What Matcha Does Starbucks Use? (Brand & Grade Examined)

In recent years, we have seen a huge rise in the popularity of matcha. This amazing substance can improve your skin, boost your brain health, and save your life.

Ok, maybe we exaggerated the last part, but there is no denying that matcha has a number of health benefits, and it has become a prominent staple of coffee shops and brands such as Starbucks.

So just what matcha does Starbucks use? We took a closer look at all you need to know.

Matcha is a type of Japanese green tea powder made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which is the same plant used to make black tea and oolong tea.

Starbucks uses a high-grade matcha powder called Aiya Matcha, sourced from Uji, Japan. 

Is this really one of the finest matcha products available? We took a closer look at just what is in your cup.

Is Starbucks Matcha Powder Authentic Or Fake?

It may disappoint matcha fans to learn that Starbucks matcha green tea is not 100% authentic.

The Starbucks matcha powder is a blend of matcha and sugar mixed, which means it is not the purest form of matcha available.

The main issue here is that this can be quite high in sugar per cup, and this can negate the effectiveness and benefits of the beverage.

All is not lost, however; there are also claims that this matcha is originally found in the Wazuka area of Japan, a fact which, if accurate, would guarantee a certain level of quality - Wazuka is known for producing some of the finest matcha in the world.[1]

Though this may still not be as healthy and beneficial as real matcha, the tea plants here are still producing high-quality matcha powder, meaning that you can still enjoy a drink that is full of flavor and fairly healthy the next time you are looking for something other than coffee.

matcha leaves and powder sitting next to a whisk

Ingredients Compared

Aiya Matcha is a blend of matcha and other additions - namely, unhealthy sugar for a sweetened taste.

According to their website, the Starbucks matcha blend contains matcha powder, as well as a lot of sugar. A grande Iced Matcha Tea Latte has 28 grams of sugar.[2]

So, just what does this mean?

Ultimately, pure, high-quality matcha green tea powder would not contain any added sugar or fruit pectin - and Starbucks matcha is high in both of these.

These additions will help to sweeten the drink, and can increase the shelf-life of the product - both attributes that are perfect for a large chain like Starbucks.

On the downside, however, added sugars can make it less enjoyable for those who favor a more bitter, traditional flavor - a cup of Starbucks matcha latte is known for being sweeter than traditional green tea leaves or matcha tea latte from other brands, and this can be a real downside to those looking for the classic taste of matcha green tea powder.

Starbucks' version of matcha with all the sugar may be culinary grade, but it could never be considered ceremonial grade, which is meant to be had on its own without any additions.

Why Drinking Actual Matcha Is Best

Authentic matcha made from powdered green tea is the best choice for those looking to reap every good thing that matcha has to offer.

Authentic matcha is made from 100% pure matcha powder and contains no added ingredients.

This means it will provide the maximum amount of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial compounds.

Additionally, authentic matcha will have a more intense flavor than blended varieties, allowing you to enjoy the full range of flavors and aromas that matcha has to offer.

Actual Match Leaves, Powder, & Tea

What Exactly Is Matcha Anyway?

Matcha is a type of green tea powder from Japan made from the Camellia sinensis plant. The leaves are shade-grown for several weeks before harvest and then ground into a fine powder.

Matcha has been produced and enjoyed in Japan for centuries as part of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony.

However, it is now gaining traction worldwide due to its unique flavor and benefits.

In its purest form, matcha contains high levels of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial compounds that can help to boost energy levels, improve mental clarity, and even aid in weight loss.[3]

Starbucks Matcha can be enjoyed in a range of forms - matcha tea is served with hot water, while a matcha latte is served with milk.

An iced matcha latte is similar - the milk is steamed and served over ice.

Some customers may prefer to use alternatives such as coconut milk or oat milk for a hot or iced matcha latte, while others prefer the simplicity of hot water and classic matcha green tea powder.


When Did Starbucks Start Serving Matcha Drinks?

Starbucks first started serving matcha drinks on April 4th, 2006, with the introduction of their Matcha Green Tea Latte.

Since then, they have expanded their offerings to include a variety of matcha-based beverages, such as the Matcha Lemonade and the Iced Matcha Green Tea Latte.

These can be served with a range of milks, including alternatives such as Starbucks oat milk, served on green tea leaves for the perfect Japanese matcha latte.

Alternatively, iced matcha tea latte recipes use steamed milk over ice and green tea powder.


Is Starbucks Matcha Healthy?

The matcha drinks from Starbucks are made with a type of Japanese matcha called Aiya Matcha, which is sourced from Uji, Japan.

However, the main issue is that this brand is not a pure form of matcha as it contains additions such as sugar and fruit pectin.

For those looking to reap all that matcha has to offer, it is best to seek out an authentic, pure form of matcha that contains no added extras.

That is not to say that the matcha offered by Starbucks is not healthy; customers will still enjoy some basic health advantages, such as increased energy levels and improved mental clarity.

However, for those looking to maximize the health advantages, it is best to seek out an authentic, pure form of matcha that contains nothing extra, and to enjoy this with hot water for a tasty, convenient cup of health that requires minimal preparation.

Starbucks Matcha drinks

Benefits Of Good Quality Matcha Green Tea

Matcha green tea contains antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial compounds.

It can help to boost energy levels, improve mental clarity, and even aid in weight loss. Additionally, it has been linked to a reduced risk of certain types of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Matcha also contains high levels of L-theanine, an amino acid that helps to reduce stress and promote relaxation.

We took a closer look at some of the top advantages that you can enjoy with matcha tea below:

High In Antioxidants

One of the benefits of matcha is that it is famous for being packed with powerful antioxidants, such as catechins and polyphenols, which can help to protect the body from free radical damage.

Antioxidants play an important role in health, as they can help to reduce inflammation, boost immunity, and even slow down the aging process.

Contributes To The Liver's Protection

Matcha is also known for its ability to help protect the liver from damage.

This is due to the high levels of catechins found in matcha, which can help to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the liver and improve overall liver health and function.

The liver plays a key role in overall health, as it helps filter toxins from the body and regulate metabolism, so taking good care of this should be a top priority.

Helps In Weight Loss

Matcha is also known for its ability to help with weight loss. This is due to the high levels of caffeine and catechins found in matcha, which can help to boost metabolism and burn fat more efficiently.

Additionally, the L-theanine found in matcha can help to reduce stress hormones that can lead to overeating.

Increases Your Productivity Dramatically

Finally, matcha is known for its ability to help improve focus and concentration.

Once again, this is thought to be due to the high levels of caffeine and L-theanine found in matcha, which can help to boost energy levels and mental clarity.

Two Iced Matcha Lattes From Starbucks

Common Questions About Starbucks Matcha

Does Starbucks sell unsweetened matcha?

Starbucks does sell unsweetened matcha in their stores, but customers will need to make sure that they ask for this, as the default option is for a sweetened matcha drink.

Does Starbucks sell their Matcha powder in stores?

No, the matcha powder Starbucks uses is available in their stores for barista use only. Matcha fans can, however, try a healthier alternative by purchasing real matcha tea from other brands.

What matcha drinks can you order at Starbucks?

At the time of writing, Starbucks offers a hot matcha tea latte, as well as an iced matcha latte, both of which use the Starbucks matcha tea blend to create that great taste. Matcha fans can also enjoy matcha tea in the form of the Matcha Green Tea Frappuccino Blended Beverage for a new twist on the classic Japanese green tea.[4]

Does Starbucks use Tazo matcha?

According to research, Starbucks matcha drinks are made from Aiya matcha powder rather than the Tazo matcha brand. This is not the highest quality and tends to have a higher sugar content than other types of matcha drink.


Final Words

At present, Starbucks uses an Aiya matcha green tea powder in all their matcha tea drinks.

While this type of matcha does contain some beneficial compounds, it also contains additions such as sugar and fruit pectin (to make it taste great).

For those looking to drink matcha and enjoy the full range of advantages, it is best to seek out an authentic, pure form of real matcha powder that contains no extras.

References:

1. https://dmatcha.com/pages/wazuka-young-farmers-project
2. https://www.starbucks.com/menu/product/468/iced
3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7796401/
4. https://www.starbucks.co.uk/menu/drinks

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