Does Matcha Have Caffeine? What to Know About Matcha’s Caffeine Content

Updated: Jun. 08, 2021

Matcha tea is a wholesome beverage pick. Find out if it'll give you a caffeine jolt—and how much.

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Everybody loves matcha

Rainbow-hued, unicorn-inspired drinks may be all the rage on social media, but when it comes to health, there’s a better (and still Instagramable) option: matcha.

While its roots date back centuries in China and Japan, this type of green tea is certainly seeing a resurgence across America.

“For the past several years, matcha has boomed in popularity, and there is no slowing down,” says Patricia Bannan, a Los Angeles-based registered dietitian nutritionist and healthy cooking expert.

The global matcha market is expected to be worth an eye-popping $1.97 billion in 2025, based on a Market Watch report. For comparison, it was valued at just over $1.39 billion in 2018.

Matcha’s growth may have to do with its myriad health benefits and the fact that consumers see it as a solid substitute for coffee.

And unlike in decades past, matcha is readily available. “You can find matcha everywhere from coffee shops to local grocery stores in everything from matcha teas, lattes, shots, and even desserts,” says Bannan.

Grab yourself a drink (matcha latte, anyone?) and get ready to learn why matcha is healthy and how its caffeine content stacks up to other drinks.

What is matcha tea?

Matcha may be green (a really bright, beautiful shade at that), but it’s not the same as steeped green tea.

It’s made by grinding young green tea leaves into a fine powder. That’s the matcha powder you can buy. You’ll whisk the powder with hot water to make this cup of goodness.

The result is an earthy green drink with umami.

With traditional green tea, you steep the leaves in hot water, then remove them. But when drinking matcha, you consume the whole tea leaves—along with all of their nutrients.

Matcha benefits

It’s pretty and delicious and a good caffeinated alternative to coffee, but the best reason to drink matcha? To boost your health.

Regular matcha consumption may reduce the risk for cancer and heart disease, help with managing weight and blood sugar, and support brain health, immunity, and anti-aging efforts.

Yes, the matcha benefits do live up to the hype.

The tea provides health-protective bioactive compounds, like chlorophyll and the amino acid L-theanine. Plus, it offers a bit of vitamins A, C, and K, iron, and fiber.

But its antioxidants, including polyphenols and catechins, are the real health highlight. They’ll protect your health and may even prevent chronic diseases.

And matcha is loaded with them. That’s because you’re drinking the leaves, not just steeping them in water.

“Drinking the whole leaf provides antioxidants and health benefits at higher levels than other superfoods, such as acai berries or goji berries,” says Vandana Sheth, registered dietitian nutritionist and author of My Indian Table: Quick & Tasty Vegetarian Recipes.

Even compared with brewed green tea, matcha provides a more concentrated amount of good-for-you plant compounds.

“Matcha is among the most antioxidant-rich beverages in the world,” says Robin Foroutan, RDN, a New York City-based spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

“Matcha may have up to 137 times greater catechins per serving than other types of green tea,” adds Bannan.

How much caffeine is in matcha?

For some people, the caffeine in matcha is a boon, making it an alternative to coffee on days they’re dragging. For those who are sensitive to caffeine, it may be a drawback.

So how does the drink stack up?

“While matcha does have more caffeine than regular green tea, it generally has less than coffee,” says Bannan. “However, as with all teas and coffees, depending on how it’s brewed and how concentrated it is, the amount of caffeine can vary greatly.”

Here’s a quick look at how the caffeine content in a cup of matcha stacks up against other caffeinated beverages:

Caffeinated Beverages

Caffeine can benefit your health

Caffeine has benefits beyond that buzz. It’s a key reason why matcha has a distinctive, yet desirable, taste and aroma.

Caffeine actually acts as a powerful antioxidant in matcha. It can also potentially boost the other antioxidant properties of the beverage.

In general, caffeine is associated with potential anti-inflammatory effects and reduced oxidative stress, according to a 2017 study in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology.

Most adults can healthfully consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine daily. But it does have a downside.

Besides being a known central nervous system stimulant (that’s what makes you feel alert), caffeine is associated with an increase in stomach acid and may interfere with calcium absorption.

Some people may need to limit caffeine, such as those with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), sleep or anxiety disorders, high blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms, or chronic migraines.

Children, teens, and pregnant or breastfeeding women may also want to stick with decaf.

Caffeine in matcha offers extra benefits

Luckily, caffeine from matcha doesn’t seem to make people as jittery as caffeine from coffee.

“While coffee can be a bit speedy, I love matcha for its calming energy,” says Foroutan. “The L-theanine found in matcha promotes calming neurotransmitter release, which together with a little bit of caffeine can help you focus better and feel energized.”

Recent research published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that the amino acid L-theanine may indeed improve attention.

Additionally, the caffeine effects of matcha “last longer because, when combined with L-theanine, it’s slowly released throughout the body,” says Sheth.

“When you don’t have that spike and crash with caffeine, and you’re having that gentle release, you’re feeling alert, but you’re not left feeling jumpy,” she says.

Sorry, coffee lovers. Coffee beans don’t have this unique amino acid.

Woman preparing matcha latte at homeWestend61/Getty Images

The way you make matcha affects its caffeine

Factors out of your control can affect the caffeine content of matcha, including the age of the leaves (older leaves have less caffeine) and the agricultural conditions in which the leaves were grown.

But you do have some control over what happens after that when you make matcha at home.

Water temp

There seems to be a “Goldilocks” temperature for the water in which to whisk matcha powder.

Research published in a 2020 issue of Foods suggests that the most antioxidant potential of matcha is associated with a brewing temp of 194° F.

A study in the Journal of Food Science and Technology found that most of the caffeine may be extracted from steeped green tea by brewing at 185° F for three minutes.

So, in practical terms, if you aim for between 175° F and 200° F, you’ll be around the beneficial range. But don’t go over that. The catechins and vitamin C in matcha may lessen at higher brewing temperatures.

A food thermometer can help you gauge the water temp.

Brewing time

Will letting your matcha powder sit longer in hot water boost (or lessen) the caffeine level? Nope.

Caffeine is stable, so once you’ve fully whisked the matcha powder into steamy water, it’s ready to drink. You don’t need to wait after brewing.

You also don’t have to chug your drink before the caffeine degrades. It won’t break down over time.

In other words, you can sip matcha slowly and mindfully while still getting all of the eye-opening benefits from its caffeine.

Amount of matcha

How much matcha powder you use makes a difference in the caffeine content of your drink. The more matcha, the more caffeine.

Typically, matcha aficionados use 1 teaspoon of matcha powder for a cup of matcha tea.

But there’s another way to prepare the drink: into koicha, a thick matcha. This version uses twice the amount of powder. That also means it has double the caffeine (and double the antioxidant benefits).

Can you buy decaf matcha?

If you want to get the benefits of matcha (and the delicious taste!) but don’t want the caffeine, you’re in luck.

“Recently, some decaf matcha powders have become available that have lower amounts of caffeine,” says Bannan.

Some decaffeinated powders to try include:

You can also try a matcha alternative known as sencha. This isn’t exactly the same thing as matcha—the tea leaves are grown with different methods—but it can offer you another option if you can’t drink caffeine.

“Sencha powder is usually marketed as a low-caffeine matcha,” says Foroutan. “Some companies also use a water-based decaffeination process to further remove caffeine, which is preferable to a chemical-based decaffeination process.”

And don’t forget about simple math. “You can also use less matcha powder in whatever you are making to automatically reduce the caffeine content,” says Bannan.

You can have your matcha and drink it too

Matcha is a healthy and delicious choice for everyone. (Yes, even if your morning begins with a cup of steeped tea or coffee.)

If you’re interested in trying it, try swapping a  cup of Joe or traditional tea with matcha.

“Whether you are using matcha to make a tea or adding it to your smoothie or baked goods, look for certified organic varieties for maximum health benefits,” says Bannan.

And try Foroutan’s favorite way to do matcha: as a matcha latte, preferably iced.

“I make it with ceremonial-grade matcha, almond milk, and a tiny bit of maple syrup for sweetness,” says Foroutan. “I also sometimes add a few drops of rose water if I’m in the mood for something exotic.”

Next, learn about matcha in skin care.