Does Matcha Have Caffeine?

If you’re wondering, “does matcha have caffeine?” the answer is yes. Matcha, a finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea leaves, does have caffeine. A typical serving has a caffeine content that lies between that of black tea and coffee, providing a unique balance of energy and calm. This article uncovers the nuances of matcha’s caffeine levels, its comparison to other caffeinated beverages, and how it can fit into your daily caffeine intake.

Key Takeaways

  • Matcha contains about 25-50 mg of caffeine per gram, varying according to grade with ceremonial grade matcha having more caffeine than culinary grade, and provides energy without the typical caffeine crash due to its unique nutrient profile.
  • The calming amino acid L-theanine in matcha works with caffeine to enhance brain function, reduce stress, and promote a stable, long-lasting alertness rather than the quick spike and crash associated with coffee.
  • Consumption of matcha offers health benefits, including stress reduction, antioxidants for preventing cell damage, and support for weight loss and metabolism, while incorrect myths claim matcha is caffeine-free or causes jitters.

Matcha, a powdered green tea, naturally contains about 20-50 mg of caffeine per gram, which is more than most teas but less than coffee. This is because, unlike typical green teas where leaves are infused and then removed, with matcha, you’re consuming the entire leaf. This unique method of consumption contributes to its higher caffeine content.

However, it’s worth mentioning that not all caffeine is viewed as harmful. In fact, when intake is monitored, matcha can be a beneficial source of caffeine, providing a perfect energy boost without the drawbacks usually associated with caffeine-rich drinks.

The Making of Matcha

The preparation of matcha, a process dating back to the 15th or 16th century in Japan, is quite intriguing. It begins with shading the tea plants to increase chlorophyll production, enhancing the tea’s bright green color. This process also results in the production of softer, more delicate leaves, which contribute to matcha’s unique properties.

After the shading process, the green tea leaves (particularly the younger ones that are high in caffeine) are meticulously processed in the following steps:

  1. Destemming: The stems of the tea leaves are removed.
  2. Deveining: The veins of the tea leaves are removed.
  3. Grinding: The destemmed and deveined tea leaves are ground into a fine powder.

This careful process ensures that the entire leaf is used, preserving its nutritional density, including its caffeine content.

Caffeine Content in Different Grades of Matcha

The caffeine content in matcha can vary depending on the grade. Ceremonial grade matcha, for instance, typically contains around 34 milligrams of caffeine per gram. On the other hand, culinary grade matcha, preferred for flavoring foods and beverages, contains about 28 milligrams of caffeine per gram.

Overall, the caffeine content in matcha can range from 25 to 75 milligrams per 6 ounces depending on the grade of matcha used, with culinary grade generally containing less caffeine than ceremonial grade. This vividly highlights matcha’s adaptability and its capacity to accommodate various caffeine preferences.

How Much Caffeine is Safe to Consume?

Moderation is paramount when it comes to caffeine. Health experts suggest that most adults can safely consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day without adverse effects. That’s roughly the amount in four to five cups of coffee.

However, this recommended intake can vary depending on individual circumstances. For instance, pregnant women are advised to limit caffeine intake to less than 200 milligrams per day to reduce the risk of miscarriage or low birth weight. Although these caffeine suggestions would allow for consumption of approximately 7-10 cups of matcha, we have outlined how much matcha you can drink per day, and recommend up to 2 cups.

Factors Influencing Caffeine Sensitivity

Caffeine sensitivity varies among individuals due to several factors. Genetic factors, for example, can play a significant role. Some people are genetically predisposed to be slow caffeine metabolizers. Age also influences caffeine sensitivity, with recommendations stating that children should avoid caffeine and teenagers should limit their intake to no more than 100 milligrams per day.

Regular caffeine consumption leads to the development of tolerance, necessitating higher amounts over time to achieve the same effects. Furthermore, lifestyle factors like smoking and stress, and environmental influences like diet can also exacerbate or mitigate the effects of 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. 

Common Matcha Myths Debunked

Let’s address some prevalent misconceptions about the caffeine content in matcha and its effects. Despite being the most consumed psychoactive stimulant in the world, present in over 60 plants including cocoa beans and tea, caffeine often gets a bad rap.

However, it’s time to debunk some myths surrounding matcha and its caffeine content. Understanding these misconceptions will help you navigate the sea of information and truly appreciate the unique blend that matcha has to offer.