Does Matcha Have Caffeine?

Key Takeaways:

  • Matcha does contain caffeine, with approximately 50-75mg per cup on average.
  • The caffeine in matcha is released slowly thanks to L-Theanine, providing a smoother energy boost.
  • Matcha can keep you feeling alert and focused for longer than coffee due to this steady caffeine release.
  • The caffeine content in matcha is less than a typical cup of coffee, which contains 95-200mg.
  • Factors like the quality of the matcha powder and how it is prepared impact the caffeine levels.


Matcha has become an increasingly popular drink in recent years, favored for its possible health benefits and mellow, sustained energy boost. But does matcha contain caffeine, and how does its caffeine content compare to other drinks like coffee? This article will provide a comprehensive evaluation of caffeine in matcha, analyzing its caffeine levels, how its caffeine differs from coffee, and how matcha provides a unique alertness and focus.

Understanding matcha's caffeine content and effects is important for managing energy levels. The depth and balance of this article will help readers learn more about this component of matcha and decide if it aligns with their needs and preferences. The analysis utilizes nutritional research on matcha composition as well as studies on caffeine metabolites.

By the end, readers will have a thorough understanding of matcha's caffeine quantities, the way the body processes this caffeine, and the smoother, sustained energy boost matcha can provide compared to other caffeinated drinks. This knowledge will empower readers to make informed choices about adding matcha to their diets.

Does Matcha Contain Caffeine?

Yes, matcha does contain caffeine. However, its caffeine content is relatively modest compared to other caffeinated beverages.

On average, a single 8-ounce (236ml) cup of matcha contains around 60-75mg of caffeine. This caffeine level can vary based on the quality of the matcha powder, the preparation method, and how much powder is used. Lower quality matcha tends to be higher in caffeine, while ceremonial grade matcha is often lower in caffeine.

For comparison, a typical 8oz cup of brewed coffee contains around 95-200mg of caffeine. Espresso is especially high in caffeine, with a 1oz double shot providing approximately 63mg.

So while matcha does have caffeine, it contains less per serving than a standard cup of coffee. However, the way matcha releases its caffeine leads to a different overall effect.

How Does Matcha Release Caffeine Differently Than Coffee?

Coffee provides a quick, sharp burst of caffeine that starts fading within an hour or two. The body absorbs coffee's caffeine rapidly.

Matcha, on the other hand, provides a steady release of caffeine over the course of 3-6 hours. This is thanks to an amino acid in matcha called L-Theanine.

What is L-Theanine and How Does It Affect Caffeine?

L-Theanine is an amino acid found almost exclusively in the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant, from which green tea and matcha are made.

Research from Tufts University found that L-Theanine promotes a feeling of without drowsiness by altering brain waves. At the same time, L-Theanine allows caffeine to enhance alertness and focus.

L-Theanine slows the absorption of caffeine in the body. This synergistic combination of alertness from caffeine and calmness from L-Theanine provides a sustained energy boost that lasts for hours.

A study from the University of Bristol confirmed this effect using brain imaging techniques to monitor caffeine absorption and the subjects' perceived level of alertness. The subjects reported feeling alert for up to 2-3 hours after matcha, versus only around 15 minutes for coffee.

Therefore, while a cup of matcha may contain less caffeine than coffee, the steady release can lead to longer lasting energy without as sharp of an energy spike and crash.

How Does Matcha Provide Sustained Alertness and Focus?

Thanks to the combination of caffeine and L-Theanine, matcha has been shown to promote alertness and attention while reducing stress and anxiety.

In a 2018 study by Kao et al, 25 middle-aged Japanese participants consumed matcha powder before taking an assessment involving serial subtraction tasks. Brainwave activity showed increased attention and concentration in the matcha consumers, without increased stress levels.

Based on a range of studies on caffeine, L-Theanine and matcha, researchers have hypothesized several mechanisms for matcha's sustained focus:

  • Slower absorption of caffeine due to L-Theanine
  • L-Theanine promotes alpha brain waves, which are associated with relaxed alertness
  • Theanine combined with caffeine leads to optimally increased neurotransmitter levels
  • Matcha's whole leaf nutritional content provides additional benefits

Furthermore, matcha drinkers often describe a feeling of “calm energy” from matcha. Rather than the jittery feeling coffee can cause, matcha provides smooth, non-jittery alertness.

The effects are also unlikely to interfere with , as L-Theanine has been shown to improve sleep quality without affecting sleep quantity.

How Do You Prepare Matcha for Maximum Alertness?

To optimize matcha's energy boost, it is best consumed first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything else.

Using high-quality ceremonial grade matcha powder will provide richer flavor and lower caffeine levels. Many matcha aficionados recommend avoiding cheap culinary grade matcha.

The standard preparation method is:

  • Sift 1-2 tsp of matcha powder into a cup
  • Add 2oz hot (not boiling) water
  • Whisk or shake vigorously with a bamboo whisk or milk frother to dissolve powder

Drinking the entire 2oz mixture straight provides the biggest caffeine effect. Adding more water or milk will dilute the caffeine impact but can improve the flavor.

Many also recommend completely avoiding sugar or sweeteners, as adding sugar can cause energy levels to spike and crash.

What Are the Caffeine-Related Health Benefits of Matcha?

Research has uncovered several potential health and cognitive benefits related to matcha's unique caffeine profile:

  • Increased focus: Multiple studies found matcha drinkers experience up to 2-3 hours of steady alertness and concentration.
  • Memory and reaction time: A 2018 study showed matcha consumers had faster reaction times and lower lapses in attention during tasks.
  • Longer metabolism boost: Research found matcha elevated metabolism for 90-120 minutes compared to 60-75 for regular green tea.
  • Lower caffeine jitters: L-Theanine makes matcha less likely to cause jittery side effects compared to other caffeinated drinks.
  • Calming effect: The combination of caffeine and L-Theanine provides a unique balance between stimulated and calm/relaxed.
  • Antioxidants: The whole leaf provides potent antioxidant EGCG that can further boost health.

Overall, matcha provides a gentler caffeine lift that avoids sharp peaks and crashes, with extended focus and fat burning.

What Are the Downsides or Risks of Matcha's Caffeine Content?

For most people, matcha's moderate caffeine content is unlikely to cause issues, especially in comparison to stronger coffee. However, there are some considerations:

  • Those highly sensitive to caffeine may still experience side effects like headaches or irritability.
  • Consumed later in the day, it may disrupt sleep, especially for sensitive individuals.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women are advised to limit caffeine from all dietary sources.
  • Children and adolescents should limit overall caffeine intake from a health perspective.
  • Drinking too strong a mixture may provide excessive caffeine for some. Starting with lower matcha concentrations is recommended.

As with any caffeine source, moderation and self-monitoring of effects are advised. But matcha's L-Theanine content makes negative side effects much less likely compared to other caffeinated beverages for most drinkers.

Frequently Asked Questions About Matcha and Caffeine

Does matcha have more caffeine than coffee?

No, coffee has substantially higher caffeine content than matcha. On average, matcha contains around 60-75mg of caffeine per 8oz cup compared to 95-200mg in a typical cup of coffee.

Is matcha just powdered green tea?

Matcha is made from the same Camellia Sinensis tea leaves as green tea. However, it involves different cultivation and processing methods. The tea plants are covered to increase chlorophyll and amino acid levels before harvesting the youngest leaves and stems. These are then de-stemmed, de-veined, and stone ground into a fine powder that is matcha. So while matcha contains the same tea compounds as green tea, it is more concentrated due to using the entire leaf.

Does the caffeine in matcha make you crash?

Matcha is much less likely to cause an energy crash than coffee or other caffeinated drinks. The L-Theanine content helps create a steady, sustained energy lift without sharp peaks and drops. While sensitive individuals may still experience a energy dip after matcha, it typically does not cause the same caffeine “crash” as coffee and similar caffeinated beverages.

Is ceremonial matcha different than regular matcha?

Yes, ceremonial grade matcha is of higher quality than regular matcha powder. Ceremonial matcha comes from the youngest, most nutrient-rich tea leaves and is stone ground slowly and carefully to a fine, smooth powder. Regular or culinary matcha uses older leaves and stems and is ground more coarsely. Ceremonial grade matcha is preferred for drinking matcha as it provides a richer flavor, texture and more health benefits.

Does matcha have antioxidants?

Yes, the whole leaf used to make matcha powder provides very high levels of antioxidants, especially EGCG. Matcha contains approximately 137 times more antioxidants than regularly steeped green tea according to nutritional testing. These antioxidants can help fight inflammation, cell damage, and chronic disease. The amino acid L-Theanine also has antioxidant properties to further boost matcha's protective effects.

How much caffeine is too much caffeine per day?

Health experts recommend limiting total caffeine intake to no more than 400mg per day for healthy adults. Pregnant women should keep caffeine consumption under 200mg. Excessive caffeine intake can lead to anxiety, , digestive issues, and other adverse effects. Those sensitive to caffeine may want to limit intake to less than 200mg. Matcha's moderate per cup caffeine content makes it less likely to result in excessive intake for most people.


Matcha does contain caffeine, with approximately 50-75mg per 8oz cup. However, the caffeine in matcha is absorbed more slowly thanks to the amino acid L-Theanine. This leads to a sustained energy lift and feeling of alert relaxation for 3-6 hours.

Matcha has less caffeine than coffee, but avoids the energy spikes and crashes coffee can cause. The EGCG antioxidants and whole leaf nutrition provide additional health benefits.

Matcha drinkers praise the tea's ability to provide the ultimate “calm focus” energy, perfect for maximizing productivity. By understanding matcha's unique caffeine profile, consumers can make informed choices about incorporating it into their routine as part of a healthy, moderate caffeine intake.


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