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Nutrition

Matcha vs. Coffee: Which Should You Choose?

Sometimes, an energy-boosting beverage like matcha or coffee is just the ticket to help you get through the day or summon the energy necessary to study for a big test throughout the night. But although both matcha and coffee can give you extra energy, they also have some important differences to keep in mind. Not sure which to choose? Let’s take a look at matcha versus coffee and break down the benefits, how they operate in your body, and which you should drink more often than not.

What Is Matcha?

Matcha is a stone ground powder made from the harvested leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant: a native Chinese plant that’s also the source of traditional green tea. Before it is harvested, matcha tea leaves are protected from sunlight for several weeks, which darkens them and which makes them produce extra amino acids. Matcha two leaves are then harvested, their veins and stems are removed, and the leaves are ground using stones into a very fine, bright green powder. When ingested, matcha powder can induce several healthy physiological benefits, especially since you absorb all of the contents of the matcha leaves rather than just part of the leaves’ nutritional contents!

What Is Coffee?

Coffee, on the other hand, is made from berries harvested from the Coffea plants. Coffee trees toruned in order to save energy. As they grow, they become covered with very green and waxy leaves alongside coffee cherries, which grow along the branches. After being harvested, coffee beans are extracted from the cherries, then dried and prepared for consumption. Depending on the coffee being made, coffee beans might be roasted, darkened, or left to age in certain containers.

Regardless, coffee beans are then ground up and mixed with hot water in some form or fashion. You can consume coffee as drip coffee or as espresso, which may be consumed by itself or may be added to milk to form a wide variety of beverages, like lattes, cappuccinos, and more. As you can see, both matcha and coffee are ground substances that are added to hot water or other liquid mediums. But that’s where the similarities end (aside from their caffeine, of course!).

What Are the Benefits of Matcha?

There are many health benefits of matcha to consider before sipping on a cup of matcha tea or a matcha latte!

Energy Boosts

Firstly, a morning cup of matcha can (and usually does) provide you with significant energy boosts. Just a single cup of matcha tea or a single matcha latte has about 70 mg of caffeine: about double that of a comparable cup of green tea.

Simply put, matcha could be just the ticket if you want to enjoy an energy boost in the afternoon.

Cellular Protection

Matcha is also packed with powerful antioxidants, polyphenols, and phytonutrients from green tea leaves. Antioxidants are important compounds that can counteract free radicals throughout your body, thus protecting cells and important tissues from damage. Matcha is quite high in antioxidants like catechin (plus amino acids like L-theanine) compared to other compounds. According to some studies, matcha contains more than 10 times as many antioxidants compared to regular green tea. There might be no beverage better for reducing inflammation than matcha overall.

Cognitive Enhancements

Thanks to the caffeine-related energy boost matcha provides, you may also find that it’s easier to concentrate during tests or that your recall is better than before you sip on the matcha-packed beverage.

Weight Management Support

That’s not all. Matcha may even help you with weight loss in certain circumstances. Some studies indicate that consuming green tea or matcha may help you burn more total calories by supporting your metabolism. This isn’t to say that matcha can help you lose weight by itself – you still need to eat healthily and exercise frequently.

What Are the Benefits of Coffee?

Brewed coffee, just like matcha, is enjoyed not just for its flavor but also for its potential health benefits.

More Energy

For one, coffee can boost your energy levels thanks to its caffeine levels, just like matcha. In fact, most people drink coffee specifically for its caffeine content. A single cup of coffee contains just as much, if not more, caffeine as a matcha tea latte or a cup of matcha tea. Some types of coffee even have a higher amount of caffeine than the most concentrated matcha powder or green tea powder.

Support for Brain Health

Coffee could also help support brain health. Certain studies suggest caffeine consumption may provide support for your cognitive function and brain health. Moderate coffee consumption is associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline, and enjoying a cup of coffee once in a while could be very beneficial for your long-term mental wellness!

Support for Weight Management

Just like matcha, coffee can also assist with weight management, provided you follow a good diet and exercise every day. That’s because coffee can support gut health and alter fat storage throughout your body. High coffee consumption is positively correlated with lower body fat in both men and women. Plus, more energy makes it more likely that you’ll get up off the couch and enjoy some physical activity each day: naturally, this is also associated with lower weight!

Enhanced Athletic Performance

Lastly, the energy-boosting benefits of coffee are associated with enhanced athletic performance. Drinking a cup of coffee before a run or another important athletic event could help you improve your time or performance overall. Also called an ergogenic aid or performance enhancer, coffee improves your endurance, decreases your perceived exertion, and may increase things like your gait speed. By giving you access to more energy immediately, you may see improvements both in endurance sports and in other physical activities such as weightlifting.

Which Beverage Is Best?

That’s up to you! As you can see from the above breakdown, matcha and coffee provide important mental and physical wellness benefits, especially when consumed in moderation and as part of healthy lifestyles overall. Both can also induce side effects like jitters due to their high caffeine content. However, matcha and coffee have vastly different flavor profiles, even though both are bitter when consumed in beverages. Matcha and coffee are often consumed mixed with sweeteners or other mediums.

You may wish to try some high-quality matcha and or a cup of Joe separately to determine which you like the best. Matcha and coffee can both be enjoyed in the morning when you wake up or in the afternoon when your circadian rhythm naturally dips. Note that coffee is generally more variable in its preparation – you can enjoy drip coffee, for example, black or with milk or sugar, or you can enjoy lattes or other espresso-based beverages. Matcha is primarily consumed in hot water or milk (more frequently). But it’s also used in certain baked goods. Overall, though, matcha is not used in as many variable beverages as coffee.

Bottom line: you may prefer matcha or coffee over the other. But the only way to determine which is to try them both for yourself!

Summary

All in all, both matcha and coffee are delicious, energy-boosting beverages that could be just what you need to get through a long workday. But aside from their flavor differences, matcha and coffee also have different impacts on your body. You might prefer one or the other given your general energy levels, difficulty going to sleep, and other factors.

Combine your cup of matcha or coffee with other energy-boosting strategies, like yoga or meditation, and you’ll see results in no time. Check out 1AND1’s other resources to get 1% better every day!

Sources:

Retrospecting the Antioxidant Activity of Japanese Matcha Green Tea–Lack of Enthusiasm? | MDPI

Green tea, weight loss and physical activity | Clinical Nutrition

Consumption of coffee and tea and risk of developing stroke, dementia, and poststroke dementia: A cohort study in the UK Biobank | NCBI

Coffee Intake and Obesity: A Meta-Analysis – PMC | NCBI

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