Read This Before Drinking Matcha From Starbucks

Mad for matcha? You're not alone. After all, the touted health benefits of drinking matcha range from boosting kidney, liver, and heart health to lowering blood sugar and being a source of antioxidants (via Healthline). However, not all matcha is created equal, and in particular, the Starbucks version of this bright green, "healthy" drink isn't always what it appears.

Because matcha is made by combining the ground stems and veins of the Camellia sinensis plant with hot water (rather than steeping the leaves), it's much stronger in flavor than a typical, steeped green tea. For this reason, coffee shops like Starbucks often add a lot of sneaky sugar to their matcha drinks in order to mellow out the flavor. In fact, the Starbucks matcha latte is more of a dessert than a drink. Per Starbucks, a quick look at the drink's nutritional information shows a grande (16-oz) contains 32 grams of sugar (almost the daily limit for men according to the American Heart Association). 

If you're astounded, take a look at the matcha powder's two ingredients: sugar and ground Japanese Green Tea (via Starbucks). By law, ingredients must be listed in order of predominance, which means there's more sugar than actual matcha in Starbucks' matcha powder (though we have no way of knowing how much more). And, unfortunately, it's not just Starbucks over-sweetening the mighty matcha.

More matcha pitfalls to avoid

Switching from coffee to a matcha latte might seem like a simple, healthy swap, but that depends entirely on how the matcha is made. For instance, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf's 12-oz matcha latte contains even more sugar than Starbucks' at 41 grams! (via Healthination).

However, sugar's not the only additive that could be diluting the benefits of your typical matcha latte — there's also the milk to be considered. It might not seem significant, but failing to account for the milk in your latte could have dramatic consequences. For instance, one matcha fan alleged that the addition of a coconut matcha latte to her morning routine quickly caused her to gain 30 pounds, thanks to the added calories and fat from the "healthy" coconut milk in the drink (via NBC News). 

Luckily, there's a simple solution to avoid all the extraneous additives without losing any of the health benefits: make your own matcha! It's a little more work, but at least you can feel good about knowing exactly what's in it.