I've been on a real matcha kick recently, so when I saw that Starbucks served various matcha drinks, I just had to give them a try.

However, my wallet can only take so many trips to the drive-thru - I then started to look into how to replicate my fave Starbucks matcha drinks at home. 

I went on a journey to find out what matcha Starbucks uses. Below, I serve up the facts behind these gorgeous green Starbucks drinks.

  1. Starbucks uses Aiya Matcha Powder
  2. It is sourced from Uji, Japan
  3. Starbucks matcha is NOT 100% authentic matcha powder. 
  4. Matcha at Starbucks contains sugar and matcha powder

What Exactly Is Matcha?

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.

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.


What Kind Of Matcha Does Starbucks Use?

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

The exact brand Starbucks uses is not specified but Aiya Matcha is one of the biggest premium matcha green tea producers in Japan.

Aiya America works to distribute matcha to coffee shops, companies, and other businesses.

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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, 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.

I have a generous sweet tooth, so do not mind that there is sugar in Starbucks' matcha blend. However, as I am trying to cut my sugar intake, I'm very mindful of what additions, if any, I make to my Starbucks order.

matcha leaves and powder sitting next to a whisk

Starbucks Matcha Vs Pure Matcha

Starbucks 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]

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.

Price Difference

Crafting authentic matcha takes plenty of time, resources, and skill, which naturally means that you will pay more for the pure good-quality stuff.

Now, math isn't my strong suit but let's break this down. 

  • Everyday matcha powder costs around $0.25-$0.50 per gram 
  • Ceremonial-grade matcha costs around $0.75-$1 per gram.

Taste

Matcha has a reputation for tasting like bitter grass, but this is only true of low-grade matcha blends.

High-quality matcha has a smooth and non-bitter taste that can sometimes even be a little sweet in aroma. An earthy, nutty, almost vegetal flavor often comes through regardless of blend.
A cup of Starbucks matcha latte is known for being sweeter than traditional, authentic matcha. The addition of sugar and fruit pectin help to sweeten the drink, cut costs, and can increase the shelf-life of the product - all attributes that are perfect for a large chain like Starbucks.

Quality

Other matcha blends will vary in quality depending on the production, growth process, and other factors.

When buying ceremonial-grade matcha, look for Japanese brands based in areas such as:

  • Uji
  • Nishio
  • Shizuoka Prefecture
  • Kagoshima Prefecture

Why Drinking Actual Matcha Is Better

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

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.


Is Starbucks Matcha Healthy?

The matcha offered by Starbucks is not necessarily unhealthy; customers will still enjoy some basic health advantages, such as increased energy levels and improved mental clarity.

It is the added sugar content, and what customisations a customer makes, that ultimately affect how healthy the final drink is.

If you want a healthy matcha experience, it is best to seek out an authentic, pure form of matcha.

Starbucks Matcha drinks

Benefits Of Good Quality Matcha Green Tea

Matcha green tea contains a wide range antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals which can help to boost energy levels, improve mental clarity, and even aid in weight loss and stress management.

I took a closer look at some of the top advantages that you can enjoy with matcha tea.

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.

These 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 its high levels of catechins, which can help to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the liver and improve overall liver health and function.

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Helps In Weight Loss

Matcha is also known for its ability to help with weight loss.

Its high levels of caffeine and catechins found in matcha can help to boost metabolism and burn fat more efficiently.[3]

Increases Your Productivity Dramatically

Finally, matcha can also help improve focus and concentration.

This is 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?

You can currently order various matcha drinks at Starbucks, including a hot Matcha Tea Latte, an Iced Matcha Latte, a Matcha Green Tea Frappuccino, and more.[4]

Does Starbucks use Tazo matcha?

Starbucks matcha drinks are made from Aiya matcha powder rather than the Tazo matcha brand.


Final Words

At present, Starbucks uses an Aiya-manufactured 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:

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

Chloe Page

Author

Chloe Page
A lifelong mocha fan, Chloe is an award-winning writer with over eight years’ experience weaving words. Her journey in the coffee industry is highlighted by extensive research and interviews with coffee experts. In her moments of relaxation, you'll often find her sipping on Bird and Blend tea, thoughtfully scribbling in her notebook.

My favorite drink? I'd go with... Bird and Blend Co Tea

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