Matcha vs Coffee vs Energy Tea
This guide compares matcha vs coffee vs energy tea to find out which is the best of these highly caffeinated drinks! We'll be exploring our delicious hot and ready to drink energy tea along with matcha green tea and coffee to discover which is best for your first morning cup.
How will coffee compare to green teas for health benefits and energy levels? Is there such a thing as too much coffee? What exactly is energy tea?
Keep reading to find out.
The Quick Answer
If you don't have time to read our full guide, here's what you need to know.
Coffee typically has around 90mg per cup, or around 60mg per espresso shot.1 Despite the high caffeine content, it lacks a certain amino acid for calm and focused energy. As a result, coffee is good for quickly boosting your energy... but beware the 3pm caffeine crash!
A standard cup of matcha green tea, made with a single scoop of powder, can provide anywhere from 38mg-176 mg of caffeine with an average of around 80mg.2 Matcha also contains L-Theanine to promote calmness, alertness and focus. However, the main drawback to matcha is the lengthy preparation and acquired taste.
Zest Energy Tea is also made from the Camellia sinensis plant. Using additional tea extract, a cup or can of Zest provides up to 150mg of caffeine. Like matcha, it contains L-Theanine for focus. Our energy teas come in a range of flavors and are all zero sugar or low sugar. They're perfect for replacing your morning cup of coffee.
For more help working out how to ditch coffee, read our article How to Replace Coffee with Energy Tea.
For a deeper dive into the energy levels, effects, and health benefits of each beverage, keep reading!
Matcha tea is a form of green tea. It's actually a powdered green tea. This is the key difference between matcha powder and standard green tea - the matcha is whisked directly into hot water while the green tea leaves are simply infused and then discarded before drinking.
Drinking matcha involves consuming the entire tea leaf. As a result, you're consuming all of the nutrients, caffeine, amino acids and antioxidants that are present in the tea leaf. That's how it provides so much more caffeine than standard green tea despite being made from the same plant leaf. Read our Guide to Green Tea Energy to learn more.
This magical green powder is traditionally consumed just whisked into water, but it can also be made into a latte - just replace the espresso shot with a concentrated form of matcha tea. Making your own matcha or matcha latte is preferable to purchasing it ready-to-drink, as it allows you to monitor (or completely remove) any added sugar content.
In terms of an energy boost, this bright green powder is totally winning the matcha vs coffee competition. Despite coffee having more caffeine, the power of these powdered green tea leaves shouldn't be underestimated.
With 80mg of caffeine per cup on average, this is only marginally less than a shot of espresso. Furthermore, matcha is made from tea leaves that are shade grown. This is important, as shade grown leaves retain significantly more L-Theanine.3
This formula of high caffeine and high L-Theanine ensures a long-lasting, smooth energy boost that helps you feel calm, focused and even creative too. L-Theanine can also reduce the caffeine crash, letting you naturally drift down to natural energy levels in the afternoon.
Psst. The L-Theanine and caffeine combination is what we use to make energy tea!
Matcha's health benefits are similar to those of green tea, however with more L-Theanine, high levels of caffeine, and fewer catechins, there are some noteworthy differences.
The health benefits of matcha include:
- Enhanced weight loss. One study found that matcha enhanced fat oxidation when consumed before a 30-minute walk.4
- High caffeine levels can help you push your workout further, so you can burn calories, build muscle, or work on your endurance more effectively.
- Matcha may also improve cognitive function and protect against cognitive decline in the elderly.5
As well as containing valuable antioxidants, matcha is a source of EGCG which is linked to heart health, brain health, and anti-cancer effects. To learn more about the health benefits of matcha, read our article Understanding Matcha Tea Caffeine.
Matcha is high in L-Theanine and relatively high in caffeine, although energy tea and certain coffee beverages may contain more. The main drawback to drinking green tea as matcha is the slightly bitter taste. High-quality ceremonial grade matcha can have a subtle grassy sweetness, but the astringency and umami notes can be an acquired taste nonetheless.
Furthermore, making matcha traditionally involves a bamboo whisk and plenty of practice to get the whisking motion perfected. Even when you switch to using an electric whisk, matcha requires more prep and clean up than brewing coffee or opening a can of energy tea.
Both coffee in espresso format and brewed coffee taste rich, roasty and comforting. But drinking too much coffee can leave you feeling jittery with uncontrollable energy.
Made from coffee beans - the dried and roasted cherry fruit of the coffee plant, either Arabica or Robusta - black coffee is high in caffeine and polyphenols including chlorogenic acid. It also provides smaller amounts of riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and potassium.6
Drinking coffee is the most popular way to re-energize in the US, with approximately 400 million cups of coffee consumed daily.7
While coffee consumption is enjoyable for both the flavor and energy boost, it does not provide a source of L-Theanine. As a result, your eight ounce cup of coffee hits very differently to an eight ounce cup of matcha or energy tea.
A double shot of espresso in a latte or other milk beverage is the most highly caffeinated, with around 120mg total. The milk doesn't contribute to or negate any of the caffeine in the espresso shots.
A typical cup of instant coffee provides around 60mg, and a brewed cup (e.g. with a French press or drip coffee carafe) provides around 90mg of caffeine. Decaf coffee is rarely caffeine free, with just a few milligrams of caffeine lingering in your cup - not enough to have a notable impact on your energy levels though.8
Without L-Theanine, all of these coffee beverages come on very quickly and fade just as fast a few hours later. You might also find that too much coffee makes you jittery and even anxious.
Despite being an unwise choice of beverage for energy, a cup of coffee does have some noteworthy health benefits. For example:
- Habitual coffee consumption may be good for your heart health, with a decreased risk of cardiovascular death, heart attack, and stroke.9
- One study found that an increase in coffee consumption of 1 cup per day resulted in a 3% reduction in melanoma (skin cancer) risk.10
- Regularly consuming coffee may reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Scientists hypothesize that this may be due to how coffee maintains proper liver and beta cell function over the long term.11
Coffee, altogether, has both benefits and drawbacks. While drinking coffee may be great for your heart, it's not so good for your blood pressure in the short term. Furthermore, a sugary latte or ready-to-drink iced coffee can be full of sugars that spike your blood sugar and have an overall negative effect on your health.
And let's not forget that coffee stains teeth just as well as black tea!
Overall, due to the lack of amino acid L-Theanine, coffee does not provide a desirable energy boost compared to both matcha and energy tea.
Compared to matcha, coffee beans, and other tea types, energy tea gets a bad reputation. And while it's true that some high caffeine energy drinks are full of sugars, chemicals and ingredients that just aren't good for you, not all beverages are like that!
With more caffeine than both matcha and coffee, Zest Energy Tea is made with natural tea leaves, plucked from non-GMO tea bushes, as well as natural ingredients like fruit pieces and spices.
Our energy line is made up of hot teas and ready to drink beverages that we call energy tea. These black tea and green tea drinks have a high caffeine content that we achieve by using additional tea extract. We also add either a touch of stevia leaf or pure cane sugar to taste, while still keeping the calories super low. There's nothing artificial in sight!
Compared to matcha and coffee, you have a much wider range of flavors to choose from if you opt for energy tea. Furthermore, you have convenience on your side as well - just crack open a can wherever you are.
Energy teas also have multiple health benefits.
One cup of Zest hot tea, made with hot water, contains 135mg to 150mg of caffeine. This is roughly 3x the levels of other green teas and black teas.
As for our ready to drink beverages, there's 120mg to 150mg of caffeine per serving here too.
All our products also contain L-Theanine, to balance the energy and smooth over the onset. It creates a calmer feeling, helping you focus and concentrate at work, university, or on a hike or workout. L-Theanine also has numerous health benefits that are unique to tea.
Both matcha and Zest Energy Tea utilize this amino acid for creating a better energy boost, as it's found naturally in tea leaves. The key difference is that Zest provides significantly more caffeine.
With L-Theanine, high caffeine content, and antioxidants, energy tea (whether it's made with green tea or black tea) can greatly benefit the human body.
- L-Theanine can lower blood pressure that may spike when you're feeling anxious, even when combined with caffeine which can raise blood pressure by itself.12
- Catechins, specific antioxidants found in most tea types but primarily green tea, have anti-cancer effects and show promise for potentially preventing lung cancer, breast cancer, esophageal cancer, stomach cancer, liver cancer and prostate cancer.13
- Regularly drinking tea could prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.14
- L-Theanine promotes alpha waves in the brain, which creates relaxing feelings without drowsiness. In fact, these alpha waves can also improve alertness to help you focus more efficiently.15
Unlike the matcha taste, energy tea can be made with a variety of different flavors. For example, our ready to drink Blood Orange Mango is juicy and tropical. If you want something more robust, then our Sweet Chai Infusion has a great spiciness to it.
Furthermore, while matcha has less caffeine than some coffee beverages, even in a concentrated form, energy tea consistently provides more caffeine than coffee. With up to 150mg of caffeine per serving, it's the most highly caffeinated option.
So, what are the drawbacks?
The biggest problem with energy tea is the close association with sugary energy drinks. Thankfully, a closer look at the ingredients list can quickly clear up this confusion - Zest is low to no sugar and totally non-GMO.
Another drawback is the lack of a ritual. Preparing matcha or brewing a pot of coffee can be a comforting process in the morning - ready to drink iced energy tea is ready to go straight out of the fridge.
For those that prefer a hot drink in the morning, with a short brewing ritual to wake the senses, check out our hot energy teabags instead.
Is matcha better for you than coffee?
Both coffee and matcha have their own distinct benefits. They also both contain high amounts of caffeine, which can be detrimental to your health. However, the L-Theanine that's found in green tea (including both green tea matcha and Zest energy tea) can negate the jitters and anxiety that caffeine produces. For that reason, we believe that matcha is the better energizing drink over coffee.
Does matcha have as much caffeine as coffee?
Both coffee and matcha tea are high in caffeine. It varies depending on how the beverage is prepared. A cup of matcha made with a single scoop of powder contains 80mg of caffeine on average. Meanwhile, a single shot of espresso contains around 60mg of caffeine and a cup of brewed coffee contains around 90mg of caffeine.
Can I replace coffee beans with matcha?
You can certainly replace coffee with matcha in the mornings - just watch out for the astringency of this green tea, which can upset an empty stomach. Have something for breakfast beforehand to negate this.
You can also quite literally replace the coffee element of your morning beverage with matcha. If you're making a latte, for example, you can use a shot of matcha powder and hot water instead of a shot of espresso made with coffee beans.
Can you drink matcha tea in the mornings?
Absolutely. You can add matcha or energy tea to your morning routine, as they both provide a good amount of caffeine to wake you up.
Is matcha better for you than green tea?
Matcha contains high amounts of both caffeine and L-Theanine, which come with a range of benefits for your health (read about those in our article above). However, as matcha tea is made from shade-grown tea leaves, it has fewer catechins overall. One important catechin that's linked to numerous benefits is EGCG - this is more present in other green teas than matcha. So, both types have benefits for your health which are similar but won't entirely overlap.