It may seem like most of the world is too busy drinking coffee these days to notice, but tea is actually the most widely consumed drink in the world (after water)! Full of vitamins and nutrients, tea has always been a delicious beverage staple with staying power.

While it is true that all tea comes from the same plant, this does not necessarily mean that all tea is fundamentally the same. However, when it comes to nutrition, some teas offer more benefits than others. So while black tea may be the more popular and widely used choice for daily drinkers, tea lovers may want to consider adding a bit more Matcha to their diet.

 

Matcha vs. Black: Top Differences Between the Two Teas

The next time you find yourself standing in a coffee shop unsure of whether to order that Matcha latte or English black tea, consider the following differences to help you decide.

 

Breaking Down Black Tea

Black tea is often used for a quick boost of energy and heightened alertness due to its high level of caffeine amongst teas. Though less than the typical amount found in coffee, black tea has about 40-70 mg of caffeine per 8 oz cup.

Black tea also contains flavonoids, which are a helpful class of phytonutrients that provide plants with their colorful pigments. In addition, flavonoids offer a variety of health benefits, and the ones found in black tea can help lower the risk of or even prevent a number of health issues.

The antioxidants in black tea are believed to reduce atherosclerosis, also known as clogged arteries, which can lower the risk of heart attack. Plus, many black tea drinkers consume the beverage for its perceived ability to lower the risk of kidney stones, diabetes, high cholesterol, and even Parkinson’s disease.

While black tea has a range of health benefits, drinking too much can result in certain health issues. These include:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Quickened Breathing
  • Ringing in the Ears
  • Nervousness
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Irregular Heartbeat
  • Frequent Urination
  • Headache
  • Tremors

The caffeine amount in black tea is likely responsible for these issues, but individuals may experience these side effects differently. It is important to speak to your doctor if you experience any of these side effects, as there is not yet a recommended amount of black tea to drink for peak health benefits and low risk. Of course, drinking black tea in moderation is best.

 

Why Matcha Could Be Your Perfect Match

Widely considered the highest quality green tea available, Matcha is a staple of Japanese culture and regarded today as a powerful superfood. Matcha is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which are steamed, stemmed, and de-veined before they are stone ground into a fine powder. In order to preserve its antioxidant rich properties, it is then stored away from light and oxygen.

Similar to black tea, Matcha contains traces of natural caffeine. However, what makes Matcha different than black tea is its shade-growing process. By hindering the amount of sunlight, the tea leaves retain higher levels of L-theanine, an amino acid which allows our bodies to more slowly absorb the natural caffeine in Matcha. This results in a sustained 3-6 hour period of energy without the crash or jitters that may come with other caffeinated drinks.

In addition to its plentiful amounts of amino acids, it’s also chocked full of catechins, a specific type of antioxidant that is known to be the most powerful and beneficial. Of these catechins, the compound known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg) accounts for 60% of the antioxidants in Matcha. EGCg is best known for fighting and reducing the risk of cancer, and Matcha contains more of this catechin than any other tea.

Unlike black tea, Matcha has an incredibly low list of adverse side effects. Aside from potential interactions with prescription drugs, possible stomachache or constipation (if drunk on an empty stomach), and developing a caffeine sensitivity, there isn’t much to be worried about. In fact, the complete list of benefits include:

  • Induces Calm State of Mind
  • Improves Memory and Concentration
  • Burns Calories and Increases Metabolism
  • Improves Energy Levels and Endurance
  • Strengthens the Immune System
  • Lowers Cholesterol
  • Detoxifies the Body, Lowering Certain Health Risks
  • Earthy, Sweet Taste

When it comes down to nutrition in tea, it’s easy to see that Matcha outweighs black tea. It’s great taste, wide range of health benefits, and low number of side effects means you can enjoy it pretty frequently without worry. If you’re sold on Matcha, you can get you fix at one of these great spots throughout LA. Cheers!