Despite my early morning wake-ups practically every day of the week, I get by in life without any form of caffeine. I have never particularly appreciated the taste of coffee, so I almost never go near the stuff. Since I don’t drink Coke, or regular tea, this means that any small amount of caffeine I do ingest often affects me quite significantly; thus I stick to herbal teas.
One brand of tea I particularly like is Teapigs. The brand originates from the UK, but came to HK last year and has fast developed a following. They contacted me a few weeks ago asking if I would like to take part in their Matcha Challenge, for the chance to win a 6-month’s supply of tea.
Now, despite what I just said about rarely drinking caffeine, anyone who knows me well will know that I like a good challenge; challenge me at something and, provided it’s something I can physically do, I’ll throw myself into it and try my best to win. As you can imagine, I therefore jumped at the chance of winning a 6-month’s supply of Teapigs tea and willingly accepted the challenge.
In time for the 1st May, I received a box containing a pot of Teapigs matcha tea, an electric whisk and my instructions: I was to use half a teaspoon of matcha every day for 14 consecutive days, anyway I chose to use it, and document it on social media, including how it made me feel.
For all those who are wondering what I’m on about, let me tell you a little bit about matcha. Matcha is literally ground organic green tea leaves. When you drink green tea normally, you throw away the leaves and drink just the water. You’re therefore throwing away all the goodness. With matcha, however, you’re ingesting the whole leaf, so every last bit of goodness goes inside you. If green tea is good for you, then matcha is 15 times better. It is extremely high in antioxidants and boosts energy without giving you that sudden caffeine kick that goes away as quickly as it’s come. Instead, matcha slowly releases its natural caffeine to give you a much more gentle and sustained energy boost that lasts for up to six hours.
Initially, I wasn’t sure how I was going to get creative with my matcha. I searched around, asked for suggestions, experimented a little and managed to create 14 different ways of enjoying my matcha. I made it into smoothies, lattes, cookies, cupcakes, pancakes, made it into a spread, used it as a breakfast topping, a dessert topping, and even used it as a savoury topping on poached eggs!
Admittedly, on the first day of my matcha challenge, having not had any caffeine for quite some time, I did feel the effects quite significantly. It didn’t give me the shakes or heart palpitations, as has been the case with other forms of caffeine, but it definitely gave me a serious a buzz that lasted well into the afternoon.
I always drank (or ate) my matcha after having done exercise – considering I usually work out at 6.30am, there was simply no way I was getting up any earlier than was necessary to make myself a matcha smoothie! I can imagine that if I was a late riser, or exercised later in the day, matcha would have given me even more of a competitive streak and a welcome energy boost to get me through the workout. Instead, I had to rely on my own energy to push myself, and used matcha to help in my recovery after the workout, which it really did.
Matcha is supposedly good for weight loss. I can’t say I noticed a huge weight shed on me personally, but what I did notice is that my metabolism was on fire! I’d have a decent breakfast at 8am and be starving by 10. Perhaps if I didn’t eat quite as much as I do, then I’d be as thin as a match(a) stick now!
Another thing I noticed during my matcha challenge, is that a couple of times I felt like I had a cold coming on, particularly with the constant change in temperature. I think that under any other circumstances, the cold would have materialised, but it never did – I can’t help but think that it was those antioxidants in my little green superhero friend that protected me!
Now that the challenge is over, I have become quite attached to my little green friend. My favourite ways of using matcha were in a superfood smoothie (with berries, chia seeds and cacao nibs for example), as a very simple matcha latte with a dash of honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon, and also as matcha sea salt on top of poached eggs with Parma ham, avocado and spinach – don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it! See all my matcha creations on my Instagram page.
Teapigs matcha is available from their website and is priced at $300 per pot.