Both Matcha and regular green tea come from green tea leaves. But that’s about the only thing the two have in common as they differ by color, texture, flavor, where the tea leaves are grown, preparation, nutritional profiles, and health benefits.
Matcha is a vibrant green color, while regular green tea tends to look duller, usually a little brownish. Matcha gets its vibrant green color from its high amount of chlorophyll.
If you’re into coarse, gritty tea, then standard green tea is your texture match. Matcha on the other hand is a fine powder that’s smooth to the touch. It has a similar consistency to talcum powder.
How a tea tastes is important. It’s usually the deciding factor to whether you buy it or not. In the comparison of standard green tea and matcha, both green teas tend to have a bit of a grassy undertone. Some are also a tad bitter, but the lower your brewing temperature is, the less bitter regular green tea should taste.
Matcha has two main grades: ceremonial and culinary. The first has a naturally sweet flavor and very pure taste. Many who’ve tried it say it has the perfect balance of earthiness, bitterness, and sweetness. That’s why its only purpose is drinking. Culinary grade Matcha, though, has a slightly bitter taste, and its astringent flavor is why it’s the grade meant to be mixed with other ingredients to make various food and drink recipes.
Where the Leaves are Grown
While regular green tea and matcha green tea go through the same process to get the leaves to make the tea, it’s where the tea leaves are grown that make the difference. Regular green tea leaves are grown under total sunshine, while matcha tea leaves are grown under shaded to produce extra L-Theanine and increase the leaves’ chlorophyll content.
Standard green tea is prepared by steeping parts of the leaf in hot water, and it’s typically boiled to a high temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Matcha green tea, when prepared the traditional Japanese way, is whisked with a bamboo whisk in hot water until it dissolves into a frothy tea. You steep and discard the tea leaves with standard green tea, but with Matcha you consume the whole leaf because it’s been dried and ground into powder. Standard green tea is made in a teapot and poured out in individual cups to guests, while traditionally, Matcha green tea is served in a large tea bowl for all to drink from.
And because of its powdered form, matcha green tea is also commonly used in cooking and baking as well as in other drinks, like lattes and smoothies.
Nutrition & Health Benefits
Many claim both standard and Matcha green teas are superfoods. But when you dig deeper into their nutritional profiles, Matcha stands supreme as the green drink that’s better for you.
Regular green tea is steeped and most of the nutrients are left in the tea leaf you don’t ingest, but since Matcha is a powdered green tea, you reap all of this tea leaf’s nutrients. The clear nutritional difference is in the antioxidant count. Matcha is rich in antioxidants—like 137 times richer than regular green tea—and also has more amino acids, like L-Theanine, fiber and caffeine. It’s also a good source of Vitamin C, zinc and magnesium.
Some of the health benefits of Matcha include boosting metabolism and energy, improving mood and memory, lowering cholesterol, detoxing your body of harmful toxins and keeping your skin healthy. It’s not just a tasty drink or food mix-in; it’s also used to make refreshing, revitalizing face masks.