Blue Matcha: What It Is and Whether You Should Drink It

Does this dreamy powder offer the same health benefits as green matcha?

Blue matcha is served as tea, juice, and smoothies that give off serious mermaid vibes. But while the brightly-hued beverages certainly make for a beautiful photo, you might be wondering about blue matcha: What exactly is it? And does it boast the same great health perks as green matcha?

What Is Matcha?

It might help to know more about traditional matcha, which is a type of green tea that comes from Camellia sinensis, the same plant as other caffeinated teas. To make regular green tea, the leaves are steeped in hot water and removed, but with with matcha the leaves are ground into a fine green powder and mixed with other substances.

Matcha tea leaves are also cultivated in an unusual way: The plants are grown in the shade for a period to increase the chlorophyll content of the leaves, which makes them nutrient rich and a brighter shade of green, according to a 2021 article in Frontiers of Plant Science.

Traditionally associated with Japanese tea ceremonies, matcha is also popular in the U.S. and elsewhere in large part because of the health-benefitting compounds it contains. These include:

Antioxidants. All green tea varieties contain a group of antioxidants called catechins, according to a 2021 article in Molecules that reviewed the health benefits of matcha. Antioxidants have a host of health perks, which include:

  • Helping to improve metabolism
  • Regulating blood sugar
  • Reducing blood pressure
  • Protecting against cancer and heart disease.

Caffeine. Compared with regular green tea, matcha contains about double the amount of caffeine per serving. Beyond giving you a daily jolt, the stimulant has been shown to have numerous health benefits, from helping to curb cognitive decline to warding off heart failure, John Hopkin's Medicine reports.

L-theanine. Matcha is famous for the "alert calm" it's said to induce. This relaxing feeling is believed to be due to the presence of L-theanine, an amino acid also found in regular green tea. Studies suggest that the substance can reduce stress and anxiety, as well as increase concentration when paired with caffeine.

What Is Blue Matcha?

Apart from its name, blue matcha has little in common with the traditional stuff, according to Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, a registered dietitian nutritionist and author of several health and nutrition books. "While blue matcha is pretty, it's important to know that it's not simply a blue form of traditional green matcha," Sass explained.

Indeed, blue matcha powder comes from a completely different plant altogether: butterfly pea plant. The plant, which is native to Asia, blooms flowers that are dried and ground up into power form. A 2019 article in Plant Metabolism and Chemodiversity noted that it may have originally been used there to color food.

What Are the Benefits of Blue Matcha?

Blue matcha lacks the same properties that put traditional matcha on the map, said Sass. It hasn't been shown to contain caffeine or L-theanine, and there's not enough evidence to suggest that it has antioxidant compounds.

That said, it's not necessarily a bad thing to add blue matcha to your smoothie bowl. It may even offer some perks of its own: A study from 2019 published in Biology found that butterfly pea extract curbed the body's response to high-fat meals, but the study was limited to only 16 participants considered overweight or obese.

A Quick Review

Although blue matcha shares name with green matcha, the two substances are very different. Green matcha is a type of a green tea that comes from the ground up tea leaves of the plant Camellia sinensis, while blue matcha is powder derived from a completely different plant—butterfly pea plant. While the dreamy blue powder doesn't contain the same health-benefitting compounds as the green one—antioxidants, caffeine, and L-theanine—going blue can't hurt. If you want to give it a try, buy some and start experimenting with your own beautiful beverages and confections.

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  1. Chen J, Wu S, Dong F, et al. Mechanism underlying the shading-induced chlorophyll accumulation in tea leaves. Front Plant Sci. 2021;0.

  2. Kochman J, Jakubczyk K, Antoniewicz J, Mruk H, Janda K. Health benefits and chemical composition of matcha green tea: a review. Molecules. 2020;26(1):85.

  3. 9 reasons why (The right amount of) coffee is good for you.

  4. Oguis GK, Gilding EK, Jackson MA, Craik DJ. Butterfly pea (Clitoria ternatea), a cyclotide-bearing plant with applications in agriculture and medicine. Front Plant Sci. 2019;0.

  5. Thilavech T, Adisakwattana S, Channuwong P, et al. Clitoria ternatea flower extract attenuates postprandial lipemia and increases plasma antioxidant status responses to a high-fat meal challenge in overweight and obese participants. Biology (Basel). 2021;10(10):975. doi:10.3390/biology10100975

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