Matcha vs Chai

Matcha vs Chai: Which is healthier?

With fantastic healing benefits and an array of tastes, it’s no secret why tea and its hybrid superfoods, matcha and chai, are so popular around the world.

Naturally, consumers need to know whether one is healthier or in some way better than the other.

That’s why we scrutinized all the necessary info on matcha and chai properties and benefits to get you closer to a wholesome answer to the question:

Matcha vs. Chai? Or…both?

What is Chai?

The word “chai” comes from Hindu, meaning simply “tea”, also known as black tea. However, chai has changed its shape and form in the Western culture, mainly nowadays referring to an Indian-style tea, the chai latte, with a combination of various ingredients such as ginger, spices, lemongrass, etc. and milk.  

Because of its higher caffeine content and Indian origin, black tea (Camellia sinensis var. assamica) is traditionally used for making chai although you can also find green tea chai concentrate or powder mixes. It is the synergy of spices and black tea that make chai a healthy yet delicious drink that many prefer as a healthier replacement for coffee.

What is Matcha?

This traditional Japanese drink truly gives a unique twist to conventional green tea consumption.

Matcha production essentially starts from the same green tea plant (Camellia sinensis var. sinensis) that you find in bagged or loose-leaf form, only ground into fine powder. Basically, instead of steeping and then removing it from the liquid, when preparing Matcha tea, you actually consume the leaf as the powder dissolves in water or milk.

The process of growing, harvesting, and treating the plant is what makes this bright powder different from plain green tea, being responsible for the inhibited amount of the flavourful element tannin that gives Matcha that unique bitterless tang.

Matcha vs. Chai: Health benefits

Green and black tea are technically a variant of the same plant (Camellia sinensis), which means their basic composition and properties are pretty much shared.

Below is a brief outline of the most prominent benefits of matcha and chai consumption:

Chai

  • Antiviral properties
  • Powerful antioxidant (Theaflavins)
  • Healthier substitute for coffee (calming properties of tannin)
  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular and heart-related illness (Polyphenols)
  • Potential for prevention of neurological diseases (Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s)
  • Increased attention and focus (Theanine)
  • Inhibited effects of aging
  • Prominent health benefits of traditional chai spices (ginger, lemon, cinnamon, cloves, etc.)

Matcha

  • Antiviral properties
  • Reduced risk of cancer and tumor creation (antioxidant effect of Polyphenols)
  • The cardioprotective role, thanks to Catechins
  • Potential for prevention of neurological diseases (Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s)
  • Inhibited effects of aging
  • Reduced risk of arthritis Improved concentration and boosted energy
  • Speeded weight loss due to Catechins

It is the polyphenols and the amino acid theanine in Camellia sinensis that make matcha and chai powerful antioxidants, extremely beneficial for cardiovascular health, improved immune system, and mood elevation.

Yet, for a long time, it has been believed that green tea has more health benefits than black tea. Recent studies, however, have proved that the theaflavins and thearubigins in black tea, as well as catechins in green tea have the same antioxidative potency.

That said, drinking tea, especially green tea, has now shown results in fighting different cancers and is further looked into as a potential cancer-preventative supplement.

Chai tea vs. Matcha tea: Caffeine content

Controversy about tea mostly revolves around the caffeine content and how much of it is considered healthy.  

Moderate doses of caffeine (400 mg/day) are considered unharmful for most people (except during pregnancy).

Depending on the leaf type, Matcha powder can vary from 23.9 mg/g to 36.2 mg/g, and even as high as 38.7 mg/g.

A regular cup of Matcha requires at least a teaspoon of powder (around 2 g). This would mean around 80 mg of caffeine per serving.

Depending on the type (Prana, Masala, Chai latte, etc.), form (powdered or concentrated) and the brewing process, the caffeine content in chai varies significantly.  

Chai powder contains up to 55 mg/serv., while the concentrate roughly around 35 mg/serv. Controlling the steeping time can reduce up to 80 per cent of caffeine content in chai.

Interestingly, the caffeine in interaction with a tea component tannin seems to slow down the caffeine absorption and reduce its “shock” effect, making it a more favourable option for some than regular coffee.

Is Matcha or Chai better for weight loss?

Green tea is a big star of many weight-loss diets and body cleansing methods all over the globe. In fact, research proves that the Cathenis in green tea have been linked to significantly aiding weight loss in certain ethnic groups.

But can black tea also help you lose a few pounds?

A study observing the properties of polyphenols in decaffeinated tea found that both green and black tea show a positive impact on weight loss and healthy weight maintenance combined with diet, by alternating the microbiome in the gastrointestinal tract.

Therefore, a decaffeinated chai latte may help you push through those cravings and speed up the weight-loss process.

Do Matcha and Chai go together?

Matcha and chai together are already a thing all around coffee places and the drink has had numerous twists on it.

Essentially, there’s no reason why these two could not be made into a matcha chai latte, except for the obvious concerning caffeine content that a single serving could have.

Matcha chai recipes mostly include Matcha powder and traditional chai (black tea) combined with (varieties of) milk, cream, sugar, cinnamon, etc.

Matcha or Chai: Which is healthier?

There isn’t a straightforward answer to this question since both Matcha and Chai have similar effects on health and wellbeing.

Matcha is a powerful antioxidant, caffeine booster, weight-loss promoter and potential cancer preventer.

Chai in combination with the healing spices and herbs has calming and soothing properties, it is also a potent antioxidant and a fighter against cardiovascular and heart disease.

Properly brewed chai can have significantly less caffeine per cup than a serving of Matcha, which is a dealbreaker for some consumers.

Having this in mind, controlled and moderate consumption of both of these amazing drinks will maintain good health and even help with improving it.

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