Can This Magical Tea Really Replace Coffee?

By Alyse Borkan  |  Apr 6, 2015
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Matcha tea, an up-and-coming caffeine craze, is a potent Japanese green-tea powder that has the potential to replace your Cup of Joe. With one serving of matcha boasting more than 34 milligrams of caffeine — Matcha lovers report it provides a sustained, focused energy for three to six hours without the shakes or crash of coffee. Matcha is harvested from green tea that is shaded 20 days prior to harvest. The shade boosts chlorophyll levels, giving matcha a vibrant green shade, and increases the presence of L-Theanine — the amino acids that is responsible for that “ calm but stimulated” feel commonly associated with tea.

Graham Fortgang, who launched MatchaBar — the nation’s first dedicated matcha cafe located in Brooklyn — was in search of an alternative to coffee. He wanted a substance powerful enough to fuel his busy life, but that did not lead to acid reflux, jitteriness, and the inevitable energy crash. Panatea, another New York startup, launched an online matcha store to teach consumers the art of making matcha at home.

Over the last year, matcha has gained popularity and even found its way into the hands of New York Fashion Week models who walked the runway for Marc Jacobs and VPL. Celebrity Chef David Chang sprinkles matcha powder on dishes at his infamous Momofuku Ko. You can add it to your hot chocolate, or infuse it in a latte at Starbucks and Peets. Even Trader Joe’s sells an inexpensive powder premixed with sugar and milk.

Matcha has vast differences in quality. Premium matcha powder can cost more than its weight in gold, but low-quality versions are cheap and readily available for brew. 

Coffee runs deep in the veins of millions, but keep your eyes open for matcha — it may steal some spotlight from droopy-eyed java addicts.
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