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October 26, 2021

I've said it many times before, but I'll say it again: I've always loved good coffee. I still drink it, still love it, and probably always will. It would be a bleak world without coffee. To say I also love good matcha would be an understatement. This whole website is one big paean to the many benefits of good 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 stop drinking coffee for whatever reason, I wouldn't have a hard time because I have such a variety of great matcha in my life (although I might have existential fears if I didn't know quality matcha). And as we all know, coffee has its downsides.

So here are the top five reasons (there are many more, but we'll keep it short) why matcha is the winner in matcha vs. coffee:

1) Matcha has a higher caffeine content.

By "better" I mean that coffee's high caffeine content does more damage to the body. It starts with an explosion and ends with a crash. Coffee causes adrenaline, glucose, and insulin levels to skyrocket, which in turn causes jitters, nervousness, and, at least for me, often food cravings.

Matcha, on the other hand, causes none of these things. It produces a calm alertness with only one-sixth the caffeine of coffee (25 mg versus a typical cup of coffee at 150 mg). There are no tension spikes or crashes, but it sets in gently and goes away just as gently. My friend Dana, a Zen priestess, describes it this way, "After a cup of your matcha, I feel like 10,000 butterflies start fluttering and gently lift me off the ground. A few hours later, they set me down just as gently."

No adrenaline rush, no blood sugar spike, and no cravings for pastries: matcha satiates like nothing else, making it the perfect indulgence for anyone worried about their weight. The 25 mg or so of caffeine binds with matcha's phytonutrients (especially L-theanine) in a way that slows the body's absorption of the caffeine; the effects usually last at least three hours, but some people report feeling them for as long as six or seven.

Real matcha does not dissolve in water, but is a suspension made up of tiny matcha particles. When you drink matcha, you are actually ingesting green tea leaves! This means that matcha takes more time to be broken down during digestion, resulting in a slow and gradual release of caffeine. This means a slow release and absorption of caffeine.

2) Better breath.

There's really no comparison here. Matcha is also better for your teeth: it fights the bacteria that cause plaque, making it a powerful ally for daily oral hygiene (many dentists in Japan recommend drinking matcha daily). Coffee breath and tooth enamel discoloration? It's a no-brainer.

3) Better skin

Matcha helps eliminate acne and has been used by Japanese women as a face mask for centuries. The antibacterial properties of matcha help give the skin a natural glow. EGCG present in green tea is a very effective free radical scavenger. It helps neutralize them, which reduces oxidative stress that can accelerate cellular aging. When applied topically, the caffeine in green tea can energize the skin and promote firmness over time. Matcha contains methylxanthines, which have been shown to stimulate microcirculation in the skin, which not only contributes to healthy, glowing skin, but also an even and healthy complexion! The polyphenols in green tea have been confirmed in studies to protect the skin from the harmful effects of UV rays. They also act as a protective agent against environmental stresses. Hormonal acne is often affected by stress and excess androgens, which cause the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum. Matcha helps on both levels as it combats stress (both oxidative stress from free radicals and emotional stress by calming the nervous system). EGCG also acts as an antiandrogen, meaning if your androgen levels are too high, matcha can help you lower them.

4) More antioxidants.

Matcha is incredibly rich in catechins, flavonoids, and polyphenols, especially the powerful epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which has been linked to so many health benefits and has therapeutic applications in treating so many diseases, including cancer (see our research database for more than a thousand published scientific/medical papers on the effects of green tea on human health)

4) Good matcha is much easier to prepare than good coffee.

Matcha has a reputation for being difficult to prepare, but seriously: put strained tea in a cup, add hot water, froth it up. In just 30 seconds, the tea is perfect (assuming you have good matcha). Great coffee should be measured out (20 grams seems to be the most common weight), freshly ground, and then infused or steamed using a variety of complicated and expensive machines. And then you still have to wait for the machine to do its job.

Of course, matcha isn't meant to prevent, treat, or cure disease; it's just green tea, albeit a very special one, that has all sorts of interesting health properties. And since there are no known downsides or side effects to regular matcha consumption, there's little to lose by switching from coffee to matcha, at least temporarily.

You don't have to give up coffee altogether (unless your doctor advises you to) - I certainly don't plan to. But try matcha; you have nothing to lose but discolored teeth, bad breath, and heart palpitations. And you might gain a whole new world of well-being and joy.

Which do you prefer. Coffee or matcha?


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