Difference Between Matcha and Green Tea

Main Difference – Matcha vs Green Tea

Tea is considered as one of the most popular natural beverage after water. There are four types of teas available in the market known as green tea, black tea, Oolong tea and white tea. Among these tea types, green tea is considered to be more nutritious, and is also associated with a number of health benefits. Green tea is further categorized into different groups such as Sencha (normal green tea), Gyokuro, Kabusecha, Bancha, Konacha, Matcha, etc. Among these tea types, matcha and green tea are two popular teas in Japan. Identifying the difference between matcha and green tea can be challenging. In general, the most common green tea in Japan is made using the first and second flushes from leaves that are exposed directly to sunlight. In contrast, matcha is powdered green tea, and it is very expensive compared to green tea. It is used principally in the Japanese tea ceremony. It is also a widespread flavor of ice cream and other sweets in Japan. This is the main difference between matcha and green tea. In addition, green tea and matcha have different sensory and nutritional properties, and this article explores the difference between matcha and green tea.

What is Green Tea

Green tea is originated from leaves of Camellia sinensis, and they are also known as minimally oxidized tea.  It was first originated in China, and now its production has spread over many countries over the world. There are numerous varieties of green tea, which differ extensively due to growing conditions, time of harvest, horticulture, and production processing. Green tea is very popular in Japan and is normally known simply as “tea.” Japanese green tea is originated from the Yabukita cultivar of the camellia sinensis. In order to produce Japanese green tea, tea leaves are steamed, thereby helping them to achieve a more vegetative or leafy taste. Tea derived from young leaves is known as sencha whereas tea derived from the more mature, larger leaves are known as bancha.

Difference Between Matcha and Green Tea

What is Matcha

Matcha is very finely powdered green tea of specifically cultivated and processed tea. The green tea plants used for matcha production are shade-grown for around three weeks before yield gathering, and the stems and veins are removed during processing of matcha. Thus, this special green tea type is principally a form of complete green tea leaves with a high amount of theanine and chlorophyll. The flavour and colour of matcha are controlled by its amino acids and chlorophyll respectively. The matcha is mainly used in the traditional Japanese tea cultural centers for their traditional tea ceremony preparations. In addition, nowadays matcha is also used  as a flavor and dye ingredients in food applications  such as different noodle preparations, green tea ice cream and a variety of Japanese confectionery productions. The matcha has a sweeter and deeper flavour than the standard green teas.  

Main Difference - Matcha vs Green Tea

Difference Between Matcha and Green Tea

Green tea and matcha may have substantially different properties and applications. These differences may include,

Production Process

In Green tea production, the first and second flushes of tea leaves are exposed to sunlight and sometimes they have been steamed two times to give them a deeper color and excellent flavor. This is the most common green tea production process in Japan.

In Matcha production, de-veined and de-stemmed tea leaves are dried outside in the shade and are never exposed to sunlight. Then dried leaves are stone-ground to a fine powder using the specially designed granite stone mills.

Shading Condition  During Cultivation

Green tea  is not produced by tea that is  grown under the shade.

Matcha is made by tea that is grown under the shade because this can help to increase amino acid levels (Theanine) and caffeine in the tea leaves and to decrease bitter compounds such as catechins, thereby giving a sweet taste. As a result, matcha has a distinct aroma.

Japanese Tea Ceremony

Green tea is not used in Japanese tea ceremony.

Matcha is the key ingredient in Japanese tea ceremony.

Polyphenols and Antioxidant Activity

Green tea contains more catechins and may be more powerful in antioxidant effect.

Matcha contains less catechin compared to green tea and may be less powerful in antioxidant effect.

Chlorophyll Levels

Green tea contains less chlorophyll content compared to matcha.

Matcha contains more chlorophyll pigments compared to green tea.

Amino Acid Content

Green tea contains less amino acid content compared to matcha.

Matcha contains more amino acids, theanine, in particular, compared to green tea. Theanine directly contributes to flavor.

Flavour Profile

Green tea is less sweet and the flavor is not as intense as  matcha.

Matcha has more intense sweetness and deeper flavour than green tea.


Green tea is less expensive compared to matcha.

Matcha is more expensive compared to green tea.

In conclusion, both Matcha and green tea are completely different types of teas. The biggest difference is that the tea leaf itself is completely different in cultivation, nutrients, processing and taste.Difference Between Matcha and Green Tea - infographic


Hartley L, Flowers N, Holmes J, Clarke A, Stranges S, Hooper L, Rees K (June 2013). Green and black tea for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (PDF). Cochrane Database Syst Rev (Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis)

Heiss, Mary Lou and Heiss, Robert J. (2007), The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide, Ten Speed Press, pp. 179–185.

Tsutsui Hiroichi, Tea-drinking Customs in Japan, paper in Seminar Papers: The 4th International Tea Culture Festival. Korean Tea Culture Association, 1996.


Image Courtesy:

“Green Tea” by JD (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

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