- The caffeine content of Matcha can depend on its age and quality – it can contain up to 130mg per serving.
- Matcha also contains antioxidants and other compounds that may reduce inflammation and cancer risk.
- Drinking matcha in moderation can boost immunity, among other health benefits.
Matcha is a powdered form of green tea (Camellia sinensis) from Japan, which has been drunk for nearly 1,000 years. It is grown and prepared in a way that makes it different from regular green tea, with a higher caffeine content.
“In the few weeks before harvest, tea plants are covered to avoid direct sunlight, which increases chlorophyll production in the leaves, giving them a very dark green color,” says Dana Ellis Hunnes PhD, MPH, RD , senior dietitian at UCLA Medical Center and author of “Recipe for Survival: What You Can Do to Live a Healthy and More Environmentally Friendly Life.”
Once harvested, the leaves are then ground into a fine powder, Hunnes says. This method results in a tea that contains higher amounts of certain characteristic health-boosting compounds, including theanine and caffeine.
Read on to learn more about how much caffeine you’ll get in a cup of matcha compared to other drinks, as well as how consuming matcha daily could benefit your health.
How much caffeine is in matcha?
A serving of matcha is usually equal to half a teaspoon (teaspoon), or about three grams (g). The amount of caffeine per serving can vary depending on the quality and age of your matcha – one serving can contain between 55 and 130 milligrams (mg) of caffeine.
For reference, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends keeping your daily caffeine intake to 400 mg or less.
Some exceptions exist:
Other groups of people might be better off avoiding caffeine altogether. For example, children 12 and under shouldn’t consume caffeine, according to the AAP. That said, the small amounts of caffeine found in chocolate and cocoa probably won’t cause harm in moderation.
How does the caffeine content of matcha compare to other beverages?
Matcha is middle of the road when it comes to caffeinated beverages. Here’s how it lines up:
Is matcha good for you?
Some people consider matcha a superfood, and for good reason. It’s high in antioxidants, which makes it useful for reducing inflammation, says Dr. Adi Benito, chief medical advisor for Eating for Your Health.
Plus, these antioxidants help neutralize free radicals and support liver and heart health, Hunnes says.
Matcha may also support whole-body health by:
As noted above, matcha can help reduce inflammation, but it’s not just the antioxidants in matcha that have anti-inflammatory properties. Other important compounds include phenolic acid and chlorophyll. Even the caffeine in matcha can help reduce the amount of inflammatory cytokines in the body.
Drinking matcha can therefore help relieve the symptoms of many different diseases and medical conditions that involve inflammation, including diabetes and arthritis.
Two specific compounds in matcha may also help boost your immune system, allowing your body to fight disease more effectively.
These compounds include catechins, antioxidant-rich phenolic compounds, and quercetin, a bitter compound found in many fruits and vegetables.
The catechins and quercetin in matcha may even have antiviral properties, which could make them useful in helping people fight COVID-19 or the flu.
Blood sugar regulation
If you live with diabetes or have a higher risk of diabetes, matcha can help you manage your blood sugar. Specifically, the polyphenols in matcha may slow your body’s absorption of glucose, reducing the chances of blood sugar spikes.
Because matcha helps lower blood sugar, it may also help with weight loss, Hunnes says.
Protect your brain
Rutin, a flavonoid, may help protect your brain from neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.
Matcha could also prove useful when it comes to focusing and managing stress. In a 2021 study, people who consumed matcha performed better when stressed on a test involving attention, memory, and writing than those who consumed pure caffeine.
Support heart health
A 2021 review links caffeine and polyphenols in green tea to improve heart health and reduce inflammation. According to the study, green tea may help prevent some serious medical conditions, including heart failure and stroke.
The catechins, polyphenols, and vitamin C in matcha can help prevent the growth of cancer cells as well as the metastasis or spread of cancer in the body.
Matcha may even help treat breast cancer by making cancer cells more susceptible to the effects of chemotherapy.
Can caffeine have negative side effects?
Moderate caffeine consumption can benefit your health, but excessive consumption can lead to side effects. Consuming caffeine in large amounts or for a prolonged period of time could contribute to:
Some people are more sensitive to caffeine than others. If you’re not sure you’ve put too much strain on your body, watch out for these side effects:
Consuming too much caffeine can feel like an adrenaline rush, says Benito.
In rare cases of caffeine toxicity — which can occur when you consume the caffeine equivalent of more than 10 cups of coffee — you could experience seizures, vomiting, and even death.
How to reduce
Moderate matcha consumption probably won’t cause any harm, but you might consider reducing your intake if you think the caffeine is negatively affecting your health. Cutting back can be accompanied by withdrawal symptoms like headaches and irritability, if you have become addicted to caffeine.
To avoid unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, it may help to gradually reduce your intake over a few weeks or months rather than going cold turkey.
You can also substitute a naturally caffeine-free alternative like chaga tea. Chaga, a mushroom also high in antioxidants, could give you a jitter-free energy boost, says Benito.
Matcha contains a variety of health-promoting compounds, including caffeine.
Too much caffeine can harm your health over time, but the caffeine in a cup or two of matcha a day is probably harmless — it might even provide health benefits for most adults.