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Does Matcha Make You Jittery? (Explained)

Unlike other teas, matcha involves consuming the whole tea leaf in powdered form, which means it packs a more concentrated dose of nutrients—and caffeine. This brings us to a common question: Does matcha make you jittery?

Matcha is also rich in L-theanine, an amino acid that promotes relaxation without drowsiness, creating a balanced energy boost without the jitters often associated with coffee. This unique combination has made matcha a favorite among those looking for sustained energy and focus.

Quick answer: Yes, matcha can make some individuals feel jittery due to its caffeine content. However, matcha contains a unique amino acid called L-theanine, which works together with caffeine to provide a more sustained and balanced energy boost without the rapid heart rate or nervousness often associated with other caffeinated drinks. The key to enjoying matcha’s benefits, including its rich antioxidants and ability to enhance focus, without experiencing jitters, lies in moderating intake, considering individual caffeine sensitivity, and adjusting the preparation method.

How Matcha Affects Your Body

Matcha, a finely ground powder made from specially grown and processed green tea leaves, offers a unique experience not just in flavor but also in the way it affects our bodies. The key to understanding matcha’s distinct impact lies in its combination of caffeine and L-theanine, a powerful duo that influences our energy levels and mental clarity in ways other caffeinated drinks do not.

Safe Caffeine Consumption
Image: Envato Elements

Caffeine in Matcha vs. Other Caffeinated Beverages

Caffeine is well-known for its ability to enhance alertness and focus. Matcha contains a relatively moderate amount of caffeine compared to coffee—typically around 70 mg in a standard serving compared to about 95 mg in an average cup of coffee. However, the experience of consuming caffeine from matcha is profoundly different due to the presence of L-theanine.

The Role of L-Theanine

L-theanine is an amino acid found almost exclusively in the tea plant and is particularly abundant in matcha. It is renowned for its ability to promote relaxation without sedation. In the context of matcha, L-theanine works synergistically with caffeine to enhance cognitive function, leading to a state of calm alertness.

This unique interaction helps mitigate the less desirable effects of caffeine, such as jitters or anxiety, often associated with coffee consumption. The result is a smoother, more sustained release of energy, allowing for increased focus and productivity without the abrupt crash or nervousness.

Scientific Studies Supporting Matcha’s Balanced Energy Effect

The research underscores the synergistic effects of caffeine and L-theanine in matcha. A study published in the journal Biological Psychology found that L-theanine alone could increase feelings of relaxation and reduce stress without causing drowsiness.

When combined with caffeine, L-theanine improved both speed and accuracy in attention-switching tasks and reduced susceptibility to distractions, according to research in the Journal of Nutrition and Intermediary Metabolism.

Further, a study in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that participants who consumed matcha reported enhanced memory, attention, and reaction time compared to those who consumed a placebo.

These benefits are attributed to the combined effects of caffeine, L-theanine, and the array of antioxidants found in matcha, suggesting that matcha can support cognitive health and well-being in a manner distinct from other caffeinated beverages.

Tips to Enjoy Matcha Without Getting Jittery

Enjoying matcha without experiencing jitters requires a thoughtful approach to how much you consume, when you consume it, and how you prepare it. By paying attention to these factors, you can maximize the benefits of matcha while minimizing any potential side effects like jitters or anxiety. Here are some tips to help you enjoy matcha in a way that’s both beneficial and enjoyable.

Recommended Daily Intake of Matcha

The caffeine content in matcha can vary, but a standard serving (about 1 teaspoon or 2 grams of matcha powder) typically contains 70-80 mg of caffeine. To enjoy matcha without getting jittery, it’s advisable to start with one serving per day, especially if you’re sensitive to caffeine.

Depending on your caffeine tolerance, you may adjust up to two servings per day. It’s essential to consider other sources of caffeine you might be consuming throughout the day to avoid excessive intake.

Best Times to Consume Matcha

Timing can significantly influence how your body responds to matcha. Consuming matcha in the morning or early afternoon can provide you with a sustained energy boost, enhancing your focus and productivity throughout the day.

It’s generally best to avoid matcha late in the evening, as its caffeine content might interfere with your sleep. If you’re using matcha as a pre-workout supplement, consuming it 30 minutes before your exercise can help enhance your concentration and endurance.

Prepare Matcha to Reduce Caffeine Intake
Image: Envato Elements

Alternative Ways to Prepare Matcha to Reduce Caffeine Intake

If you’re looking to enjoy matcha with less caffeine, there are a few preparation methods you can try:

  1. Dilute with More Water: Increase the amount of water used to prepare your matcha. This will dilute the caffeine concentration while still allowing you to enjoy the taste and benefits of matcha.
  2. Choose Culinary Grade Over Ceremonial Grade: Culinary-grade matcha typically has a slightly lower caffeine content than ceremonial-grade matcha. It’s ideal for cooking and making lattes, smoothies, or other recipes where matcha is mixed with other ingredients.
  3. Shorten Whisking Time: The longer you whisk or steep matcha, the more caffeine is extracted. By reducing the time you whisk your matcha, you can slightly lower the caffeine content in your drink.
  4. Mix with Other Teas: Consider blending matcha with caffeine-free herbal teas. This method allows you to enjoy the flavor and benefits of matcha while reducing the overall caffeine content of your beverage.

By following these tips, you can enjoy the unique benefits of matcha, including its rich flavor, antioxidant properties, and energy-boosting effects, without worrying about getting jittery. Remember, everyone’s sensitivity to caffeine is different, so it’s important to listen to your body and adjust your matcha intake accordingly.

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