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Wondering How Much Caffeine Is In Matcha? It's Time To Find Out! - Tea J Tea

Wondering How Much Caffeine Is In Matcha? It's Time To Find Out!

Sep 13, 2022

Johnathan Milton

Experts say that a simple bowl of Matcha tea is 137 times more powerful than a regular brewed tea! (Read more)

Have you ever tasted this elegantly popular Matcha Tea? If yes, did you know
how much caffeine is in Matcha tea that you are siping? Well, rest assured, this article will help you understand all you need to know about Matcha, including the awesome facts on caffeine levels of the Matcha tea.

This popular Japanese tea has a very long history, but the tea only gained its fame in recent years. Today, many treat Matcha as an ingredient rather than a tea, such as in shots, lattes, ice cream and cakes. Matcha-flavored items are appearing everywhere, from health stores to coffee shops. Due to its multipurpose uses in many consumer products, it is important to understand how much Caffeine in Matcha there is, especially for those  caffeine-sensitive tea lovers. “Matcha” comes with many associated health benefits; therefore, it is always trending on the most popular beverage list. Adding Matcha powder directly into the hot water may increase its concentration of antioxidants and increase the health factors in consuming this beverage. Furthermore, the brewing style of Matcha is really unique, which makes it stand out from the rest of the teas.

As caffeine content in relation to health is one of the main topics in today’s beverage discussions, let’s discover how much Caffeine in Matcha tea there is together, but first we’ll explain what Matcha is.  

What Is Matcha? 

Matcha is a type of green tea made by grinding the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant into a powder form. Like many other teas, the origin of Matcha goes back to the Tang Dynasty in China. However, the first recorded Matcha tea farms began in the Uji region of Japan. Therefore the Uji region is popular today as the birthplace of Matcha.

In Japan though, Matcha green tea is grown under different conditions and has a unique taste, along with nutrients compared to other green teas. Matcha tea has high chlorophyll content, high amino acid content, and a greater amount of caffeine.  The Matcha farmers follow a few special steps before harvesting the tea leaves for Matcha production. In these special steps, the farmers cover their plants to avoid direct sunlight for approximately 20-30 days before harvesting. By doing this, the tea leaves become a darker green hue and generate more polyphenols (caffeine compounds), which give it a unique taste. Usually, the stems and veins will be removed from the harvested leaves, and only the leaves will be ground into powdered Matcha to produce ceremonial grade Matcha. In contrast, lower-grade Matcha comes without this sorting process and includes the ground stems and veins for the Camellia Sinensis plant.

Similar to the tea itself, matcha preparation is also an art form. The process is unique and often ceremonial. Here's how to learn matcha preparation. 

What is Caffeine & How Much Caffeine is in Matcha? 

Caffeine is a stimulating substance that is naturally found in tea, coffee, and chocolates. Different teas contain different caffeine levels. When learning about the caffeine content of matcha, you must also have an understanding of the caffeine levels in green tea in general.

Consuming caffeine may trigger activity in the central nervous system and it will lead you to feel energized and alert.  Even though there is no formal research recommendation for daily caffeine intake, experts advise that adults should not exceed the limit of 400mg of caffeine per day as overconsumption of any substance will harm our health.  

So how much caffeine is in Matcha tea? 

When we answer the question of how much caffeine is in Matcha tea, many facts need to be looked at. Compared to green tea and black tea, Matcha has more caffeine. There are two main reasons for this. First, the highest grade Matcha tea is grown under shade for a period which causes the plant to produce more polyphenols that increases the caffeine content within the tea leaves. The second reason is that Matcha is the ground version of the tea leaf. Consuming the tea in this form allows for the consumption of the entire essence of the leaf as opposed to just steeping the tea leaves. In the steeped version, we are only drinking what the hot water can extract from the leaf during the steeping period.  

Factors affecting the amount of caffeine in Matcha tea 

Unlike regular teas, Matcha tea is grown and produced using very special planting techniques. This special process can determine the amount of Caffeine that you get from a cup of Matcha tea. However, similar to all the other teas, the brewing style is also important to determine the Caffeine content in your bowl of Matcha tea. 

The Caffeine content in Matcha directly depend on; 

  • Type of leaves (Shaded, non-shaded, or stems)
  • How much powder you use to make the tea 
  • Brewing time of tea 

 Generally, the amount of Caffeine contained in one gram of Matcha is 19-44 mg.  

How Matcha Is Made? 

The Matcha tea production process follows a few main steps, as below:

Grown under shade: Here the tea farmers cover the tea leaves with bamboo mats or rice straws about two to six weeks before the harvesting. This is to protect them from exposure to direct sunlight. 

  • Hand-picked: The first harvesting season is around mid-April to mid-May of the year. This first harvest of the season is superior in quality compared to the second harvest.
  • Steamed and Air dried: The harvested tea leaves then go through a 20 seconds steaming process. This step prevents the oxidation process while protecting the amino acids and all other nutrients to preserve the green color. (Read more on tea oxidation). After this step, tea producers use air currents to avoid moisture condensation and promote drying. The dried tea leaves then have to go through a crushing step for easy sorting. The outcome after the drying is called Tencha, and this is the raw material for Matcha powder. 
  • De-stemmed and sorted: To ensure the finest quality of Matcha powder, Tencha leaves go through a step called de-stemming. After the de-stemming, tea makers sort these leaves based on their color, texture, and aroma. 
  • Grounded into Matcha: Finally, the Tencha leaves will go through a grinding phase on a stone mill to achieve a smooth powdery texture of the Matcha tea. During the early years of Matcha making, this step was achieved through manually operated grinding stones. Today, tea manufacturers use automated stone mills to grind Tencha to produce ultra-fine Matcha powder.

The process of Matcha tea production above is an old method and very labor intensive. It is currently still being used today though to produce the highest quality & authentic Japanese Matcha tea. Now, it is time to learn this process in detail.

STEP 1: GROWN UNDER THE SHADE 

The typical journey of tea plants begins in October. During this time, the plant goes into hibernation with the arrival of the cold weather. The hibernation will last through February, and that time allows the plants to accumulate nutrients from the soil. With the arrival of the spring, tiny tea buds will grow as tea leaves, making the first generation of leaves. By April, farmers cover the tea bushes with reed screens, allowing about 70% of sun rays to pass through them. This special step will result in less photosynthesis and fewer catechins (bitterness compounds). The tea leaves gain more umami character with a hint of sweetness after this process while reducing the inherent bitterness. 

Nearly two weeks later, farmers add another layer of straw on top of the reed screens, and then only 10% of sunlight will reach the leaves. The harvesting of tea leaves to make Matcha will start at the beginning of May.

STEP 2: HAND PICKING OF TEA LEAVES 

Harvesting of tea leaves to make Matcha tea typically occurs from mid-April to mid-May. The youngest and greenest tea leaves have the ideal flavor attributes for Matcha, compared to the second harvest. Macha production depends solely on hand harvesting to ensure minimal damage to tea leaves. Handpicking ensures the best quality in the final product. After the harvesting, all the tea leaves go through the process of sorting and weighing to select the most suitable quality leaves to continue the process. 

STEP 3: STEAMING 

After harvesting and sorting, the tea leaves immediately undergo a steaming process that lasts roughly 20 seconds. The steaming process will deactivate the oxygen in the tea and stop the oxidation process. This step will preserve the green color and freshness of the tea. Moisture control is very important in processing Matcha to keep the leaves from burning at the next step. 

STEP 4: DRYING  

The traditional method of drying includes placing the leaves on a drying rack with sufficient airflow. At this stage, all the leaves are de-veined and de-stemmed, then sorted once again according to the leaf's color, texture, and aroma. These dried Tencha tea leaves need cold conditions for storage as they wait before the next step.

STEP 5: GRINDING OR MILLING 

Grinding or Milling is the process where Tencha gets turned into Matcha. A stone mill is essential to complete this grinding because it does not heat up like metal grinders. Otherwise, the heat could affect the delicate flavor compounds in the tea. On the other hand, since the stone mill is very heavy, it leads to a shorter processing time, which produces better Matcha.

Benefits of Matcha Tea 

Matcha is popular as a healthy beverage all over the world. Green tea has lots of health benefits compared to black tea, and Matcha tea has even more health benefits than other green teas. Because it is not an infusion of tea leaves like all the other tea types since it consists of stone grounded tea leaves. Matcha is a good source of antioxidants, vitamins, amino acids, and minerals.

IMPROVE CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH 

Matcha tea comes with loads of micronutrients such as  epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), and these could improve your overall heart health. (Read more

RICH IN ANTIOXIDANTS 

Antioxidants are the body’s defense agents that protect the cells against the effect of harmful free radicals. Free radicals are the major cause of diseases like heart diseases and cancers. Matcha tea is considered an antioxidant powerhouse. EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) is the major antioxidant found in Matcha green tea, which has the most prominent cancer-fighting properties. Research shows that the EGCG antioxidant level in Matcha tea is 137 times higher than the China green tea and three times higher than the other green tea types.

CANCER-FIGHTING EFFECTS 

Most of the Matcha health benefits have links with the compound group known as catechins. Catechins directly modulate the functions of the immune system while promoting anti-cancer activity. The main functions of EGCG include: protecting cells from DNA damage, activating detoxification enzymes to inhibit tumor growth, and promoting cancer cell destruction. Drinking Matcha will suppress the mitochondrial metabolism, which prevents the re-fueling of the damaged cells and makes them die eventually.

WEIGHT LOSS 

Matcha is a good beverage to boost metabolism and burn calories. As Matcha does not put any pressure on the body, it will never cause blood pressure or heart rate to rise, unlike coffee. Studies show that Matcha green tea can increase the body’s rate of calorie burning from 8-10% up to 35 – 43% level.

GLOWING SKIN

The oldest people in Japan say that the secret to a long life is in drinking Matcha tea. The antioxidants of Matcha fight the aging process, leaving beautifully glowing skin.

That's all About Matcha &  How Much Caffeine is in Matcha!

Matcha is a well-known type of green tea, and it has so many health benefits, including caffeine benefits. Good quality Matcha tea has a sweet and smooth taste profile with a vegetal aroma. Matcha can have many recipes based on individual preferences, such as with added milk, sugar, or sweetener. How much caffeine is in Matcha was a topic that researchers have been exploring for decades. As of today, it has been discovered that the consumption of Matcha will not harm your body even with the high caffeine level. However, if you are pregnant or generally sensitive to caffeine, you must think of limiting your intake of Matcha tea. With that we do hope you keep enjoying your bowl of Matcha and stay healthy!

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