A common question I receive regarding matcha is "does matcha have caffeine in it?" It's understandable, as many people are sensitive to caffeine and the crashes in energy levels it can cause.
The short answer is yes it does. Matcha has about 25-35mg of caffeine in a 1 gram serving (compared to 80-100mg in a cup of brewed coffee). There are a lot of differences between the caffeine in matcha and that of coffee though.
While matcha does have caffeine in it, (like all tea that comes from the Camellia Sinensis
plant does), there's something very special about matcha. That's the synergistic relationship it has with an amino acid called L-Theanine. The process of shade growing matcha tea plants causes the the levels of amino acids - particularly L-Theanine - to skyrocket and matcha is packed
Why is this important? Well when you consume caffeine and L-theanine, it causes a sort of drip feed of caffeine into your blood stream. So when you drink matcha - you get a gentle yet energized, calming yet alert sensation. There's no caffeine crash that you get after a cup of coffee, and often this raised energy levels lasts for 4-6 hours.
L-theanine and caffeine are also known for decreasing anxiety levels, reducing fatigue and tiredness and increasing states of relaxation. So if you avoid caffeine for the the jittery feeling, the crashes or anxiety - you may be able to tolerate matcha quite well. It's no surprise that matcha has been used by Zen monks to aid in meditation practice for hundreds of years.
One of the biggest benefits that regular matcha drinkers report to me is their increased energy levels. The ability to focus for long periods and a calm, yet alert and energized sensation that lasts for several hours.
(feedback from a new matcha drinker!)
Now a personal story about my own relationship with coffee and how I came to find matcha tea:
Before I started Kenko Tea I worked as a chef in Melbourne Australia. It involved long hours on my feet, high stress situations and LOTS of coffee and energy drinks to get through the day. It got to the point where I was drinking 3-4 cups of coffee just to get through a day at work.
It'd start with the morning coffee when arriving to work. The smell of coffee and the instant hit of caffeine spiked my adrenaline levels. It felt great, I was on top of the world.. until the inevitable crash abut 30 minutes later. (This amusing cartoon by the Oatmeal accurately describes my
relationship with coffee)
And then I'd have another coffee to keep me going, only the second (and third) never quite felt like that initial hit of caffeine in the morning. It was a case of diminishing returns. All this caffeine induced stress wrecked havoc on my body.
I was constantly fatigued, I had stomach 'issues'. I felt wired and jittery from all the caffeine but couldn't stop drinking it otherwise I'd be exhausted too.
So the search for an alternative began, and that's when I came across matcha. I don't get any of the stomach 'issues' that I did with coffee. There's no wired, anxious feeling just a calm, relaxed gentle energy lift without the coffee crashes.
If you're thinking of trying matcha for the first time, then give it a try
- it changed my life for the better!