Coffee vs. Matcha: Coffee Has Met Its New Match(a)
The world is crazy about coffee, with over 2.25 billion cups consumed in the world every day! (1) It's no wonder why coffee shops and cafes stand on every corner block. We all need our fix to start the day and we enjoy the taste -- plus, there are so many different ways to prepare it. We like to add sugar, milk, cream, or simply drink it black.
But what if I told you there is something even better than coffee?? Yes, something that tastes better than coffee, AND is better for you?
Now, before anything, I must say that I cannot speak for everyone - Some people are VERY dedicated to coffee, and I cannot and will not try to take that away from them. I, however, will point out 8 reasons why I, personally, ditched coffee and began drinking Matcha, and why you might be inclined to do the same!
1) Less caffeine, More Energy
We tend to drink coffee for the energy it gives us. The caffeine helps to clear our mind of the morning clouded fog and gets us ready for the day. Hence, we often rely on it to wake up in the morning.
The only problem? The jitters and the crash.
Not all caffeine is created equal, and this why caffeine in different forms/products "feel different". Some may notice it more so than others, but the caffeine in coffee often results in jitters, shaky hands, and a fast-heart beat. I am sure we have all experienced this before when drinking a little more coffee than usual.
The jitters will often be followed by a crash. Yes, I am talking about that 2 pm "smack you in the face" crash where suddenly, the whole world is tumbling down. Your achy fingers long for a strong second cup to get you through the rest of the day.
Matcha, on the other hand, avoids that caffeine crash, and instead allows for continuous energy throughout the day. This is due to two main reasons:
1. One cup of Matcha, using 1 gram, has only 35mg of caffeine, while coffee has a little over 95mg.
But let's say you're an avid Matcha drinker: You like your Matcha strong, foamy, and slightly bitter, so you use about 3g to make your delicious cup of Matcha. You are then getting the same, if not more caffeine than a cup of coffee. Does this mean you are still going to get jitters and a crash?
Not necessarily- due to the presence of catechins and L-theanine,
2. These compounds in Matcha slow the absorption of caffeine into the bloodstream.
So instead of a sudden spike in energy, Matcha drinkers report feeling energized for an average of 4-6 hours, calm, cool, and collected.
2) You can be relaxed too.
While we're on the topic of L-theanine, I should point out that L-theanine is a relaxing, meditative compound that induces the production of alpha-waves. Alpha waves are similar to theta waves, the brain waves that are produced when you are sleeping. However, alpha waves have been proven to NOT induce a state of drowsiness, and in fact, do the complete opposite. It is similar to a state of meditation, where you are both mentally relaxed and focused.
Matcha has been my to-go drink for any situation where I need to be alert, focused, and also relaxed. Energy + unrelenting focus is a recipe for great work, mind, and body. I drink it before I begin work, and drink it after to relax. (It is very multi-purpose).
Ditching coffee during my undergraduate years, I relied on Matcha for energy and concentration. It also helped me to fight stress and nerves.
3) Unlike Coffee, it may not cause insomnia:
We have all experienced the restlessness of not being able to sleep because we drank too much coffee shortly before. Some of us are very sensitive of caffeine, and thus avoid coffee altogether to prevent insomnia. The main question, therefore, is if Matcha will do the same.
My own personal experiences cannot count as scientific evidence, but I would like to mention that I consume about 200-300mg of caffeine in a day from Matcha, divided into 2-3 cups throughout the day. The latest I have consumed Matcha was at 10 at night, and I did not have any trouble falling asleep. This, again, is due to the presence of L-theanine, which is purported to help with sleep and even improve sleep quality.
In fact, a study presented in a volume in the Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior Journal showed that L-theanine partially counteracted caffeine-induced sleep disturbances in rats, giving us further reason to believe that L-theanine and caffeine have a unique relationship with less side effects than coffee!
4) It is nutrient rich:
Other than its high caffeine count, coffee isn't very nutrient dense. If we compare one cup of black coffee to one cup of "black" Matcha , we can see that Matcha carries with it much more health benefits.
How do we define nutrient rich? By nutrient rich, I mean a rich presence of compounds and nutrients that are essential to the body.
First, let's look at the antioxidant count:
As I have mentioned in some blog posts before, antioxidants are the body's way of fighting against free radicals; the cancer-causing, skin-damaging, aging, and immune-weakening atoms. A diet high in antioxidants is purported to boost one's immune system, rejuvenate skin, protect against cellular damage, and prevent further cellular damage.
Matcha and coffee could be no different at their core, but given that Matcha is famous for its high ORAC count, let's look at some exact numbers:
A test conducted by the French Agricultural Research Center for International Development showed a ORAC count of 2780 per 100g of brewed coffee. Matcha has an ORAC of 1374 per gram. WAIT. This is per gram, not 100g. This means that:
Matcha has a whopping ORAC of 137,400 per 100g.
Let's look at some more nutrients:
Antioxidants are not the only compounds that make Matcha so good for you. In fact, it is overflowing with essential nutrients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, magnesium, zinc, selenium, and so much more. High-quality Matcha is also rich in Chlorophyll, giving it its slightly blue-green hue! Chlorophyll has been known to help to detoxify the body and rid it of harmful toxins.
5) It Boosts Your Metabolism:
While coffee certainty may give the illusion of a speedy metabolism due to an increase in energy, Matcha shames coffee when it comes to speeding up your body's natural metabolic rate.
Matcha's wonderful presence of catechins can increases your body's thermogenesis by up to (40%) and has been even shown to increase the rate of fat-burning when consumed prior to working out.
6) It Tastes Good:
I can feel the look you're giving me. You're thinking: "How dare you say that Matcha tastes better than coffee -- it tastes like seaweed! Coffee is buttery and tastes like pecans!"
True- Coffee does, and can, taste delicious. But most of the time, we are either filling it with sugar, milk, and cream, and when consumed black, it is often overwhelmingly bitter. Think back to the first time you tried coffee as a child - your tongue coiled, and you puckered your lips together at the astringent taste.
If we compare plain high-quality matcha with plain coffee, neither having any additives, Matcha tastes sweeter, earthier, and more floral than coffee. Granted, the taste does grow on you with time, the same way with coffee. This is just a personal observation, and many others may feel differently. I have to say I am biased, adoring matcha, but don't hate me, you die hard coffee fanatics!
7) You're not throwing it away.
The same goes for many other types of tea: you brew it, you drink the water, and you throw it away. With Matcha, on the other hand, you consume the whole leaf, since it is powdered. This means that not only are you wasting it, but you also get 100% of all the nutrients in Matcha.
8) It can be less expensive:
Matcha can seem like a luxury good. After all, it comes at a much higher price per gram than coffee. But, while coffee is on average much less expensive than Matcha, we spend a lot of money on it.
Let us just consider a scenario in which we stop by a coffee-shop every morning. We buy a $3.00 coffee and give a tip for a total of $3.50. We do this 5 times a week spending a total of $17.50. We do this for one month, and end up spending roughly $70.00.
A 30g can of ceremonial grade Matcha can cost at most $30.00. Even if you double the average intake, and consume 60g in a month, that is still less than buying a cup of coffee 5x a week for a month.
There are some of the many reasons why Matcha is better than your average cup of coffee!
Ready to Experience the Many Wonders of Matcha Green Tea? Order your own organic ceremonial grade Matcha now!
(1) Ponte, Stefano. "The ‘Latte Revolution’? Regulation, Markets and Consumption in the Global Coffee Chain". World Development. Elsevier Science Ltdlume=30: 1099–1122.