Matcha is oftentimes a go-to alternative for coffee. But why? Matcha contains both caffeine and l-theanine, which provide a boost in energy – without jitters or a midday crash. In the end, you're left feeling a sense of calm and focus.
What is caffeine?
Caffeine is found in more than 60 species of plants across the globe, from the seeds of coffee beans to the leaves and buds of tea. It's a central nervous system stimulant and used as a cognitive enhancer – increasing alertness and attentional performance.
What is l-theanine?
L-theanine is a naturally occurring amino acid found in green tea that promotes relaxation by reducing stress and anxiety levels. Although it's not a sedative and does not cause drowsiness, it can help improve sleep quality due to your body experiencing a more relaxed state after consumption.
Caffeine + L-theanine = a Zenergizing Duo
When you drink matcha, caffeine and l-theanine come together so you feel mental alertness without any jitters and longer mental focus without the crash. Regular tea leaves don't have enough l-theanine because they don't go through shaded growth during the last three weeks before harvest.
Encha's organic ceremonial grade matcha plants are shaded for about three weeks before harvest, thus the plants contain more l-theanine and caffeine.
How do the caffeine levels compare?
Compared to an average cup of coffee, matcha does have less caffeine, but just enough to give you the energy boost you need. Doctors recommend a ratio of 3mg caffeine per kilogram body weight. (i.e. ~200mg for a 70kg (154 lbs) person)
One thing to note is the change in caffeine levels depending on when the matcha was harvested. Encha's second-harvest Culinary Grade matcha has lower levels of both caffeine and l-theanine due to strong sun exposure, versus Ceremonial Grade and Latte Grade from the first harvest.
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Is the caffeine in matcha different from the caffeine in coffee or other teas?
Yes, the caffeine in matcha is unique. While it's the same compound as in coffee and other teas, matcha caffeine interacts differently with other compounds in the tea, such as L-theanine. This interaction results in a slower release of caffeine, providing a more sustained and mellow energy boost compared to the rapid spike and crash often associated with coffee.
Can I drink matcha if I'm sensitive to caffeine?
Matcha contains caffeine, albeit at lower levels than coffee. If you're caffeine-sensitive, you may still enjoy matcha by choosing ceremonial grade, which typically has less caffeine than culinary grade. Additionally, you can adjust your serving size or opt for decaffeinated matcha options available in the market to minimize caffeine intake while savoring the flavor and health benefits of matcha.