I’ve said it many times before, but I’ll say it again: I have always loved good coffee.
I still drink and love it, and will likely always love it. It would be a grim world without coffee.
To say that I love good matcha too is an understatement. This entire site is one big paean to the many joys of great matcha.
Why do people think you have to choose? You can have both! It's not a zero-sum game.
But, if my doctor told me I had to quit coffee for whatever reason, I wouldn't find it difficult because I have such a variety of great matcha in my life (though there might be existential angst if I didn't know about quality matcha).
And coffee DOES have some downsides, as we all know.
So here are the top five reasons (there are many more, but we'll keep this brief) why matcha is the winner in Matcha vs. Coffee:
1) Matcha has a better caffeine high
By “better” I mean that coffee’s caffeine high wreaks more havoc on the body. It starts off with a blast, and ends in a crash. Coffee causes spikes in adrenaline glucose and insulin levels, which in turn create jitteriness, nervousness, and, at least for me, often crazy hunger pangs.
Matcha, in contrast, does none of that. It creates a calm alertness with just a sixth the caffeine of coffee (25mg versus a typical 150mg cup of coffee). There are no spikes and crashes, it just comes on gently and leaves just as gently. My friend Dana, a zen priest, describes it this way: "after a cup of your matcha, I feel like 10,000 butterflies begin to flutter, and gently lift me off the ground. Several hours later, they just as gently set me back down."
No adrenal weirdness, no glucose spike, and no need for pastry; it satiates like nothing else, making it the perfect treat for anyone worried about their weight. The 25mg (or so) of caffeine bind with matcha’s phytonutrients (especially L-theanine) in a way that slows the body’s absorption of the caffeine; it typically lasts at least three hours, though some people report feeling it for as long as six or seven.
2) Better breath
There really is no comparison here. Matcha is also better for your teeth: it thwarts the bacteria that causes plaque, making it a powerful ally for everyday oral hygiene (lots of dentists in Japan recommend a daily matcha). Coffee breath and enamel staining? This is a no brainer.
3) Better skin
Matcha helps clear up acne, and has been used for centuries by Japanese women as a facial mask. Matcha’s antibacterial properties help to give skin a natural glow. Ever notice the skin of hardcore coffee drinkers?
4) More antioxidants
Matcha is ridiculously full of catechins, flavonoids, and polyphenols, especially the mighty epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which has been linked to so many health benefits and has therapeutic applications to the treatment of so many disorders, including cancer (check out our research database for more than a thousand published scientific/medical papers on green tea's effects on human health)
5) Great matcha is WAY easier to make than great coffee is
Matcha has the reputation of being difficult to make, but seriously: scoop sifted tea into cup, add hot water, froth. All of 30 seconds to perfection (assuming you’re starting with great matcha, of course). Great coffee should be measured (20 grams seems to be the most common weight), freshly ground, then steeped or steamed, using a variety of complicated and expensive machinery. And then there’s the waiting for the machine to do its thing.
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Needless to say, matcha is not intended to prevent, treat, or cure any disease; it’s just green tea, albeit a very special one that has all kinds of interesting health properties. And because there are no known downsides or side effects to regular consumption of matcha, there is little to lose in making the switch from coffee to matcha, at least some of the time.
You needn’t give up coffee altogether (unless your doctor tells you to, of course) — I sure don’t plan to. But do give matcha try; you have nothing to lose but stained teeth, bad breath, and heart-pounding jitters. And you might have a whole new world of wellness and joy to gain.