For die-hard coffee lovers, going through life without another coffee is simply incomprehensible, right? Well, the unthinkable is fast becoming a reality, and it might not be what you expect–say hello to matcha.
What is matcha? Well, matcha is actually a form of green tea originating in Japan. Preparation methods don’t follow traditional tea-making norms–matcha is ground into a powder and whisked through boiling water, meaning all its nutritional properties remain in your cup. Considered by some experts to possess more health benefits–both for mind and body–than coffee, it’s been hailed by many as a great drink to replace your morning coffee and is unsurprisingly climbing the popularity ranks among those that consider their morning jolt to be a vital part of their day.
So, with a plethora of reasons for adopting a cup of frothy green matcha, can the die-hard coffee enthusiasts among you be convinced? Let’s break down the benefits of this newcomer to the caffeine scene.
It Has Plenty of Caffeine
An undeniable pull of coffee is the effect of the caffeine on your body first thing in the morning. Although not always thought of as a source of caffeine, tea–especially green tea–does contain its fair share of the popular pick-me-up. While every matcha drinker will have their individual preferences in terms of how large or how intense a brew should be, an average cup might contain as much caffeine as half an espresso. An added advantage is that matcha’s composition also affords a slower release of caffeine–meaning less intense highs and lows throughout the day–as well as distinct flavors especially great for people who don’t like coffee.
Matcha Has Antioxidants
Green tea varieties contain a great number of antioxidants, known as catechins. These catechins contain properties which may reduce aging and whose restorative values can improve skin health and vitality. Antioxidants might also be able to help fight against the adverse effects of free radicals–compound elements that have been linked with chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. What’s more, given the composition of ground matcha leaves, none of the goodness (antioxidants) is lost when the drink is prepared, as the leaves are consumed and not disregarded–making it an especially great coffee alternative for a sensitive gut.
It’ll Make Your Mouth Healthier
What if you could have a drink that actually reversed bad breath, while fighting the bacteria that causes oral health problems? Research has suggested that the catechins in the drink not only act as antioxidants for the body, but that these same catechins can get to work reducing gum disease and tooth decay. The added bonus of this long term benefit–better breath. The bacteria the catechins fight are the same bacteria that are responsible for bad breath.
Eat It Instead
Being in powder form, matcha is a very versatile ingredient, and is essentially a food as well as a drink. Should you want a beautiful green smoothie with an antioxidant hit thrown in, sprinkle in some matcha the next time the blender is going, or spice up your lime cheesecake with a bit of matcha for good measure.
So, is matcha a good alternative to coffee? Samurais are believed to have drunk matcha before battle, while Buddhist monks have, since ancient times, claimed it to be one of life’s true elixirs. Matcha might be a healthier, more diverse caffeine alternative–but can a cup of this tea really replace coffee, so established in our culture? Try it for yourself and find out!