Matcha is a powdered Japanese green tea whose popularity has increased worldwide, while coffee is already one of the world’s most commonly consumed beverages.
You may have heard about the promising health benefits of matcha and wonder how they compare with the proven benefits of coffee.
This article compares the two to analyze their main differences, pros, and cons.
Both coffee and matcha contain minimal calories when prepared without added ingredients like milk, sugar, cream, or flavored syrups.
A standard cup of matcha is prepared by mixing one teaspoon (about 2 grams) of the powder with 2 ounces (60 mL) of hot water, while coffee is typically brewed with hot water.
Here’s the nutritional comparison between a standard serving of each beverage — an 8-ounce (240-mL) cup of brewed coffee and a 2-ounce (60-mL) cup of matcha:
Coffee nutrition facts
- Calories: 2
- Carbs: 0 grams
- Sugar: 0 grams
- Fiber: 0 grams
- Protein: 0.3 grams
- Fat: 0.5 grams
Matcha nutrition facts
- Calories: 5
- Carbs: 1 gram
- Sugar: 0 grams
- Fiber: 0 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: 0 grams
Additionally, coffee contains around 96 mg of caffeine per 8-ounce (240-mL) cup, while matcha contains 19–44 mg per gram — equaling 38–88 mg per 2-ounce (60-mL) serving if prepared the standard way.
The large variety in the caffeine content of matcha has to do with the amount of powder, the variety and freshness of the leaves used to make the powder, water temperature, and brewing time.
Both beverages have a bitter taste. Matcha’s flavor is grassy or earthy, while coffee is renowned for its roasted and sometimes nutty, chocolaty flavor and aroma.
Summary: Both coffee and matcha have minimal calories and a bitter taste. Though they’re both caffeinated drinks, coffee contains more caffeine than matcha per serving.
Both coffee and matcha are known for their multiple health-promoting effects. The two beverages share many benefits.
Matcha and coffee may help you lose weight
The caffeine in both matcha and coffee may help you lose weight by activating brown adipose tissue — or brown fat — and increasing energy expenditure and fat oxidation.
Brown fat is said to protect against fat accumulation in your body, as it can generate heat and metabolize nutrients like glucose and fat.
Several studies, some of which are older, suggest that caffeine may increase your metabolic rate by up to 13% for about 3 hours.
Aside from caffeine, coffee contains chlorogenic acid (CGA), and matcha is rich in epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Both CGA and EGCG have been studied for their potential to aid weight loss.
Animal studies suggest that CGA may affect obesity-related hormones, potentially helping reduce body weight, fat accumulation, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels.
Suggested read: Brown vs. white rice: Is one better for your health?
Similarly, animal studies on EGCG show that this compound promotes weight loss by inhibiting the formation of fat and activating its breakdown.
Matcha and coffee are loaded with cancer-fighting antioxidants
Antioxidants are beneficial compounds that mitigate the harmful effects of oxidative stress in your body, which can otherwise lead to the onset and progression of various diseases, including cancer.
Polyphenols are a group of potent antioxidants in fruits, vegetables, coffee, and tea. EGCG and CGA are the major components of green tea and coffee polyphenols, respectively.
EGCG may prevent the growth and spread of tumors, limit the formation of certain blood vessels that feed tumors and promote the death of cancerous cells.
Similarly, CGA may protect against oral, esophageal, gastric, colorectal, and liver cancer by suppressing tumor growth.
Additionally, matcha is rich in rutin, vitamin C, and chlorophyll, which gives it its characteristic green color, and coffee contains cafestol and kahweol, all of which possess antioxidant properties.
Matcha and coffee may protect heart health
Various compounds found in matcha and coffee may help reduce multiple heart disease risk factors.
For starters, their polyphenols content may reduce platelet aggregation, which can help prevent your arteries from clogging and reduce the risk of a heart attack.
Suggested read: Green tea vs. coffee: Which is better for your health?
Polyphenols also promote blood vessel relaxation, helping reduce high blood pressure.
Furthermore, the EGCG found in green tea may lower blood pressure and reduce total and LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides levels by blocking the absorption of fats from your gut.
However, keep in mind that while coffee is rich in polyphenols that benefit heart health, the cafestol and kahweol from unfiltered coffee may increase total and LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides levels.
Other shared benefits
Sipping a cup of coffee or matcha may bring some additional benefits:
- Enhanced mood and brain function. The caffeine in both drinks, and matcha’s L-theanine and EGCG, may improve mood, attention, memory, and reaction times.
- Improved liver health. Drinking green tea and coffee has been linked to a lower risk of fatty liver disease, liver cirrhosis, and fibrosis.
Summary: Coffee and matcha share multiple health benefits. Notably, they may help you lose weight and lower your heart disease and cancer risk.
Main differences between matcha and coffee
Both drinks can give you an energy boost, though they do so differently.
Coffee is known for providing an instant energy kick that reduces sleepiness and fatigue. This happens because your body rapidly absorbs up to 99% of its caffeine, meaning that the compound may reach peak blood concentration levels as soon as 15 minutes after intake.
Once absorbed, caffeine can cross your brain barrier and block adenosine receptors — a compound with sleep‐promoting properties — which can help keep you awake.
Similarly, matcha contains caffeine. However, this beverage may boost your energy at a slower pace than coffee.
Matcha also contains L-theanine, an amino acid in the green tea plant that can reduce stress by increasing alpha waves in your brain. Like caffeine, L-theanine crosses your brain barrier and may reach peak concentration levels in 30 minutes.
When combined with caffeine, L-theanine may reduce tiredness while increasing feelings of alertness.
Summary: Both coffee and matcha may increase your energy levels. Coffee typically gives you an instant kick, while matcha may provide a slightly slower boost.
Pros and cons
Whether you prefer coffee or matcha, note that both have their share of pros and cons.
Pros of matcha
Aside from the previously mentioned benefits, some of matcha’s pros include:
- Promotes relaxation. As mentioned, by increasing alpha waves in your brain, L-theanine relaxes the mind without causing feelings of drowsiness.
- Promotes oral health. Contrary to coffee, matcha may improve oral health, which is closely connected with your general health.
- Easy to make. All you need to do to prepare a cup of matcha is to add hot water to matcha powder and mix. No special equipment is needed.
Cons of matcha
Here are some of matcha’s potential downsides:
Suggested read: How much caffeine does tea have compared with coffee?
- More expensive. Though prices vary depending on the quality, matcha tends to be more expensive than coffee.
- Risk of liver toxicity. Consuming high doses of EGCG and other matcha polyphenols may lead to liver damage, although more research is needed.
- Risk of contaminants. Since matcha is made from pulverized green tea leaves, there’s a risk of consuming leaves contaminated with heavy metals, such as lead and arsenic.
Pros of coffee
Coffee may also boast some additional advantages:
- Less expensive. Again, this depends on its quality, but overall, coffee is cheaper than matcha.
- May lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Both caffeinated and decaf coffee may improve markers for type 2 diabetes and lower its incidence by up to 12% for every 2 cups consumed daily.
- Highly available. You may easily find a coffee shop anywhere you go. Alternatively, you may buy a cup of coffee in restaurants or supermarkets or even purchase ready-to-drink alternatives.
Cons of coffee
Like matcha, coffee has its drawbacks:
- May create dependence. Caffeine is a drug that stimulates your central nervous system. Drinking too much coffee may lead to caffeine use disorder or dependence.
- Unwanted side effects. Some people experience unpleasant reactions like insomnia, jitters, increased heart rate, headaches, and anxiety when drinking or withdrawing from coffee.
Summary: Coffee and matcha each have pros and cons that you may want to consider before choosing one.
Coffee and matcha are two popular caffeinated drinks.
Suggested read: Sucrose vs. glucose vs. fructose: What's the difference?
They’re both loaded with antioxidants and even share some health benefits. For example, they may lower your heart disease and cancer risk while promoting weight loss and increasing your energy levels.
They also have their share of pros and cons that you should consider before choosing one over the other.