The pH value of green teas is between 7 and 10. That’s the short answer to the question and doesn’t reveal much useful information. To understand what these numbers mean, and get a grasp on the concept of pH, we need to look a little closer.
What is pH?
The term “pH” is taken from chemistry and refers to whether a liquid is an acid or a base. The number before the letters “pH” indicates how acidic or basic the liquid is on a special logarithmic scale.
Each whole number on the scale represents a multiplication or division of 10 compared to the preceding number. The formal explanation is rather confusing, but examples of how the scale works can make things much clearer.
Seven (actually 7.2, but we’ll use seven for our examples) is the neutral point on the pH scale, and each higher number indicates a substance that is 10 times as base as the prior. Sea water, for example, has a pH of 8, and baking soda has a pH of 9. Thus, baking soda is 10 times as base as sea water. Milk has a pH of about 6 (since that’s less than 7, the neutral point on the scale, milk is considered acidic, not basic). Coffee’s pH is 5, which means coffee is ten times as acidic as milk.
In general, the lower a food or drink’s pH rating, the more acidic it is. As a rule, the human body can more easily digest substances that have a pH between 6.5 and 8.5. Very acidic foods and drinks, with pH values lower than 6.5, can sometimes be harder to digest and might lead to various health problems like acidosis.
Why is pH Important?
The pH level of a drink (or food) affects its taste. That’s why acidic coffee tastes so bitter, for example. In water, tea, coffee, and anything we commonly drink, the pH level is very important for several reasons. Besides the taste factor, pH plays a key role in health.
The human body’s natural pH level is 7.4. Most people tend to consume too many acidic foods and drinks, which brings their pH level down into the acidic range. By adding more base (often called alkaline) substances to the diet, a person can offset the general tendency for modern folks to eat and drink acidic substances like coffee and fruit juices.
The body seems to strive to stay at 7.4 on the pH scale because it operates most efficiently when it’s at a point slightly higher than the neutral value of 7.2. Drinking green tea, for example, is thought to be one way that a person can offset a pH that is too acidic.
That’s why many health-conscious people intentionally drink alkaline water and green tea. These two things, among others, can possibly help to bring the body’s pH closer to its ideal, natural level. It’s also worth noting that acidic foods and drinks can do serious damage to the teeth. That’s why dentists tend to suggest drinks higher on the pH scale, like alkaline waters, green teas, and similar products.
What is the pH of Green Teas Like Matcha?
Note that most teas you buy in the store are slightly on the acidic side, with a pH below 7.2. Even these slightly acidic teas aren’t powerful enough to damage teeth. But teas with a pH above 7.2, like green teas, are safe for the teeth and do other good things for the body.
The pH of green teas falls within a range between seven and 10. Most kinds of matcha tea are about a 9 on the pH scale, which means they are quite alkaline. But it’s important to remember that a few of the non-green teas, like blackberry, lemon, and rose-hips, are quite acidic, weighing in with pH levels of about three.
Why is the pH of Green Tea Good for the Human Body?
One school of thought about acidity and alkalinity (the base side of the pH scale) has led millions of people to follow diets that attempt to maintain the body’s pH at a natural level. There are dozens of books about different “alkaline diet” plans, most of which extol the virtues of alkaline foods and drinks and warn about the dangers of acidic substances we commonly consume.
There is also evidence that consuming things with higher pH levels can help maintain a normal weight, another goal of many tea enthusiasts. The problem with alkaline programs is that they are exceedingly difficult to follow. So many of the things we eat and drink every day are acidic, like energy drinks, nuts, cheese, black tea, beer, pasta, pork, wine, coffee, beef, peanuts, wheat, and more.
The good news for green tea lovers is that drinks like matcha tea can help offset some of the acidic things we typically consume. It’s interesting to note some of the other “high pH” items, ranking at 9 or above, alongside matcha tea: they include lemons, brussels sprouts, broccoli, carrots, raw spinach, kale, lemons, avocados, blueberries, lettuce, eggplant, peas, beets, and sweet potatoes.
Green Tea to the Rescue?
Doctors and dentists are often “anti-tea,” but they always make an exception for green tea because it has a high pH. And the processing of green tea (steaming and drying) is what helps make it so alkaline, and that’s a good thing by any measure.
Other health benefits of green tea include its high concentration of antioxidants, some of which have been said to help promote healthy skin and possibly fight against some forms of cancer. Other natural components of green tea have been shown to help fight against the flu and sore throats. A few studies have even pointed to the possibility that green tea might help people stave off heart disease, cardiovascular ailments, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. And because green teas like matcha contain caffeine, they can help boost the body’s metabolic rate and actually burn fat.
Green tea has a low pH and offers many other health benefits.