Coffee Vs. Matcha
I feel like social media has blown up over bulletproof coffee and matcha. My instagram feed is filled with beautiful images of green tea lattes or cream seeping into a delicious iced coffee. I recently took a break from coffee for about a month. After a week or two of night shifts earlier this summer, coffee began to really hurt my stomach and the taste started to just not resonate well with me. Listening to my body (see guys! I really am trying to be in tune with what my physical body needs), I decided to take a break from it until it seemed alluring to me.
The month I was off coffee, to be perfectly honest, was not life changing. I didn't sleep any better nor did I avoid the 2 pm crashes. But I did find some great substitutes for coffee on a caffeine level. When I decided to start drinking coffee again (cue this month of night shifts) I also found that I really only wanted about a cup of it.
Coffee beans are actually roasted seeds from the coffee plant. They are harvested from the "coffee cherry" (I used to eat this in Guatemala all the time in the peace corps, they are super sweet and have some caffeine, which can make your tongue feel numb), dried, fermented, and then roasted. The roast of the coffee determines how acidic and caffeinated it will be. The lighter the roast, the more acidic and caffeinated it will be compared to darker roast.
Matcha is green tea leaves that have been ground into a powder. The green tea is actually grown in the shade to produce a better flavor and texture (note: shade grown coffee also produces a better flavor). The leaves are harvested, steamed to briefly stop fermentation and dried before being ground.
Ahhhhh caffeine... the best legal drug out there. Caffeine is considered a stimulant. In layman's terms it blocks a receptor called adenosine in your brain, that provides calming and drowsiness. It also dilates your blood vessels to accommodate oxygen needs of your body while you are sleeping. Caffeine, does the exact opposite. By blocking the adenosine from connecting to their receptors, the brain is woken up and your blood vessels are constricting sending more blood through you heart and out into you muscles (which is why people's heart race after they have had one or two cups too many of coffee).
Coffee contains tons of caffeine! Which is why a cup or two in the morning and throughout the day can essentially wake you up and get you moving. It is also why too much of it can lead to withdrawal symptoms like grumpiness, headaches, and sleepiness/lethargy (seriously! you should see me after a week of night shifts! haha!)
Tea, especially matcha also contain caffeine, however traditional tea levels lose quite a bit of it during the brewing process. Matcha on the other hand does not. It contains the equivalent to a cup of coffee. However, matcha also contains another chemical (I know, I know, who would have thought this would turn into a biology/chemistry lesson... stay with me, I am almost to the good stuff!) called l-theanine, which produces a calming feeling without losing the energy from the caffeine. This is why many people who drink matcha on a regular basis will say that it gives them an "alert calm" instead of the jittery side of coffee.
I love a good cup of coffee and I also love a good cup of matcha. I am super susceptible to the anxiety producing effects that the levels of caffeine in coffee can have on me and I also will definitely feel my heart pounding and feeling the need to jump out of my skin if I have had too much coffee. Matcha on the other hand, does keep me alert and aware, but does not give me the jump start that coffee can. I genuinely enjoy the taste of matcha as well, where some people do not like the earthy goodness it offers.
So for now, I think I will stick to my tea and dabble in coffee use. I have felt more calm since drinking tea, but not necessarily more energized. What have you tried that helps curve the coffee buzz? Are you an avid tea drinker? Let me know your thoughts!!
As always #liveJOYful