I've never really been a big caffeine person.
I’ve never had a coffee habit that took me weeks to kick or any addiction to other caffeine sources. I would occasionally get a latte to-go at a coffeeshop that was laced with processed sugars and the only time I drank soda was mixed with alcohol.
I find that coffee, similar to alcohol, is a very social thing in our society. People meet for coffee at all hours of the day, cap off their nights with an espresso (genuinely confused how those folks fall asleep…), or grab coffees for coworkers. Even when I didn’t want to be drinking coffee, I’d find myself ordering one here and there because I was usually with someone else doing the same. The power of peer pressure.
Some people drink a cup of coffee and feel perfectly fine. Others, including myself, find it very hard to digest. After I would finish a cup, I would experience nausea, sweating, irritability, jitters, acid reflux, indigestion, increased heart rate, clammy hands, and was easily startled.
Not an ideal situation first thing in the morning or during any hour of the day for that matter.
I switched to hot, herbal teas a couple of years ago and haven't looked back since.
MORNING MATCHA RITUAL
There’s nothing I love more then a slow, sweet morning.
Getting to enjoy my rituals and not rushing to pull myself together before leaving for work or yoga is heavenly and helps set the tone for the rest of my day.
I began seeing matcha popping up all over my Instagram feed awhile ago and became curious about this green potion. It looked so inviting and cozy so I decided to give it a shot with a recipe I found online. This particular recipe included salt (why…just why?) and I remember immediately spitting it out after my first sip. I thought it was disgusting so I set matcha on the back burner for a bit.
But, I continued to find myself being drawn towards matcha. I knew there had to be a recipe out there that I would enjoy if so many people were raving about it. I found a salt-free recipe, gave it a whirl in my blender, and it was delicious.
Since I deal with Generalized Anxiety Disorder as I talked about previously, I got a little weary of reintroducing caffeine into my system because I didn’t want it to cause mood swings or any type of hormone imbalance. I’m pretty in-tune with my body so I observed any side effects matcha might have had on my body after my first cup and was pleasantly surprised. I still felt calm, my mood was elevated, I didn’t break a sweat, and I was ready to take on the day.
I also think it's worth noting that I don't drink matcha every single day and I don't rely on the caffeine in matcha to function properly. I like to have one cup about 4-5 times a week and I don't find that I experience any withdrawal symptoms if I don't have it.
SO, WHAT IS MATCHA?
Matcha is a green tea powder made from a specific tea leaf that comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. White and black teas also come from this particular plant, but matcha is harvested from plants covered and grown under shade for 20 weeks which boosts their chlorophyll levels, hence the vibrant green hue.
Matcha has been used for centuries in Japan as a sacred ceremonial drink, whereas today you can grab a matcha beverage at any trendy neighborhood coffee shop whenever you’d like.
This vibrant green powder packs a powerful punch and has been proven to:
- Sustain energy and produce a lasting calming effect. Matcha contains L-Theanine, a non-dietary amino acid that assists in boosting alpha waves in the brain, which works simultaneously with the caffeine from the green tea to produce a sustainable calming effect. Since matcha is ground into a fine powder, it provides the entirety of the Camellia sinensis plant’s benefits unlike traditional green tea that you would steep in hot water.
- Improve mental clarity. The L-Theanine found in matcha has been found to reduce anxiety levels and enhance your overall mood by promoting a natural state of relaxation while simultaneously improving your mental alertness.
- Protect you from harmful free radicals. Matcha contains high levels of antioxidants in the form of catechins, flavonoids, and polyphenols. These powerful antioxidants protect your body from harmful free radicals AKA the pesky guys that are responsible for aging, tissue damage, cancer, and some inflammatory diseases. Just one cup of matcha has the same amount of antioxidants as ten cups of regular green tea!
- Boost immunity. Those powerful antioxidants found in matcha are also responsible for helping your body fight diseases and infections, thus boosting your body’s natural immune defense. Matcha also contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which helps boots immunity and promote overall wellness. The EGCG also plays a big part in fighting harmful bacteria in the mouth that can cause staining in the teeth, cavities, and bad breath.
KEY TOOLS & INGREDIENTS
- High speed blender. I'm currently using a Vitamix which is the real MVP of blending, but it is quite pricey. I've used a NutriBullet before with success, but be extra careful as I've read some reviews of people's NutriBullets exploding from the hot liquid. Always blend hot liquids with caution and never, ever put boiling water into a blender, you'll set yourself up for a third degree burn.
- Tea kettle or small saucepan. Unless you can heat your liquids up with magic.
- High quality matcha, duh. There are a ton of different matcha brands out there and some can get quite pricey. I'm using Ippodo Matcha right now and I'm really enjoying it. If you're new to the matcha world, I would definitely recommend finding a cheaper brand so you don't have to spend $50 on a 40g container not knowing whether or not you'll enjoy it. Mizuba Tea Co. has some affordable options as well as Whole Foods. Always check the ingredients list when searching for matcha online, a lot of brands can add fillers so make sure it's 100% matcha and preferably sourced from Japan. Quick note, I store my matcha in the fridge to prolong the shelf life and keep it fresh!
- Coconut butter. The stuff that makes a matcha latte so creamy and dreamy. I don't use any nut or seed milks in my matcha latte, so coconut butter is essential to create maximum frothiness. You can always add half water, half milk of your choice to your matcha recipe if you really want to up the creamy factor, but I just find that it's an unnecessary extra step in the mornings. Coconut butter also provides a healthy dose of fat which prepares the stomach lining and can eliminate some of those not-so-pleasant feelings that result from drinking plain green tea or matcha on an empty stomach. I love the Artisana Coconut Butter.
- Adaptogens. First off, these are not necessary. But, why not pack your matcha latte with a little more healing power and health benefits? If you're not up-to-date with the recent adaptogen craze that's taken the wellness world by storm, they're a specific group of healing plants that support your health and adjust your body to natural stressors. There are so many adaptogen options out there, but I typically stick no more than three adaptogens in my lattes. My favorites are ashwagandha (soothes the nervous system and boosts mood), reishi (supports immunity), triphala (supports digestion), and cordyceps (brain power while supporting the liver and kidneys), but I encourage you to do some research and find some that speak to you. Sun Potion has great options that are worth the investment.
EVERYDAY MATCHA LATTE
- 16oz hot (160°-175°) water
- 2 Tablespoons coconut butter
- 1 teaspoon matcha
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ashwagandha
(Note: if you prefer for your latte to be a tad sweeter, you can always add 1/2 a teaspoon of maple syrup, a few drops of stevia, or 1/2 a teaspoon of honey if you’re not vegan)
- Bring water to a boil in a tea kettle or saucepan and let cool for a bit before placing it in your blender.
- Add all of the other ingredients into the blender and blend on high for 2-3 minutes for maximum froth potential. Pour into your mug or tea bowl and enjoy!