Are all green teas created equal? We compare the benefits of matcha green tea powder, sencha and loose leaf.
You’ve probably heard the hype around green tea – plenty of health benefits and none of the calories. However, if you’ve ever tried to make sense of the world of green tea, you’re probably aware of the sheer amount of options out there. So which is the best? We’re pitting 3 of the greats against each other – Matcha vs Sencha vs Loose Leaf. Who will prevail?
We’ll start with the brightest of the bunch (literally!) Matcha is a powdered tea that’s super bright green. It produces a creamy drink with an earthy taste that doesn’t leave any strong aftertaste. Matcha is different from Sencha in that it’s grown in the shade – and the stems and veins of the leaves are removed before they’re ground into powder.
- Matcha is high in caffeine, so you can replace your morning coffee with it and still get that energy burst you need.
- Since it’s grown in the shade, Matcha is high in an antioxidant called ‘L-Theanine’ – think of it as a natural relaxant. It’ll mellow you out, so you don’t get those post-caffeine jitters. Bonus – it also promotes fat loss!
- It’s jam-packed full of antioxidants – 10x the amount in loose-leaf green tea! This is due to its powdered form – you are consuming the whole leaf, rather than just soaking them in water. So, you reap 100% of the benefits!
- It boosts your metabolism – and it’s practically calorie-free, so it’s great if you’re trying to shed the pounds.
- All green tea contains Catechins – they’re more concentrated in powdered tea. Catechins are cancer-fighting antioxidants – little superheroes for your body!
- The antioxidants in Matcha help reduce the risk of bloating – a super easy remedy to beat the bloat.
- As Matcha comes as a powder, you’re not just limited to making it into tea. Matcha can be used in cooking, baking and even to make lattes!
Sencha can be bought in powder form, but is more often found as leaves – mostly in teabags. It’s a much darker green than Matcha, and has a refreshing but sharp taste. It’s said to have a bitter and sharp aftertaste. Unlike Matcha, Sencha is grown in direct sunlight.
- It’s full of antioxidants and barely any calories, so it’s great for you.
- As Sencha is grown in direct sunlight, it has more Vitamin C and E than Matcha – so it’s extra helpful for your skin and immune system. Think of it like a mini dermatologist in a mug!
- Sencha has slightly more catechins (those amazing cancer-fighting antioxidants) than Matcha, due to being grown in direct sunlight.
- Sencha has a slightly lower caffeine content than Matcha.
- If you buy Sencha as powder, you’ll experience much more benefits than if you use the leaves. You consume every part of the leaf when using the powder, instead of just the water the leaf was soaked in
Loose-Leaf Green Tea
This is the most commonly found form of green tea. As the name suggests, it comes in leaf form – either loose or in tea bags. You steep the leaves in boiling water and – tah dah! – you have green tea. Compared to both Matcha and Sencha, this tea can look fairly dull and almost brown. It has a sharp taste with a bitter aftertaste that some definitely find unpleasant. Remember, you can sweeten it up however you like!
- It has some level of caffeine – definitely not as much as your morning cup of coffee – but it can still leave you feeling jittery.
- It still contains immune-boosting antioxidants and cancer-fighting catechins, just in lower amounts than Matcha or Sencha.
- Having a teabag of green tea to pop in your mug in the morning is much easier than measuring out the right amount of powder into the correct temperature water. If you’re always on the go, loose-leaf might be right for you!
- To steep the leaves and make tea, you have to use boiling water. This destroys some of the leaves’ nutritional benefits. You also throw most of the leaf away after steeping – all those antioxidants down the drain!
- It’s much kinder on your wallet than Matcha – you can get loose-leaf tea fairly cheaply.
So, there you have it. Matcha seems like the winner, with Sencha coming in close second. If you’re strapped for cash, loose-leaf still has some of the great benefits, at a lower cost. As a side note for all you bulletproof coffee fans out there – Matcha can be turned into Bulletproof Tea! Will you be splashing the cash for Matcha, or will you stick to good old loose-leaf? Let us know your thoughts!
This article was edited from its original version published on 26/09/2016