Have you recently seen your favorite influencer share a picture of a fabulous matcha tea latte? Have you seen all the matcha tea-flavored goodies pop up at your local grocery store? Well, you’re not alone because matcha tea is the new kid on the tea block that everyone is talking about. However, what really is matcha tea? And what is the difference between matcha tea and green tea?
What is green tea?
Green tea is made of leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant. These plants are only found in regions of China and India.
There is actually a tea plantation in the United States! It’s located just outside of Charleston, South Carolina.
The green tea leaves are harvested and then dried to preserve all the antioxidants that make up this healthy herb.
Green tea has numerous scientifically proven health benefits, including but not limited to improved blood flow and reduced cholesterol. Green tea is thus a remedy for a wide range of heart problems, such as high blood pressure and heart congestion. The most common way of consuming green tea is by boiling water and then steeping a green tea bag that contains crushed green tea leaves for 5-10 minutes.
What is matcha tea?
Matcha tea is basically derived from the most premium green tea leaves. These leaves are processed for maximum chlorophyll content by keeping them in the shade for at least two weeks before harvesting them. Once the harvest is done, the tea leaves are de-stemmed and deveined. The leftover leaf portions are then ground up using stones such as granite to ensure a concentrated powdered tea. Matcha tea has all the concentrated benefits of green tea as it comes from the same plant but is just harvested differently. Because of the powdery nature of matcha, it can be mixed into any hot liquids like water or milk and can even be used in cooking desserts such as matcha chocolate cookies!
What are some differences between matcha and green tea?
Green tea is typically found in the form of whole or crushed leaves that are still gritty, whereas matcha tea is found in a refined powder form.
The course leafy texture of green tea does not lend itself well to sophisticated drinks, nor desserts, like matcha tea does. The ultra fine matcha tea powder is better for use in premium tea mixes (like the ones we all see on social media) because it meshes well with everything. Regular green tea, however, is best served as leaves steeped in hot water without any extra frills.
Taste-wise, matcha tea is creamier and sweeter than green tea despite being made with the same original plant. There is extra processing that goes into ensuring matcha tea is as concentrated as possible. This is a likely explanation for this taste difference. The creaminess of matcha also lends itself better to drinks like matcha lattes. Coffee lovers tend to appreciate matcha tea lattes or green tea lattes because of the creaminess. It’s a good alternative to a cappuccino or flat white when you want a break from coffee (said nobody ever).
Regular green tea is much less potent than matcha tea. This is because you simply steep green tea leaves in hot water and then discard them.
In matcha tea, leaves are ground up allowing you to ingest a hundred percent of the goodness from the leaves. The higher potency of matcha tea also means that you don’t need as much powder for a cup of tea as you do leaves for green tea.
On average, matcha tea is more expensive than green tea, whether you buy it for your home or buy it at a café. The reason for this price difference is the inherently different way of treating the green tea plant. The green tea plants reserved for matcha tea are kept in shaded areas. They are also processed much more carefully than they would be for regular green tea. This added step of providing shade and fine-crushing the leaves into powdered form increases processing costs that are then visible to customers as higher prices.
Both green tea and matcha tea are incredible for your health. Matcha tea is just green tea that was given special treatment. It’s much more concentrated in all of its benefits.
At the end of the day, the “winner” in the matcha tea vs green tea battle would be matcha tea, based on it having the most health benefits possible. However, either one of these would be an excellent addition to your tea routine. Let your taste buds guide the way so you consume whichever one pleases you the most!