I’ve been a religious coffee drinker for over a decade. It started with just your regular 3-in-1, and then it progressed to the really strong stuffs- black coffee and espressos without milk or sugar. It became part of my morning ritual, in order to kickstart my day. The fact I have my coffee first thing in the morning stems from the fact that it aids bowel movements.
Upon researching the importance of low acid foods, or alkaline foods, and drinks. I’ve completely cut off coffee and black tea which are acidic, dehydrating, increases internal stress and aging and causes the body to produce fat cells. Further into my research, I also discovered that my dependancy on coffee could have effects on my anxiety and agitation.
“The caffeine found in coffee can produce a heightened sense of perception by stimulating the brain. This effect makes a person more aware of mild annoyances, thereby increasing irritability. It also contributes to anxiety by making you more aware of all the potential negative outcomes in a situation”, stated on LiveStrong.
Upon reading this, I completely stopped drinking coffee. Of course the impact of coffee is individualised. The chemicals that is triggered is largely subjected to a person’s consumption habits, baseline mood and natural emotional response. I found myself having caffeine crash towards the middle of the day. I didn’t like this either because it would mean heading over to my closest Starbucks for my costly caffeine fix. Matcha, on the other hand, will give you the energy boost many seek from coffee, but because of the large concentration of antioxidants, the absorption of caffeine is slower so there’s no crash.
Now whenever I feel like drinking a cuppa, I would essentially reach for matcha. However, I tend to drink them differently during the day. In the morning, I would add a teaspoon of matcha into 2 big scoops of almond power. Some have argued that you should never drink matcha on an empty stomach, as the tannins in the tea increases stomach acid. This is important if you have stomach ulcers/ acid reflux as it may worsen your condition.
I read that adding dairy (i.e.: cow’s milk) actually negates the benefits of matcha. According to researchers at the Fifth International Scientific Symposium on Tea and Human Health, milk proteins bind with the flavonols in tea, making it more difficult for the body to absorb them and reap the health benefits. I personally just do not enjoy having cow’s milk and would rather drink my matcha with almond milk, as almond milk is packed with nutritional benefits.
During the day however, I tend to have a teaspoon of matcha in hot water (ideally about 80-85°C). Just like how I would with any ordinary tea. At first you may find the taste of matcha a little too heavy/ strong for your liking. After all, you’re drinking the whole tea leaves and not just infused tea leaves. I think if you naturally find green tea quite pleasant then you will enjoy matcha.
So, what happened after I replaced coffee with matcha after a week?
After a week, I noticed that my digestion improved, skin health improved, metabolism is amazing (I actually loss belly fat during the course of my week as I found myself less hungry) and my ability to handle stress is incredible. I feel so much calmer, more aware of my thoughts and feelings (especially negative ones) and therefore happier as a person.
I’m naturally not the best when it comes to stress and it is great that there is a natural way to help aid my problem. It’s no wonder monks in Japan have been using matcha as part of their meditation practice for the past 800 years. It is believed that matcha helps the monks who meditate for weeks remain focused and calm. This is due to the presence of high doses of amino acid which maintains a calm state of mind, enhance concentration, and improves focus.
Here are some Matcha Facts:
Matcha hit provides 34mg of caffeine – not bad considering an espresso coffee provides 60mg, but the tea’s effect is much more intense and lasts longer because it contains amino acid and L-Theanine. L-Theanine has a calming, relaxing effect and slows the release of tea-caffeine rather than a sudden spike or drop of energy.
Matcha also contains 3.25mg of calcium, 1.85mg of vitamin C, 20.5mg of potassium and 274mg of protein per serving amidst other vitamins and antioxidants that outnumber superfoods like goji and acai berries. Who would have thought?
So how is Matcha different from Green Tea?
Matcha and regular green tea both come from the Camellia sinensis plant, which is native to China. However, matcha is grown differently than regular green tea. The tea bushes are covered for about 20–30 days before harvest, to prevent direct sunlight.
The shade stimulates an increase in chlorophyll levels, which turns the leaves into a darker shade of green and increases the production of amino acids. After harvesting, the stems and veins are removed from the leaves. They are then stone-ground into a fine, bright green powder, known as matcha.
Because the whole leaf powder is ingested, instead of just water infused through the tea leaves, matcha is even higher in some substances than green tea. This includes caffeine and antioxidants.
The antioxidants in 1 matcha equals 10 cups of Japanese green tea. Talk about a superfood power house! Convinced yet?
To top it off, it has an adaptogenic quality: if you’re frazzled, it calms you; if you’re feeling sluggish, it energizes you.
Top Reasons to Drink Matcha
1. Excellent source of antioxidants
2. Slow energy release caffeine that will not lead to a caffeine crash
3. Better oral hygiene: Unlike coffee it does not cause stain enamel stains nor cause bad breath
4. It calms the mind. I’ve noticed ever since switching over from coffee, I feel my mind more focused, calmer and more aware of my thoughts and feelings. It’s like a natural Valium!
5. Helps Weight Loss: Appetite suppressor (no sudden sugar cravings)
6. Better skin: Matcha has a anti-microbial effect that helps clear up skin
7. Immunity Booster: Due to it’s high antioxidant content, particularly Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) assists your body’s production of T-Cells which reduce inflammation and fight pathogens.
So now after replacing my coffee with matcha for over a week, I think it’s safe to say that it’s a definite stay! It’s really all cracked up to be! Goodbye Coffee, Konichiwa Matcha!