As an avid black coffee drinker, switching to matcha everyday certainly wasn't easy. While my mom would constantly remind me of the benefits of both matcha and green tea, I was never quite ready to ditch my daily java. That was until I spent all my Dooley Dollars at Kaldi's and didn't have another choice. It was finally time to dust off my Keurig and get my caffeine-fix sans Kaldi's. For one week, I traded my plain old cup o' joe for the antioxidant-powerhouse that is matcha.
For my trial run, I purchased a 40g container of Teavana's Matcha Japanese Green Tea (and earned 49 Starbucks stars in the process). The container cost me less than what I would pay in a week for coffee and is supposed to last me a lot longer–apparently it's enough for 20-25 uses.
At first glance, the bright green powder was a bit off-putting, especially since I've never been a fan of drinking anything green. I must admit, I was skeptical that it would give me any kind of boost before my 9 am, let alone kick my coffee habit.
But I was determined not to give up. By the end of the day, I drank three cups of matcha and alas, no jitters, headaches, or afternoon crashes that accompanied my coffee addiction. I even skipped my usual afternoon nap and was pleasantly surprised, considering the caffeine in one cup of matcha equates only about one-third of a cup of coffee.
My first alarm went off at 8:30 am and interestingly enough, I woke up a little less groggy than usual (I only hit the snooze button twice). I rolled out of bed and brewed myself a cup of matcha before heading to my 9 am spinning class where I was feelin' myself–I didn't cramp up once, a stark contrast to the charlie horses and side-stitches I typically experience. Prior to my matcha experiment, I drank a cup of coffee before and after spinning. But today, I walked straight through Kaldi's to my second class.
I didn't begin to "crash" until about 3 pm when I was in the library, so I walked down to Starbucks and ordered a venti ice water with two scoops of matcha powder (what the barista recommended). It tasted a little weak compared to my homemade drink, so I made a mental note to ask for an extra scoop next time. But it did the trick and gave me the boost I needed to finish my work.
This day was the hardest–I was starting to miss coffee a lot. Needless to say, I was definitely in need of something a bit stronger than matcha after staying awake until 2 am the night before. I woke up with a pounding headache, so I immediately brewed an extra-strong mug of matcha. When my headache failed to subside, I popped a few Advil before heading to class. Fast forward a few hours later, and I had taken two more Advil. Today was definitely not my day.
I was pretty cranky on day three. Thankfully, this didn't carry over to day four. I woke up at 8:30 am for spinning, had a cup of matcha and headed to the gym. In class, my friend commented that my skin looked like it was "glowing." Could this be a result of my newfound friendship with matcha? Or simply because I took off my makeup for once before hitting the sack the night before? Hmm...
Anyone who knows me knows that brunch is my favorite meal (yes, brunch is a meal). So when my friends and I went to The General Muir Saturday morning, I was heartbroken that I couldn't have my usual cup of steaming black coffee. I longingly looked around the table at my friends sipping lattes and mochas, while I reluctantly drank my now-lukewarm matcha in a to-go cup. Fact: tea just doesn't go as well with brunch as coffee.
Ah, Sundays. The day for homework, the library and LOTS of caffeine. I needed to study for a 100-point French test and write an essay for my sociology class, which I had pushed off until today, of course. Instead of grabbing my trusty black iced coffee from Kaldi's, I sipped matcha from a styrofoam cup on the way to the library. I went into hibernation for a few hours until I needed a fix.
I headed back to my dorm room where I made myself two more cups of matcha and headed back to the library for the rest of the day. By the end of it, I was exhausted. I fell asleep the moment my head hit the pillow despite my three (strong) doses of caffeine.
Finally, the last day of my experiment. I couldn't wait to return to my committed relationship with coffee after briefly experimenting with matcha. I giddily thought about what my first drink would be: should I keep it simple with a black coffee or splurge on a salted caramel frozen coffee from Kaldi's?
But I held that thought, drinking (what I was convinced would be) my last cup of matcha and headed to French. I walked into the test feeling (relatively) calm, yet still energized. My heart wasn't racing, nor were my palms sweating–something I definitely wasn't used to. The secret? L-theanine, an amino acid proven to reduce stress. Combined with the caffeine in matcha, it resulted in the mellow buzz I had felt over the past week.
I finished my test and as a treat, I went to Starbucks and ended my day with the best of both worlds: a matcha latte.
My one-week matcha experiment made me realize that there's more to caffeine than shaky hands and mid-morning crashes. While I'm not quite ready to give up coffee for good, matcha has a new place in my life–and my mug.