Mmm. There’s nothing like that first sip of coffee in the morning. Its rich taste, how awake you feel afterward. Delicious! If you’re consuming one of the 400 million cups of coffee drunk in the USA every day, you’ll know that it’s more than just a beverage. It’s a way of life. But what if there was a different way – enter matcha—the new kid on the hot drink trend scene. But which is best for you? Matcha vs. coffee, let’s find out.
Low-down on matcha vs coffee
By now, you’ve probably seen those amazing matcha Instagram pictures. Light, colorful, and, they say, tasty too. But what’s the low-down on these two beverages? Here’s a little more on matcha and coffee.
A true classic, this rich beverage can trace its history back to 15th century Yemen and perhaps even further. Coffee is made from coffee beans, which are picked, processed, and dried before usage. It has a high caffeine content, which is perhaps one of the reasons it’s so popular. According to research, almost 65% of coffee drinking is done in the morning, making it a get-up and go drink. It can be ingested plain as an espresso, americano, or merely black coffee, or mixed into a drink with milk and other additives to make lattes, cappuccinos, mochas, and more.
Despite what the latest Instagram trends would have you believe, matcha has been around for a while – perhaps even to the Song Dynasty or 960 1279 AD. So, what is this magical drink? Matcha is essentially ground and processed green tea leaves. Beverages made from matcha can be with plain water or mixed with milk to create a latte or other drink. While increasing in popularity in recent years, matcha has long been used as a part of traditional Japanese tea ceremonies.
Matcha Vs Coffee weigh-in: caffeine, calories, and taste
Now that we know the basics, it’s time to dive deeper. Let’s take a closer look at the two drinks in terms of caffeine content, the number of calories, and that all-important element, taste.
Sometimes we all need that little boost to get us going, and that’s where caffeine comes in. Both matcha and coffee are known for their energy-boosting properties, but how do they really measure up?
Let’s take a regular 12fl oz latte as an example. Made with regular coffee, this drink has around 75mg of caffeine in it. Now, compare that with the 55mg it would have if it was made with matcha, and you’ll see the green giant has considerably less.
If you’re looking for that extra kick, sure, coffee is your fast friend. But, does your body really need that much caffeine? Chances are, it doesn’t. And you’ll be left with coffee jitters throughout the day.
Energy is all well and good, but if you’re worried about your waistline, which one of these drinks is best to keep your figure in check? For this purpose, let’s take the glass on its own – pure, no milk, no additions.
New-kid matcha weighs in at 2.76 calories per gram of the green powder. Meanwhile, coffee measures up at 0 calories for the same amount.
Coffee: 0 kcal
Matcha: 2.76 kcal
When it comes to overall calories count, coffee takes the lead. However, matcha isn’t far behind. We can’t say it’s high in calories. However, as always, it depends on what you add. After diluting both with milk and syrups, you’ll notice the calories creep up.
Rich, bitter, and a classic. Chances are, you know how you like your coffee. Matcha is a whole different ball game. Most commonly, matcha drinks in the form of a matcha latte, complete with steamed milk. Its earthy tones are sharp, nutty, and almost pleasantly bitter – not too, unlike coffee in that respect. But, no matter which one you choose, both are full of flavor.
Winner: Your choice!
While coffee is indeed a classic for a reason, matcha can be a great, but different alternative in terms of taste.
3 reasons why matcha is better than coffee
Ready to try something new? Good for you! Here’s why matcha is the real winner in the matcha vs. coffee debate.
Matcha contains L-theanine. These chemicals cause a slower release of caffeine. While this might not sound great if you’re looking for a quick and easy boost, remember the comedown. Unlike coffee, matcha doesn’t cause jitters and actually keeps you alert for long – approximately 4-6 hours of steady energy, compared to coffee’s 1-3-hour quick boost.
Aside from giving you the power to get through that afternoon meeting, matcha is also great for your metabolism. Made from green tea, it is packed with antioxidants. It contains 44.70 mg of amino acids, an ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) value of 1573 units, vitamins A, C, and more to boot, plus extra fiber too. Together, this all means it’s pretty good for you.
Less teeth staining
Those ever browning teething are one huge draw-back of coffee. No one wants their pearly whites to take on a yellow tone, and nor should you have to. Matcha offers an energy boost, without the downside of staining—kind of like having your cake and eating it too.
3 reasons why coffee is better than matcha
Not yet convinced that there’s nothing better than the black stuff. Here’s three great reasons to stay in team coffee.
Easier to find
Matcha is relatively new to the commercial market, and is also a refined taste, meaning it’s not likely to be sold everywhere. You might have to do some searching first. Meanwhile, coffee is available, basically everywhere. In supermarkets, in cafes, you’ll always find at least one brand, likely more, of coffee on sale.
How much does a cup of coffee cost? In Italy, the average espresso (outside of Rome) is €1. In the US, a regular coffee will cost you around $3.12 on average. Now, let’s compare that to a matcha drink. According to MarketWatch, these little treats are selling for between $7 to $9 on average, and that’s before we even talk about coconut or soya milk alternatives.
It’s a classic for a reason. Once you’ve found your style of ‘brew’ – cappuccino, latte, or espresso, etc. – it can be hard to turn back. Coffee is rich in flavor and easy to sit back and enjoy.
So, which is best for you? Matcha vs. coffee unwrapped
Both coffee and matcha have their pluses and minuses. While matcha may be a healthier beverage choice on its own, you will need to watch the extra calories on additives such as milk and syrups. Meanwhile, coffee, while a classic, can give you that quick boost. Plus, it’s low in calories and quite tasty too.
So, what about some more alternatives? If you’re not thrilled with the idea of coffee or matcha, why not try these great alternatives, such as:
- Green tea
- White tea
- Oolong tea
- Chicory (check out more on chicory here)
Remember, no matter which you choose to be your wake-up drink, keep your caffeine levels within the recommended range to ensure your body is getting the best nutrition for it.