What’s the difference between green tea and matcha? Aren't green tea and matcha the same thing?
Most people believe that they are, but this is only partially true. Here, we outline the how green tea and matcha are the same and the differences that set these two apart.
First, it is important to note that they are made from the same plant. Did you know that black, oolong, sencha, tencha, gyokuro and matcha all come from the same plant? If you are drinking a non-herbal tea, then your tea is made from the plant Camellia Sinesis, which is grown all over the world.
What differentiates green tea vs. matcha is the production and preparation process.
Certain types of tea – sencha, gyokuro and matcha undergo a special process where the tea bushes are shaded for a period of 14-21 days. During this process, the leaves produce more chlorophyll and amino acids such as L-Theanine, which give the tea leaves a vibrant green colour. Green tea, on the other hand does not undergo this shading process and the leaves are harvested as is.
When green tea is produced, the leaves are steamed and dried as soon as they are harvested. After they are steamed and dried, the treatment of the leaves is what differentiates the different types of teas. Regular green tea leaves, along with tencha leaves are steamed and dried and then chopped and packaged as is. Gyokuro tea leaves are rolled or kneaded, evenly disbursing moisture and enhancing flavours in the tea leaves. To make matcha, the dried tea leaves are ground into a fine powder using a stone mill.
When preparing regular tea, the water is typically boiled or heated to a temperature of 60 to 70 degrees Celsius and the leaves are steeped to the desired tea strength and consumed. The leaves are then disposed of after the steeping process is complete. However with matcha, the powdered tea is whisked with hot water (around 70 degrees) and the leaves are consumed whole. Since you are consuming the entire leaf, matcha provides greater health benefits for consumers as you are getting all the nutrients from the leaf.
Matcha is packed with vitamins, minerals and amino acids and anti-oxidants which may help support a healthy body and mind. Matcha contains vitamins A, B, C, E and K, Copper, Zinc, Magnesium, Calcium and Iron; and compounds such as Quercetin, Rutin, Chlorophyll, L-Theanine and Polyphenols. Various studies have found that the combination of these compounds in matcha improves bodily functioning by helping to reduce inflammation, keep the immune system healthy, improve energy and focus, support heart, muscle and nerve functions and boosts metabolism, improving digestive health.
If you’re looking to reap the benefits of green tea, then incorporating matcha into your daily routine is the way to go.