We just can’t get enough of these two healthy beverages, and often wonder how they are different from each other. The truth is, green tea and matcha tea are quite different yet they aren’t poles apart. Matcha has more velvety and intense characteristics as compared to green tea.
There are differences in their method of cultivation and they possess distinctive flavor as well. More such contrast characters are present between matcha tea and green tea. Before comparing them, first, let us understand a bit more about matcha tea and green tea.
What is Matcha Tea?
The matcha tea originated from a traditional tea ceremony in Japan. It revolves around the preparation, serving, and then the consumption of matcha as a hot beverage, entailing pensive and meditative spirituality. Matcha tea included in these traditional tea ceremonies is referred to as the ceremonial grade.
The ceremonial grade matcha tea belongs to the premium class of matcha tea variant. Another more commonly used class of matcha is referred to as culinary-grade matcha tea.
In recent times, matcha has begun to be used as a flavoring agent and even as a food dye for various Japanese confectioneries, matcha lattes, mocha, and soba noodles. A raging interest in powdered tea and also the rise in consumption of matcha globally has caused a surge in the demand for matcha tea worldwide.
What is Green Tea?
Green tea is comparatively more popular among the tea clan. Unlike oolong and black teas, green tea is prepared from the unoxidised leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant. The leaves are exposed to heat to destroy the enzymes that encourage oxidation and fermentation.
The origin of green tea is traced back to China, however, in current times green tea is produced by numerous countries and included in various cultures throughout Asia.
Did you know green tea is rendered to be a healthy option due to its low caffeine and high anti-oxidative quantities? Several types of green tea are procured based on the category of the Camellia Sinensis plant being used, the growing conditions, and time of harvest.
Now, as we have understood about each of these beverages, next, let us dive into knowing about the differences among them.
Difference between Matcha Tea and Green Tea
Matcha tea and green tea both are derived from the same plant Camellia Sinensis. They also share many similar health benefits; however, they aren’t the same. You could say that matcha tea is green tea, but not all kinds of green tea are matcha tea. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between both of them.
The initial difference between matcha and green tea is based on the source of the plant. The distinctive difference in their taste, color, texture, and aroma depends on the climate in which the plant is grown and the process of harvesting that is undertaken further on.
The leaves of the matcha tea are subjected to various procedures before it is ready for consumption. Just before it is time for their harvest period, they are protected from sunlight and grown in the shade with the help of tarps.
Did you know shade-growth boosts the chlorophyll and anti-oxidative levels of the plant? As the leaves are exposed to lesser sunlight they produce more chlorophyll to make better use of the limited source of energy it gets. This gives the leaves of matcha tea an iconic, vibrant lush green color.
Unlike matcha tea leaves, the green tea leaves aren’t shade-grown at all. Once they are harvested, these leaves are subjected to steam or could be pan-fried. This is done to cease the oxidation process. Green tea leaves could also be infused with herbs, or fruits to add more zest to the beverage. The leaves of green tea are packed in airtight containers to retain their freshness.
Nutrition and Calorie content
Green tea and matcha tea both are popular choices among health-conscious consumers as they positively influence a person’s physical and mental status. However, the shade-grown plants tend to have a higher nutritional value than regular grown ones. This is applicable even if the variety of the plant is the same.
Studies show that when the tea leaves are deprived of sunlight at the time of the principal growing period, they strive harder to live on, paving the way to a significant change in the chemical composition of the plant.
Hence, matcha tea has greater concentrations of L-Theanine, Caffeine, glutamine, and flavonoids. Also, as the leaves are completely ground up, consumers of matcha tea ingest all the nutrients present in the leaves like amino acids, catechins, etc. This isn’t the case with green tea, because the leaves are steeped and later discarded, here the vital nutrients are lost.
Green tea and matcha tea both lie low in the calorie content, while green tea has calories as low as 2 calories per cup, matcha tea contains 10 calories for each cup. However, in terms of overall nutrition, matcha tea is the clear winner.
To prepare matcha tea, you will need a tea bowl also called chawans and a bamboo whisk called Chasen. Heat water in a pan and pour it into the bowl once it boils. Then, gradually whisk the tip of the chasen to warm the bowl and soften the tines of the bamboo.
By doing so the chasen becomes more flexible and effective while whisking the matcha powder. Now, discard the water and wipe the bowl dry with a clean cloth.
Next, add one scoop of matcha into the bowl with a fine-mesh strainer. Then pour hot water gradually in small amounts into the bowl. Next, begin the whisking process by taking the whisk in one hand and holding the rim of the bowl in the other. Keep whisking till the matcha tea and hot water is combined well.
While whisking, do it briskly in a back and forth motion stroking W with your wrist. Continue to do so until the matcha surface turns into a thick fluffy froth with few bubbles over it.
Preparation of green tea is even easier. To make green tea take boiling water in a cup, then steep the green tea leaves in the water for around two to five minutes. Later on strain the leaves and your cup of green tea is ready!
Even if you prefer using green tea bags, the procedure remains the same, the good part is here you wouldn’t have to strain the leaves. To sum it up, the preparation process of green tea is not at all labor-intensive.
The unique preparation method of matcha tea contributes to its distinctive texture and flavor. The flavor is savory and earthy and also boasts of a deep and savory texture. Few first-time drinkers find the taste of matcha tea to be pretty overwhelming, especially since it is a powdered style of leaves.
Did you know the taste seems acquired and something similar to grass and rather powerful to those who aren’t accustomed to the flavor?
On the contrary green tea has a subtle flavor and is more diluted or watery. When infused in hot water the leaves gradually release the extract that soaks into the water. It has a light and translucent hue.
Did you know the flavor and aroma of green tea are very mild and delicate? You could even spice up the flavor by adding a piece of ginger, lemon juice or a couple of peppermint leaves. Or, some even add jaggery or honey to add a tinge of sweetness.
The flavor of the green tea could be intensified if the leaves are kept infused into the water for longer than the normal period making it taste a lot more bittersweet.
Do you know, when you ingest the whole ground leaves of the matcha plant, you consume all the nutrients the leaves could provide? Hence, you shall find more health benefits by having matcha tea than green tea.
L-Theanine present in matcha tea could effectively enhance your alertness level required to conduct mental activities. L-Theanine is present in green tea as well as matcha tea, but its concentration is higher in matcha tea.
Also, due to the greater amounts of bio-active ingredients like catechins and amino acids, matcha tea becomes a more effective option than green tea in areas of increasing focus, memory, and attention.
Also, matcha tea could provide you with more fiber as it's consumed in the powdered form that includes the leaves, unlike green tea which is more diluted.
Both the teas are known to have capabilities of burning fat and even preventing cancer. However, even here matcha tea has an upper hand as it is stated to provide better results. The compounds present in matcha can reprogram cancer cells and inhibit their escalation, especially in cases of breast cancer.
Read - Best time and frequency to drink Green tea for weight loss
Green tea comes in a variety of blends which vary with prices. Some of the cheaper varieties of tea brands are produced in mass from well-known brand labels. However, the best brands providing green tea still cost less than a good brand of matcha tea.
This means most green teas cost less than matcha tea. Matcha tea is higher on the price range majorly because they are not grown on a large span on the global forefront, unlike green tea.
Most of the matcha leaves plantation is present in Japan, also the methods used in their growth and cultivation make them lie on the higher side of the price scale. Matcha also has variants and its uses are more versatile in terms of creativity in the kitchen. The higher-priced ones have a smoother flavor and vibrant hue as well.
But did you know it is difficult to incorporate green tea as a flavor in food items or confectionaries? This is because green tea needs to be infused so that the flavor could be extracted. Hence, the use of green tea is comparatively limited in the kitchen to just a beverage. Culinary matcha tea on the other hand is very well suited to be used in recipes.
With this, we have covered the major difference present between matcha tea and green tea. They both are used for therapeutic benefits which are more or less similar to each other. A steaming cup of matcha tea or green tea could invigorate your senses and enhance the physical and mental process.
Lastly, the question ‘Which tea among green tea or matcha tea is better’ is one that only you can answer. We’ve discussed their similarities as well as their differences. Whether it is the subtle and light flavor of green tea or the frothy, intense flavor of matcha tea, that appeals to your taste - you’ll have to experience the best to answer that.
Here are our recommendations to help you experiment and decide.
Our recommendations for Matcha Tea and Green Tea
Matcha tea has its origin in Japan, however, we added uniqueness to this traditional Japanese tea. This Matcha brand is assembled with the fine and pure Ceylon green tea leaves cultivated on the highest peak of mountains ascertaining a delicate flavor comparable to the reminiscent of fresh steam vegetables.
The mythical Green- pure Ceylon tea comes with an exciting history ranging backwards to the time of the famous Indian epic Ramayana. Based on the legend, the Sri Lankan King Ravana, kidnapped the princess Sita and kept her hidden in the caves in the town of Oya.
And, you might be surprised to know that even this tea originates from the renowned town of Oya of the Uva region. Grown at an elevation of 1,402-1,950m, this high grown tree boasts a slight roasted flavor with a yellowish tinge.
This tea is handpicked from the Nuwara Eliya Belt in the Pundalu Oya Valley. The high mountain winds roaring through the region produce the premium quality Dimbulla tea.
The valley of Pundalu is famously known as the Golden valley which has a climate most suited to nurture these golden green plants. They possess a yellow tinge when brewed and a sensational flavor.
Not a fan of pure green tea? Then perhaps, green tea infusions will suit your taste. Here are 5 best green tea infusions that you should try.
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