Japanese matcha is a type of finely powdered green tea made from dried tea leaves. With its vibrant green color and vegetal taste, matcha may offer a variety of health benefits.
Matcha typically contains both L-theanine and caffeine. While caffeine can enhance alertness, in certain people it can also make it more difficult to feel calm. L-theanine may help to reduce this effect.
New to matcha?
Mix 1 teaspoon of the powder with 1 to 2 tablespoons of warm water to form a paste. Add it to a cup of hot liquid, like water or warmed milk (or try a plant milk, like oatmilk). Flavor this drink as you would a cup of tea. Or add the paste to your morning smoothie.
Dietz C, Dekker M, Piqueras-Fiszman B. An Intervention Study on the Effect of Matcha Tea, in Drink and Snack Bar Formats, on Mood and Cognitive Performance. Food Research International. 2017; 99:72-83.
Dietz, C and M Dekker. Effect of Green Tea Phytochemicals on Mood and Cognition. Current Pharmaceutical Design. 2017; 23(19): 2876-2905.
Dodd FL, Kennedy DO, Riby LM, Haskell-Ramsay CF. A Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study Evaluating the Effects of Caffeine and L-theanine Both Alone and in Combination on Cerebral Blood Flow, Cognition and Mood. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2015; 232(14):2563-2576.
Farooq S, and A Sehgal. Antioxidant Activity of Different Forms of Green Tea: Loose Leaf, Bagged and Matcha. Current Research in Nutrition and Food Science Journal. 2018;6(1):35-40. doi:10.12944/crnfsj.6.1.04
Giles, G et al. Caffeine and Theanine Exert Opposite Effects on Attention Under Emotional Arousal. Canadian Journal of Physiological Pharmacology. 2017; 95:93-100.
Jakubczyk K, Kochman J, Kwiatkowska A, et al. Antioxidant Properties and Nutritional Composition of Matcha Green Tea. Foods. 2020; 9(4):483.
Kimura K, Ozeki M, Juneja LR, Ohira H. l-Theanine Reduces Psychological and Physiological Stress Responses. Biological Psychology. 2007; 74(1):39-45.
Komes D, Horžić D, Belščak A, Ganić KK, Vulić I. Green Tea Preparation and its Influence on the Content of Bioactive Compounds. Food Research International. 2010; 43(1):167-176.
Unno K, Fujitani K, Takamori N, et al. Theanine Intake Improves the Shortened Lifespan, Cognitive Dysfunction and Behavioural Depression that are Induced by Chronic Psychosocial Stress in Mice. Free Radical Research. 2011; 45(8):966-974.
Unno K, Hara A, Nakagawa A, et al. Anti-stress Effects of Drinking Green tea with Lowered Caffeine and Enriched Theanine, Epigallocatechin and Arginine on Psychosocial Stress Induced Adrenal Hypertrophy in Mice. Phytomedicine. 2016; 23(12):1365-1374.
Weiss DJ, Anderton CR. Determination of Catechins in Matcha Green Tea by Micellar Electrokinetic Chromatography. Journal of Chromatography A. 2003; 1011(1-2):173-180.
By Heather Hu, MGH Dietetic Intern