I used to be obsessed with making quality coffee. I had every piece of equipment imaginable: espresso machine, Chemex, Aeropress, French Press, you name it I had it.
I’d heat the water to the precise temperature that’s best for ground coffee. I’d grind the beans fresh and use a scale to ensure I was using a consistent amount of coffee grinds. I tried new beans weekly in an attempt to find my preferred roast (I used to describe my preferred flavour as a cup of leather).
As with many things, I began to go overboard. I was consuming over six cups of coffee a day and felt like it was necessary fuel to get through a day. Akin to a car, if I didn’t drink coffee my brain would not function.
That didn’t sit right with me, so I challenged myself to quit coffee for a month. That month extended to a year. And that year extended to, well, the rest of my life.
I won’t lie or pretend I haven’t drank any coffee in the last six years, but it’s been minimal and inconsistent.
Life After Coffee
Early into my challenge, I knew I would need some form of caffeine if I was going to remain upright so I turned to green tea. My wife introduced it to me a few years prior and I enjoyed it. Before that, the only tea I ever drank was the iconic Red Rose.
Unfortunately as much as I enjoyed green tea, it didn’t satisfy me. While I didn’t mind the taste, I needed something more potent as my morning drink.
That’s when I discovered matcha.
I love matcha for several reasons:
- I love the flavour
- It’s good for you and is high in anti-oxidants (read more about the health benefits here)
- The caffeine in matcha is different than the caffeine from coffee in that it gives you a gradual energy burst rather than a quick hit and crash. Here’s an excerpt from Lifehack explaining why:
Due to the presence of the L-theanine phytonutrient, the caffeine is stored in the body and released at a much slower pace. On the average, it takes up to three hours for the body to absorb the whole caffeine content of matcha green tea. This enables it to keep the body energized for a longer period without suffering the consequences of a caffeine spike.
All in all, it turned out to be the perfect replacement for coffee. Instead of six cups of coffee per day, I drink one serving of matcha in the morning and then a couple cups of green tea throughout the afternoon.
My Matcha Process
Here’s how I make my matcha every morning:
- Place a tablespoon of matcha into a bowl (I have a little matcha bowl that works well, similar to this).
- Pour a small amount of hot water into the bowl, maybe 1/4 of a cup.
- Using a matcha whisk (highly recommended), mix the powder into the water until it starts to foam/bubble. You can use a spoon if you must, but a bamboo whisk is much better at getting a good mix.
- Steam a mug of milk (or just nuke it in the microwave) and add the matcha to the mug. I recommend giving it a good stir first. If you’re a slow drinker, give it a mix every now and then. Matcha has the tendency to settle to the bottom of the mug.
- Enjoy! You won’t get an immediate energy boost, but as the day goes on, you’ll start to feel it.
When I first started drinking matcha, I tried to drink it without the milk, but I couldn’t do it. I found it very difficult to stomach (and this is coming from someone whose lactose-intolerant). It’s almost like drinking a blended leaf smoothie. Adding some milk makes it much more digestible and completely changes the flavour. If you can do it without milk, more power to you!
At first I was put off by the cost of matcha. It can be very expensive depending on where you buy it, but it doesn’t have to be. There are two main kinds of matcha you’ll find:
- Culinary grade matcha. This type of matcha is best for cooking and is often the cheapest matcha available. It’s not suited for drinking as it tends to be a little grainy. If you’re like me and mix your matcha with milk, you may be able to get away with using culinary grade matcha.
- Ceremonial grade matcha. This is the highest grade of matcha and tends to be a finer consistency. It also has a much more nuanced flavour which makes it ideal for drinking. It’s a little more expensive, but definitely worth it.
If you’re wondering, this is the matcha I buy. It’s affordable, fresh, and is quickly delivered by Amazon.
Once matcha became part of my morning routine, I knew I had to commit to drinking it for as long as possible. It’s satisfying to read about the health benefits of drinking matcha, but if you don’t drink it consistently those benefits will never be realized.
If you’ve ever considered kicking your coffee addiction, or are just looking to try something new, I recommend drinking matcha in the morning and see if it works for you.