I used to love coffee and was probably, most likely, actually most definitely a coffeeholic! …at heart…
What did I like about it?
I loved the process, preparing a freshly brewed cup, it was almost like my morning ceremony, my ritual, my time. I never had more than two a day as it was my treat a day to allow myself to spend time away from work and other chorus. And check-in with myself to ask ‘how are you’.
However, over the last few years, coffee and I seem to have started to go our separate ways. I started to feel more jittery, my adrenalin seem to be significantly increased and my body and then my mind didn’t start to feel balanced. I felt stressed after each cup and could feel the adrenaline rising inside my body. I felt hot, sweaty, my skin started to become increasingly oily, experiencing break-outs and my hands started to shake. My mind felt nervous, less focused and overall I was more irritable.
It could have been due to all types of reason, from growing older, or simply running a startup which I never expect to be that intense.
What did I do then?
I started to experiment. I started to leave certain types of food out but as my awareness increasingly grew and seeing the connection between each cup and feeling more irritable, I started to cut out coffee completely. Each day, I noticed the difference, feeling more relaxed and at ease. It took a few weeks to get it out of my system but ultimately, the feeling of nervousness due to the increased level of adrenaline and the constant state of “fly or flight” started to disappear.
We all naturally produce adrenaline. We don’t simply wake up in the morning and are ready to tackle the word just because the sun went up. It is a carefully crafted mechanism in our bodies that start to gently wake us up. The melatonine reduces and the body starts to produce adrenaline to wake you in the morning. Thus, many say, don’t have a cup of coffee first thing in the morning when you wake up but wait till around 11am when the adrenaline drops. But we see it as such a need and habit – a warm hug in the morning to help us get through it.
Having worked on my start-up NAYA now for a few years, I naturally produced more adrenaline – important calls, meetings, sales pitches, your packaging doesn’t arrive, you are out off stock, a bigger order you need to fulfill, tight deadlines, etc. All these new experiences stretches you. It is an experience that yet one needs to get familiar with. But at the initial stages, as it is new, the body releases adrenaline. At least in my case, as everything I did was a new experience to me. While I have worked in the corporate world, got involved in a few startups, it is simply not the same when it is your ‘own baby’ starting it from the ground up.
My morning routine
Even through I knew I felt better without coffee, my mind, my body and ultimately my sole – something was missing.
My mid-morning routine and afternoon routine that I so enjoyed was gone. The moment during the day to connect with myself and check in how I am doing – was gone.
Many years ago, I tried Matcha – and it wasn’t the best experience. Good ceremonial Matcha is expensive – naturally you start with the cheaper stuff before you work your way up. In case you don’t like it. Let’s face it. I read about the different types, reached out to producers on the ground in Japan to learn more about this ancient drink. I tried various cafes that offer Matcha in London and asked them where they got theirs from. Some taste sweater than others which had naturally added sugar to cover up the sometimes bitter and fishy taste – or simply the low grade.
I have searched for a year, before I came across someone where I fell in love with the Green Drink. And I must say, it is nothing like what you can get online on Amazon or other online places. Of course, it isn’t comparable with the taste of coffee, it has its own unique taste but it is the feeling that I feel in love with. The feeling of calm and focus.
How does it taste?
The taste of high quality Matcha should be smooth, gently “green” and not bitter, and definitely not like seaweed rice crackers or fishy. It is “creamy without cream” and “almost sweet without any bitterness”. This makes it easy to drink purely with water (the traditional way) or as a matcha latte! And I do prefer a more frothier taste so half of my cup is oat milk.
Is there caffeine in Matcha?
Genuine Ceremonial Grade Matcha contains only 1/3 of the caffeine found in coffee. And its effects are cancelled out by L-theanine, an amazing nutrient in Matcha that provides energy and alertness without the jitters. It lowers anxiety (the opposite effect to coffee) and increases social confidence and creativity!. Matcha served in cafes and health food shops is usually much higher in caffeine and has similar negative effects as coffee. Or actually, as I found out, it is a mix. So it isn’t the pure matcha powder but mixed with other ingredients such as sugar to meet the taste buds of the western society and to cover up the low grade of the matcha.
What’s the difference between your Matcha and others?
The Matcha I drink and source directly from the producers is a genuine Ceremonial Grade. They even have a difference when it comes to the various Ceremonial Grades. And if of interest, I can share more about it. It is the highest quality matcha that can be found – with the most health benefits and the finest taste. The reason being that only certain leaves are being used in the process.
Many matcha products sold in stores are lower grades – either culinary or daily (even though they are often labelled “Ceremonial”) We face the same issue here as in Natural Beauty. Like ‘natural’, the word ‘ceremonial’ isn’t protected when it comes to Matcha.
Its colour is electric green and its taste is never bitter and easy to drink pure. If the colour is a tint of dark green, more like muddy, it is more culinary grade and not suitable for drinking. The real quality Matcha is almost neon green.
What else is important to know?
You also need to look out for the following:
Ideally, the producer has tested their Matcha free from Fukushima radiation. Ideally it is being produced from a region far away from Fukushima.
Matcha that is certified Organic and tested free from pesticides. Whereas non-organic matcha usually has pesticides to survive the “shading” process that tea plant undergoes into order to become “matcha”.
I hope you find this helpful. It was a journey that took me more than a year. To change something that I fell in love with. But also a habit that I added to my ‘personality portfolio’. We do change along the way. So even if you love something at the moment, you might find something else that will suit you simply better given your circumstances as I did. Doesn’t mean I don’t have a coffee from time to time – but I do start to appreciate Matcha as it is my daily ritual to allow myself to check in with me.