Love coffee, but hate the jitters?
Enjoy studying at cafes?
If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, then matcha might be your perfect match. If you’re already a matcha expert and don’t need any convincing, skip to my ranking of my favorite matcha beverages.
Up to 30% of dry green tea is made up of antioxidants such as polyphenols, which have physiological effects comparable to those of vitamin E, vitamin C, and carotene. These compounds are excellent for the immune system, skin, mucous membranes, and vision . Matcha does all that, and more; it is the highest quality form of green tea, with more health benefits than its many relatives.
Matcha is the powdered form of a unique Japanese green tea known as Camellia sinensis. Bushes of Camellia sinensis tea leaves are grown in the shade. In addition to elevated levels of the antioxidants mentioned above, this cultivation method gives matcha powder a higher content of amino acids, chlorophyll, and theanine. Along with some additional health benefits, these compounds are responsible for matcha powder’s vibrant color and notably non-bitter flavor .
The concentrations of these active substances can vary depending on the type of green tea, the number of tea leaves in your serving, the time of year it was harvested, the brewing temperature, and the brewing time. A study done in 2015 found that steeping green teas at cold temperatures for two hours yielded the most antioxidants . A study done in 2020 discovered that for matcha specifically, the highest antioxidant concentration occurred in infusions prepared at 90 °C or 194 °F . So, you might want to drink your green teas iced, and your matcha in latte form. Matcha with hot water doesn’t taste as good.
Matcha has 50% less caffeine than coffee, but it will still help you wake up and maintain alertness. The theanine content, in particular, allows for a more calming “buzz” compared to that of coffee.
Let’s dive deeper into the scientifically demonstrated benefits of matcha. Of particular interest to students, it can improve cognitive function, attention, and stress reduction. A study done among elderly women in Japan found that daily supplementation of Matcha Green Tea Powder was protective against cognitive decline . Other studies also completed in Japan found that matcha improves attention and executive function in both middle-aged and young adults [1, 2]. Animal and clinical trials demonstrated that, when compared to a placebo, it reduced anxiety response to stressors . In young adults, two grams of matcha per day (equivalent to a small matcha latte) for two weeks was enough to result in anxiety reduction .
Many studies on matcha have demonstrated a benefit for those with the goal of body fat reduction, which is an area of research that is always stirring significant financial interests. One paper concluded that three grams of matcha green tea daily for three weeks affected exercise-induced metabolic responses by enhancing fat oxidation in adult females, independent of body composition . While I am not suggesting that you replace coffee with matcha, there are clear benefits to reap from incorporating this precious green powder into your daily caffeine ritual. Here are my top picks:
All cafes listed are in Tampa, FL.
- Caffeine Roasters Cafe
- Matcha Love Energy by Ito En
- Daily Matcha
- Grassroots Cafe
- Buddy Brew Cafe
- Blind Tiger Cafe (too bitter for me)
Flavored/Only Available Pre-Sweetened:
- Oxford Exchange vanilla flavor (tastes like birthday cake)
- Oxford Exchange honey lavender flavor
- Starbucks Cafe
- Victory Coffee Cafe (too sweet for me)
For the Matcha Meek – Best green teas
- Buddy Brew Cafe
- Oi Ocha by Ito En
- Victory Coffee Cafe
1. Baba Y, Inagaki S, Nakagawa S, Kobayashi M, Kaneko T, Takihara T. Effects of Daily Matcha and Caffeine Intake on Mild Acute Psychological Stress-Related Cognitive Function in Middle-Aged and Older Adults: A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Study. Nutrients. 2021 May 17;13(5):1700. doi: 10.3390/nu13051700. PMID: 34067795; PMCID: PMC8156288.
2. Baba Y, Kaneko T, Takihara T. Matcha consumption maintains attentional function following a mild acute psychological stress without affecting a feeling of fatigue: A randomized placebo-controlled study in young adults. Nutr Res. 2021 Apr;88:44-52. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2020.12.024. Epub 2021 Jan 2. PMID: 33744591.
3. Hajiaghaalipour, F., Sanusi, J. and Kanthimathi, M.S. (2016), Temperature and Time of Steeping Affect the Antioxidant Properties of White, Green, and Black Tea Infusions. Journal of Food Science, 81: H246-H254. https://doi.org/10.1111/1750-3841.13149
4. Jakubczyk K, Kochman J, Kwiatkowska A, Kałduńska J, Dec K, Kawczuga D, Janda K. Antioxidant Properties and Nutritional Composition of Matcha Green Tea. Foods. 2020 Apr 12;9(4):483. doi: 10.3390/foods9040483. PMID: 32290537; PMCID: PMC7231151.
5. Kochman J, Jakubczyk K, Antoniewicz J, Mruk H, Janda K. Health Benefits and Chemical Composition of Matcha Green Tea: A Review. Molecules. 2020;26(1):85. Published 2020 Dec 27. doi:10.3390/molecules26010085
6. Sakurai K, Shen C, Ezaki Y, Inamura N, Fukushima Y, Masuoka N, Hisatsune T. Effects of Matcha Green Tea Powder on Cognitive Functions of Community-Dwelling Elderly Individuals. Nutrients. 2020 Nov 26;12(12):3639. doi: 10.3390/nu12123639. PMID: 33256220; PMCID: PMC7760932.
7. Unno K, Furushima D, Hamamoto S, Iguchi K, Yamada H, Morita A, Horie H, Nakamura Y. Stress-Reducing Function of Matcha Green Tea in Animal Experiments and Clinical Trials. Nutrients. 2018 Oct 10;10(10):1468. doi: 10.3390/nu10101468. PMID: 30308973; PMCID: PMC6213777.
8. Willems MET, Fry HL, Belding MA, Kaviani M. Three Weeks Daily Intake of Matcha Green Tea Powder Affects Substrate Oxidation during Moderate-Intensity Exercise in Females. J Diet Suppl. 2021;18(5):566-576. doi: 10.1080/19390211.2020.1811443. Epub 2020 Sep 2. PMID: 32875933.