The Green Team: What Is the Difference Between Matcha and Green Tea?
Green tea has been around for what seems like forever. Matcha is the new kid on the block.
However, there is no denying that there are certain similarities between the two teas – like their color!
So, what is the difference between matcha and green tea?
Is there even a variation?
To find the answers to these questions, here is what you need to know…
What is Matcha?
Now, it is pretty clear what green tea is, but it isn't always obvious what matcha is.
For instance, is matcha a kind of green tea? Or, is the reverse true – is all green tea matcha?
Well, matcha is actually a form of green tea.
It is grown in a similar manner to most green teas.
The only difference is that matcha green tea leaves are grown in shade a few weeks before the harvest.
Furthermore, once the green leaves have been steamed, dried, and then heated in ovens, they are ground into a fine powder.
With green tea, the leaves are either cut up into smaller pieces or are left whole.
White Matcha vs. Green Matcha
There have been some mentions of white matcha, although this tea hasn’t really taken ahold of the market yet.
So, how does white matcha differ from green matcha? And, does white match have any ties to green tea?
Once again, the information available on white matcha is limited. However, it is a powder that is made from white tea.
Thus, it less oxidized than both matcha and green tea.
Difference Between Matcha and Sencha
As you may be aware, there are different types of green tea.
Sencha is one of these varieties.
Now, many people confuse sencha and matcha – not only are they both green teas but they also sound rather similar too.
So, what is the difference between these two?
Well, sencha, like other green teas is grown in the sun.
Once it has been harvested, it is steamed.
The resulting flavor is light and sparkling.
As with most other green teas, sencha is brewed with whole leaves.
While there is sencha powder, it doesn’t have the same taste or texture as matcha.
Green Tea Powder vs. Matcha – Are They the Same?
More recently, green tea powder has also made an appearance on the market.
So, does this mean that this powder and matcha are the same?
No, they are not.
This is because not all green tea powders are matcha.
For one thing, matcha is almost only grown in Japan.
Furthermore, for green tea powder to be considered matcha, it also has to be shade grown for a specific period of time.
Thus, if a tea is labeled as “green tea powder”, it probably isn't matcha.
Matcha Green Tea Powder vs. Green Tea Bags
Does the same logic apply for matcha and green tea bags?
Yes, it does.
Green tea bags may contain smaller fragments of tea leaves, but they are still from sun grown teas.
Not to mention, the fannings in tea bags are still not powdery enough to form the same frothy drink as matcha powder does.
Matcha Tea Bags vs. Powder
Just when you thought you had seen it all, there are now matcha tea bags on the market as well.
So, what are these and how do they differ from the traditional matcha powder?
Well, the matcha tea bags are of a lower quality, but do tend to be cheaper than matcha powder.
However, you can’t enjoy the same creamy, frothy taste as with the powder.
Not to mention, the health benefits may not be the same either.
This should help to clear up any confusion that you may have regarding matcha and green tea.
While they may seem like they are one and the same, this isn't the case at all.
Now that you are aware of this, you can make your choices a great deal more carefully.
Dr. Dheena Sadik
Consultant Nutritionist and Dietician
Dr. Dheena Sadik is a consultant Nutritionist and Dietician. She has over a decade of experience in the health and fitness industry. However, her love for tea began long before she understood the health benefits of tea. Growing up in Sri Lanka, Dheena had the privilege of being surrounded by the world-famous Ceylon tea. This is what got her started on her exploration of the various types of tea. She has now extensively tasted and examined teas from all over the world.