Coffee and me have an interesting relationship. I love love love the taste and smell of coffee, but absolutely hate the effects. Whenever I drink it I get super on edge and my heart will race a million times a minute. Once the anxiety subsides I have a big crash and feel like SH** the rest of the day. NOT FUN! These effects seem to bother me most during times of stress (AKA all year except the two months off I get for summer). I still try and enjoy my coffee decaf every now and then. However, I have to say my favourite caffeinated beverage hands down is matcha.
Matcha is powdered green tea made from the leaves of shade grown green tea. Because the whole leaf is consumed as opposed to just the infused tea, you are consuming 10x the antioxidants as a regular cup of steeped green tea.
Matcha contains about a quarter of the caffeine that a regular cup of coffee does. Although it still contains caffeine, it really is a different type of energy boost. Coffee wreaks havoc on your body by causing spikes in adrenaline, insulin and glucose levels which ultimately results in the jitters. Matcha drinkers will tell you that the energy you get from matcha is a much smoother fix. Instead of a sharp spike and hard crash, the energy is a calm and mellow buzz that lasts much longer. This is attributed to a specific amino acid that is found in high quantities in matcha...
L-theanine is an amino acid that is associated with supporting a healthy mind and balancing mood. It has anti-stress properties and relaxes without putting making you drowsy. L-theanine helps support alpha-wave brain activity. Alpha-waves put you in a calm alert state (often experienced in meditation and yoga). It increases the metabolism of dopamine and serotonin, which are associated with mood and mental function. Ultimately, I love matcha because it gives me the energy I need to get through the day, but without the annoying side effects of coffee.
I am obsessed. It is my exam time vice. Many coffee shops will make matcha lattes, the tough part is finding those that do not have a sweetened powder (cough starbucks). You can also purchase matcha and make your own at home. For those that find the taste a little too bitter or earthy you can always add a teaspoon of honey. Or you can mix a small spoon of matcha powder into a smoothie as well! If you wish to purchase some matcha powder, I have provided a link to an organic matcha below!
Check out my favourite matcha smoothie recipe!
Matcha mango madness smoothie
1/2 cup of frozen mango (or peaches)
1 cup of almond milk (or other alternative)
1 teaspoon of matcha powder
Blend all of the above ingredients and enjoy!