My own cup of (warm!) matcha
I stopped drinking soda about a year ago (buh-bye, Diet Mountain Dew) when I started eating more healthfully. One thing I did miss was the caffeine boost from that good old Diet Dew at school during lunchtime. I heard about matcha and decided to try it–for the wake-up effect, but also for the purported weight loss boost green tea can offer.
I had been hearing all kinds of health buzz about this trendy new tea, matcha. I decided to give it a try and started drinking matcha twice a day at the beginning of this school year (one on the way to my 5am kickboxing class and one about 30 minutes before lunch at school). I noticed right away that I didn’t get tired in the afternoons anymore. AND, something I didn’t expect also happened: I lost 8 pounds with the first 2 weeks with zero changes in diet and exercise. BONUS!! I had already been eating healthfully, drinking lots of (nothing but) water, and working out 6 days a week for 4 months at that point and I had been stuck at a plateau for the last month. Sure, it was probably water weight (green tea IS a diuretic). But hey, I’ll take whatever I can get!
I’m not gonna lie…the taste of straight-up matcha requires some getting used to. Unless you buy very high quality matcha, it can taste really bitter. Even the best stuff still has a distinctive taste–especially for people like me who don’t like coffee and really don’t like green tea unless it’s mixed with sweet stuff and flavors. But the health benefits are worth the time getting used to it! I have recommended it to everyone I know and a lot of my friends are now matcha fans.
When I’m home I like to whip up matcha lattes. I add cocoa powder, a dash of cinnamon, and a packet of stevia sweetener. I froth in unsweetened almond or coconut milk–nothing against cow’s milk [that’s what I use for cereal and drink other times], but I’ve read that the protein in cow’s milk wipes out some of the antioxidants; not sure that’s true, but I like the taste of almond and coconut milk in the matcha anyway. Yummy!
When I’m on the road to work out or at school I can’t do all of that, so most of time I just add a matcha blend from GotMatcha (this is where I get all of my matcha) into a shaker bottle with water and some almond milk. When I’m ready to drink it, I just shake it up. I like the their Cacao Matcha Blend because it energizes me for a tough workout, and I love all of their other flavor blends for my at-school matcha (two of my favorite blends are Mocha and Pumpkin Spice!).
So what is matcha?
Unlike regular green tea where the leaves are steeped then removed, matcha green tea is a fine powder that is mixed into hot (or cold) liquids and consumed. Matcha has been used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies since the 12th century (remember it from Karate Kid 2 where Daniel goes to Okinawa with Mr. Miyagi?). The best matcha comes from Japan and has to be grown in very particular places, during particular times of the year, and harvested in particular ways. All of this “particular” process makes it pretty expensive.
The best matcha comes from Japan and should be a bright spring green in color. It should be organic and the best-of-the-best matcha comes from the first harvest.
Matcha is absolutely packed with antioxidants. One cup of matcha is the nutritional equivalent of 10 cups of regular green tea! Yes, this means there is more caffeine, too. But somehow the caffeine in matcha makes you calm and alert, not jittery. And then there’s the whole “green tea weight loss magic” thing. The only downsides I have experienced in the 7 months I’ve been drinking matcha is the price (yep, it is expensive). So on the whole, I HIGHLY recommend matcha to anyone who wants an alternate to coffee that has a lot of great health benefits.
Have you heard that matcha is officially a 2016 lifestyle trend? I am not surprised at all.
Disclosure: I have recently become an affiliate for GotMatcha, so if you were to sign up for or purchase any matcha or matcha blends from GotMatcha using my affiliate link (which is the one used for the GotMatcha links in this post), I do get a small kickback. I do really love their blends, though, and I was drinking them for months before becoming an affiliate.