If you?ve scrolled through Instagram, read any popular health articles, or watched any health and fitness YouTube gurus recently, you?ve probably seen a lot of matcha tea. It?s a trending superfood for not just drinking but also as an ingredient in baked goods, breakfasts, and more! You may have even heard the claim that matcha is the ultimate coffee replacement.
It?s not just your feed ? matcha has recently been receiving a lot of good press because of its amazing health benefits, versatility, and its ability to do everything coffee can and more. It?s green color and unique taste also help it to stand out from the crowd, especially in beautiful pictures of matcha lattes and matcha ice cream (yum!).
With all this talk and news, you may be curious to separate fact from fiction. Whether you haven?t tried matcha before or have started your own matcha fan club, the question we all want answered is: what is the difference between matcha and coffee anyway? And, is one really better than the other?
Coffee, with its hot, comforting, and bitterly-caffeinated taste, has been a classic pick-me-up for decades, but can it retain its crown as king of morning beverages with matcha tea gaining popularity fast?
While we still enjoy a cup of coffee every once in a while, we think that coffee can?t beat the benefits of drinking matcha!
If you?re curious to learn more, read on!
What the Stuff Is Made Of ??Okay, before we get too in depth in our comparison of matcha vs coffee, let?s get a sense of the bigger picture by talking about the material differences between the two hot drinks.
Coffee, as we know it in our morning cup of joe or a shot of espresso in our lattes, has its origins in the coffea plant. Coffee beans are actually the fruit of the coffea plant, called coffee cherries, which are processed and roasted according to our tastes and preferences.
Coffee is famous for its warm and bitter flavor, it?s smooth texture, and its caffeine content. Lighter coffee roasts have a milder taste and are more caffeinated while darker roasts are stronger and more bitter but have less caffeine. There are a lot of different ways to drink your coffee, as you know if you?ve ever studied a coffee shop drink menu. Some use brewed coffee while others use espresso, a highly-concentrated form of coffee. Combine these with extra flavors, syrups, and seasonings and you?ll see why coffee has so many fans ? there seems to be a flavor to suit every taste.
Matcha, on the other hand, is made from green tea leaves from the plant Camellia sinensis tea plant. What makes matcha tea different from other types is tea is its processing. Most teas are made from parts of the tea leaf, but matcha tea is created from the whole tea leaf, ground to a powder.
Matcha Tea Leaves
Its taste is as strong as a bold cup of coffee, but instead of a rich bitterness, matcha has a strong botanical flavor that has its own refreshing taste, similar to that of green tea. Matcha can sometimes be bit grainy depending on how it?s prepared, thanks to its fine powdery texture, but quality matcha tea powder and a little extra time frothing your tea can help prevent that. One great quality of matcha is its versatility. Its powdery texture helps it incorporate seamlessly into a variety of recipes, from caffeinated hot drinks to popcorn seasoning!
Preparing a Cup ?When someone first hears about the prep for making a simple cup of matcha, they may be intimidated, especially if they?re used to simply boiling water and dropping a tea bag into their mug to make their tea.
However, preparing your morning matcha is actually much quicker than making your cup of coffee!
To make the perfect cup (or, more properly, bowl) of matcha, here?s what you need to do:
First, scoop 1.5 teaspoons of matcha tea powder into your cup. Then pour about 2 ounces of water that?s just below boiling to your cup and then stir or whisk the mixture until the tea is frothy. That?s it! You don?t even have to have one of those fancy bamboo whisks you see on Instagram if you don?t want to. An ordinary kitchen whisk will do ? or even a tea spoon in a pinch!
Prepare a matcha
When you?re talking about coffee, it?s a different story. First, you should grind your coffee beans or buy pre-ground coffee beans. Then, you have some options. You can use a coffee maker machine and add the right mix of coffee grounds and water to the top, then wait 7?10 minutes for the machine to do its work. Or, if you have a French press, add your coffee grounds, then heat up and pour almost-boiling water into the press. Then, let stand for about 5 minutes to steep before carefully pressing the plunger into the mix.
Whatever your thoughts on the taste between these two caffeinated drinks, you have to admit that coffee takes much more time and effort to make!
Comparing Health Benefits ?While we may be a bit biased in favor of matcha, we have to give coffee its due. Recent research is showing that coffee isn?t as bad as we once thought. In moderate amounts, coffee consumption may be connected with a decreased risk of heart disease and may be a good preventive against cancer and other diseases. Drinking a cup of coffee may also help prevent cognitive decline.
However, matcha has many more health benefits! While coffee does have a share of beneficial minerals and nutrients, it can?t stand up to the mix of antioxidants, minerals, and amino acids that matcha has. These powerful nutrients help to prevent disease, cancer, free radicals, and other ailments. It has anti-aging properties and may even restore your DNA.
Matcha Latte VS Coffee Latte
Matcha also has balanced pH levels, making it a great help for your digestion, unlike coffee. It contains catechins, which will help you fight against bad breath and teeth staining (both of which are a problem for regular coffee drinkers!). It also has a great effect on your skin health. Matcha may also help you lose weight, lower your blood pressure, and many other benefits!
Plus, its calming effects can help improve your emotional and mental state, decreasing the risk of panic, stress, nervousness, and even helping mitigate the symptoms of depression and anxiety. It can lend a focusing and relaxing effect, giving you increase mental clarity as well.
Let?s Talk About Caffeine ?Okay, okay. We?ve been talking long enough without mentioning what is one of the biggest deciding factors for many in making the switch from coffee to matcha: caffeine.
As many of you know, coffee has a high caffeine content. While the caffeine can be helpful, especially if you?re feeling lethargic, tired, or need a quick energy burst, the caffeine in coffee can also have some not-so-great effects.
A cup of coffee has about 120 milligrams of caffeine ? which is a lot! ? but that caffeine is quickly spread through your body, giving you a short burst of renewed energy, but with the risk of consequences later. Common side effects of too much coffee consumption are jitteriness, nervousness, racing heart, headaches, and insomnia.
If you drink coffee regularly, you?ll start to depend on your caffeine surge every morning. If you skip your regular ?dose,? you may feel the effects in the form of withdrawal headaches and sluggishness.
Matcha also has caffeine, but it?s very different from coffee. Here?s the scoop?
Matcha has about 50% less caffeine than coffee. However, unlike coffee, matcha also contains certain phytonutrients, like our friend L-theanine, that helps your body absorb the caffeine in your matcha tea latte slowly. That means that, instead of the huge caffeine spike you get from drinking coffee, matcha allows you to benefit from the caffeine?s awakening effects for much longer. This also solves the problem of jitteriness. The effect of matcha?s caffeine hit has been described by many as calming. And that?s a great way to start your day!
So, have we convinced you to switch from coffee to matcha? The calming alertness you?ll get from matcha may be a better way to start your day than the spike of caffeine provided by coffee.
Even if you?re still partial to your afternoon latte, we hope we?ve armed you with the motivation you need to start incorporating matcha as a healthy part of your diet!