Why on earth would I try to quit coffee? That’s a fair question. Coffee, a dark brown liquid derived from roasted and grounded coffee beans, has practically been ingrained in Western culture since the time the home brewer came to the mass market. Even the Italians talk fondly about it, so it must be as good as some EVOO right? From sneaking in syrupy sips from coffee shop concoctions as a teenager to braving through college exams, to cramming in work deadlines, coffee has been the way of life for many of us. Until a certain point, it just doesn’t quite jive the way it used to. The highs we used to chase during exam season, turn into headaches. The taste we used to savor, now turns into another mechanical part of our morning routine. It goes without saying, too much of a good thing can turn sour quickly. And that’s the thing with coffee, the more you drink it, the worse you begin to feel.
On the contrary, you might have seen something peculiar starting to make its way onto barista counters. A semi-dome shaped ceramic bowl; as if a teacup and a soup bowl had a baby. That’s called chawan, a traditional Japanese ceremonial matcha bowl. Beside it, a dainty-looking, bamboo whisk. They sit curiously on the counter waiting to be tactfully used. As an order is placed for an almond matcha latte, water is gently heated, just before boiling. A spoonful of (hopefully) bright green powder, as fine as talc, is poured into the ceramic bowl. And now this is where it gets interesting, the barista, in one swift movement of the wrist, grabs the whisk and enters the ceramic bowl, furiously zigzagging from the top to the bottom of the bowl. Until all of these fine matcha powder particles are dissolved, and you’re left with a fluffy layer of foam. The steamed vegan milk goes in, and the emerald liquid quickly rises to the top of the foamy milk. As it comes forward on the tongue, that striking vegetal flavor and umami of freshly ground Japanese tea leaves surfaces to the conscious. Followed by the sweetness of the milk, making for a creamy, delicious morning treat. Matcha provides a soothing solution to caffeine cravings, but after regular consumption, you may find that your coffee cravings will subside altogether. This is great for people who are trying to cut back on coffee this year due to caffeine dependency or health issues.
Age and Caffeine Sensitivity
Do you suffer odd symptoms from drinking coffee, that you never used to before? According to doctors, this is quite common. Research shows that as we get older, our body’s ability to clear caffeine from the system reduces. In a study, coffee drinkers between the ages of 65-70 took 33% longer to metabolize caffeine than younger participants. When caffeine takes longer to clear from the system, the symptoms are amplified, such as anxiety, jitteriness, sleeplessness, and racing heart rate or thoughts. When DōMatcha® was started, we experienced a tremendous outpour from our customers, that matcha made a significant difference in how they felt, and for many, it was the solution to help them wean off their coffee habit. However, many customers also indicated that even the slight caffeine content in matcha was not tolerable. As a result, working with one of the premium Japanese matcha suppliers and producers in Uji, Kyoto, the team underwent a 4-year research and development process—-to come up with the cleanest process to produce the first decaffeinated matcha on the market. When decaf matcha came to the market it was an immediate hit, as it resolved the issue of caffeine in matcha. Now matcha lovers can safely enjoy matcha whenever they want, be it am or pm without suffering the consequences of caffeine consumption. Even people who do not have severe caffeine sensitivity enjoy alternating between ceremonial grade matcha in the morning, and the decaf version during the afternoon to ensure their sleep cycle is not disrupted. DoMatcha decaf matcha is also similar in quality to our premium matcha, Master’s Choice as it’s produced by the same supplier. Decaf matcha is not only a superior matcha blend, but it has minimal traces of caffeine, around 6mg/g, or the same as decaf coffee.
Decaf Matcha vs Decaf Coffee
If the caffeine is the issue why not switch to decaf coffee? Another fair question. A side-by-side comparison of DoMatcha decaffeinated matcha versus decaf coffee will reveal significant nutritional differences. Although each has minimal calories, when we look deeper into the micronutrient profiles, we will find that matcha contains polyphenols and catechins (antioxidants) that have higher potency and absorbency than arabica coffee beans. One gram of matcha has an ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity) value of 1384. Compared to a cup of roasted arabica coffee, which has an ORAC value of 27.8 per gram.
Why Antioxidants are Good for Health Maintenance
- Micronutrients: High ORAC fruits, vegetables, and herbs often contain key micronutrients like copper, zinc, magnesium, and iron, and vitamins like C and E, which are essential for staving off infections and diseases.
- Slower cognitive and physical decline: Consuming a diet full of ORAC-rich foods may result in slower cognitive and physical decline. This is because oxidative stress plays a great role in aging and the progression of neurodegenerative diseases. Antioxidants help fight against oxidative stress.
- Slow down biological clock: Free radical damage results from environmental pollutants and speeds up the aging process. This may be staved off or even reversed through regular consumption of high-antioxidant foods.
Decaf matcha also contains L-theanine, vitamin C, chlorophyll, chromium, selenium, zinc, magnesium, and other inorganic elements. L-theanine is a powerful amino acid exclusive to green and black teas that has a calming effect on the nervous system. Chlorophyll is a deep green pigment that results when plants photosynthesize and create energy from light.
Other the contrary, decaf coffee does not contain any significant vitamins like C, A, K, or E. It does contain trace levels of magnesium, riboflavin, and potassium, as well as phenolic compounds.
Who Should Drink Decaf Matcha?
Practically anyone can consume decaf matcha, but the individuals who will benefit the most are caffeine-sensitive individuals or pregnant and nursing women. Decaf matcha is extremely labor-intensive to make using the proprietary clean water decaffeination method. This is why it warrants a higher price. If you have regular caffeine tolerance and love your matcha habit, you may want to stick with ceremonial-grade matcha for daily consumption. You may reserve decaf matcha for afternoons or evenings to avoid any sleep disturbances or restlessness later in the day. A nutritionist we’ve worked with in the past mentioned that during particularly stressful times, she would switch to decaf matcha to ease her anxiety.
How to Make Decaf Matcha
Decaf matcha is ideally consumed straight as a tea. It is prepared the same way as ceremonial grade matcha. You will need:
Optional: Soak your bamboo whisk in hot water to loosen up the fronds.
Preboil your water in a kettle. While the water is heating, scoop decaf matcha powder into a ceremonial bowl. Pour a small amount of water into the bowl and using your bamboo whisk, whisk vigorously until all matcha powder is dissolved. Add more water and keep whisking (using a Z or M motion) until a light froth appears at the top. Transfer to a cup or drink directly from the bowl. Option to add steamed plant-based milk over the top to make a delicious decaf matcha latte.
Make the Transition Smooth!
If you are heavily caffeine-dependent, going cold turkey and switching to decaf matcha may come as a shock. To avoid withdrawal symptoms, start by steadily reducing your coffee intake, maybe from 2 to 3 cups to one in the morning. Replace your mid-morning or afternoon bevy with a regular ceremonial grade matcha. And then slowly replace your morning coffee with regular ceremonial matcha, and your afternoons with decaf matcha. Be patient with the process: Assess your energy levels and mood because everyone will react differently. Many of our customers at DoMatcha have reported that they feel more energized and calm by replacing their daily coffees with matcha.