In the last few years, more and more people have been joining the movement back to our ancestor’s natural ways of living and eating. This means more herbal supplements and natural foods are being consumed. With so many varieties of the organic and natural foods in the grocery and supermarket shelves, so is the confusion on which ones are best for us.
The traditional green tea drank in and shipped out of Japan is Sencha and Matcha. Even though both are categorized as green tea, they are very different from each other. There have been arguments about which one is greater than the other, however, each type has its unique health benefits and taste and varies with the form (loose leaf or powder). The way each type is cultivated and processed plays a big role in its final taste and nutrition. And for the loose leaf, the water temperature and infusion duration causes variations. Here are some key differences between the two:
1. Nutrient Content
Compared to brewed green tea, Matcha is more beneficial since no nutrients are left in the leaf. Since it is powdered tea, all the nutrients including the water-insoluble vitamin C. The fact that Sencha is grown in direct sunlight, it contains vitamins C and E in higher amounts than Matcha which on the other hand is grown in the shade hence more vitamin B6.
2. Processed Size
Matcha green tea is stone ground making it very fine and allowing for 100% consumption of its health benefits. It can be used for cooking or baking since it is in powder form making this an excellent tea. Sencha, on the other hand, is available as loose leaf or coarse ground particles like what we get in tea bags.
Since matcha tea is powdered, it does not get sieved of filtered out during preparation. The entire leaf is consumed with all its nutrients in the fine powder. This makes it up to 15 times more potent in nutrition compared to Sencha which on the other hand is brewed then filtered out leaving only the soluble content in the water.
4. Catechin Content
Since Sencha grows in sunlight it tends to have a higher concentration of catechins, a form of antioxidants useful for your cell health and prevention of cancer development. Catechins are a unique polyphenol type that benefits your body by acting as an antioxidant and boosts metabolism too. Matcha does not compare in this case due to its very low levels of this important compound.
5. Calm Alertness
By being grown in the shade, Matcha tea contains more caffeine and L-theanine, the rare amino acid. This amino acid has calming effects that help increase focus and concentration. Consider this when studying for that exam or preparing a high power marketing presentation.
Given its higher caffeine contents, Matcha is known to give longer lasting energy levels for a productive day no matter what you want to do. This is the reason many people use it as a coffee substitute instead of just drinking the regular green tea.
The green tea matcha is super green though the other one, Sencha is dark green. The longer the time Matcha is grown in the shade, the lighter the green color.
Sencha has a sharp bitter taste whereas Matcha gives out an earthy taste that has a smooth, creamy texture since it is ground to powder.
Unless you are taking poor quality matcha with a sharp aftertaste, it leaves you with a pleasant aftertaste whereas Sencha has a bitter aftertaste that is astringent or fruity on your tongue when drank.
After deliberating on all the main benefits of the two green tea types, Matcha emerges the best. However, each tea variation has significant health benefits and should be considered for your cup. But when you compare it to powdered sencha then the tables are turned since the contents of sencha are much more superior as long as it can all be extracted by grinding to a powder instead of brewing.
When looked at another way, both tea types cannot be compared since it will be like comparing oranges to apples. They are cultivated, processed and prepared differently meaning there is little ground for comparison. They are both valuable in nutrition in unique ways.