeine. The tea is made by grinding up young tea leaves which creates a bright green powder.
This is then whisked with water or milk giving it that smooth frothy texture. As you actually drink the leaves down in the form of a ground powder, it contains more caffeine than a cup of normal Green Tea.
We’ll compare the two later. The average of 70mg mentioned above is based on an 8oz cup of matcha made with one teaspoon of matcha powder.
This can vary depending on how strong you like your matcha or who’s making it. While matcha contains caffeine it is said to have a more gradual and long-lasting buzz. So how does the caffeine content actually compare to coffee?
Caffeine in matcha compared to coffee
Coffee typically contains between 80mg to 200mg of caffeine per 8oz cup. This is significantly higher than matcha which contains approx. 70mg.
Depending on how you take your coffee, the caffeine levels can differ significantly. Instant coffees and drip coffees tend to have less caffeine than brewed coffees, cold brews and espressos per oz. The type of bean and roast can also affect caffeine levels. Overall, however, coffee has higher levels of caffeine than matcha.
What does this mean for drinking matcha compared to coffee? People report that while both drinks give you an energy boost, matcha releases energy more slowly.
It contains an amino acid called l-theanine that helps the body absorb caffeine more gradually. But research shows the combination of caffeine and l-theanine increases alertness and cognitive performance. (1)
Therefore, matcha can offer a similar energy boost to coffee but with less of a ‘caffeine crash’.
Caffeine in matcha compared to tea
Black tea tends to contain between 40mg and 70mg per 8oz serving. Tea tends to contain less caffeine than matcha.
A normal cup of black tea does contain caffeine, but usually not as much as matcha. This means if you are looking for more of a boost from your morning beverage, you might consider trying out matcha instead.
Caffeine in matcha compared to normal green tea
Green tea contains between 25mg and 40mg of caffeine per 8oz serving. This is a lower-caffeine option than matcha.
Although matcha is actually made from green tea leaves, the process of making a cup is quite different. A standard green tea involves steeping green tea leaves in hot water, but the leaves themselves are not ingested.
Matcha on the other hand is made from grinding the leaves into a powder, mixing this with water or milk and ingesting the whole lot. This makes the caffeine content significantly more potent. Green tea is, therefore, a much lower-caffeine option than matcha.
Benefits of matcha
If you are considering trying matcha or incorporating it into your daily routine, here are some of the awesome benefits you can expect to experience:
- It doesn’t stain your teeth – unlike coffee matcha will not give your teeth any nasty tint
- It promotes a healthy mouth – studies show that matcha tea can improve oral health and even reduce bad breath (2)
- Stay alert without the crash – amino acids like l-theanine are shown to boost cognitive function and alertness without the crash (3)
- It can enhance your mood – matcha is also found to have positive links to improving mood (4)
- Simple to make – making a cup of matcha is easy too, just mix a teaspoonful with hot water. No convoluted straining loose tea leaves or waiting for the coffee machine
- Antioxidant-rich – matcha contains many antioxidants that are linked to health benefits
Cons of matcha
Are there any downsides to matcha? There are a few negatives which can include:
- More expensive than coffee – matcha can be a little pricier than coffee
- Risk of liver damage – it is possible that consuming EGCG and certain polyphenols contained in matcha in large quantities could cause liver damage although research is lacking in this area
- Contamination – as matcha is made with ground-up leaves, there is a risk of ingesting any contaminants from the leaves
Do you get a caffeine crash from matcha?
Unlike coffee, you are less likely to experience a caffeine crash from matcha. This is because certain amino acids in matcha help the caffeine to be released more slowly. The caffeine will also be more long-lasting and will fade away more gradually too.
How much caffeine is too much?
In general, studies show that ingesting up to 400mg of caffeine per day is healthy. (5) This may equate to two to four cups of coffee per day and three to five cups of matcha. Exceeding this caffeine level can cause side effects such as:
Therefore, if you currently ingest too much caffeine you may want to reduce your intake. If you are a coffee lover, switching over to matcha could help you do this.
So could there be benefits to switching your daily tea or coffee for a matcha? It could be a good choice for you if you want some caffeine in the morning, but not as much as coffee.
Equally, if you are particularly sensitive to caffeine, or suffer from debilitating coffee crashes then matcha could be a great choice for you.
You can also get some great health benefits from adding high-quality matcha to your life. Ultimately though, it all depends on your body and your tastes— if you don’t like the taste, there is nothing wrong with having a coffee.
1), 4) Dietz C, Dekker M, Fiszman BP, An intervention study on the effect of matcha tea, in drink and snack bar formats, on mood and cognitive performance., retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28784536/
2) Nanri H, Yamada Y, Itoi A, Yamagata E, Watanabe Y, Yoshida T, Miyake M, Date H, Consumption of green tea but not coffee is associated with the oral health-related quality of life among an older Japanese population: Kyoto-Kameoka cross-sectional study., retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29789709/
3) Owen GN, Parnell H, Bruin EAD, Rycroft JA, The combined effects of L-theanine and caffeine on cognitive performance and mood., retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18681988/
5) Mayo Clinic Staff, Caffeine: How much is too much?., retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/caffeine/art-20045678