The first time I went cold turkey ditching my two morning cups of coffee, it hurt.
When I was undergoing serious medical treatment a few years ago, I sometimes had to limit my coffee intake. Just two hours into my first morning of no coffee, I felt a bit of a shock to my system, because I was experiencing a long, ongoing series of throbbing THUNKS where my neck meets my hairline. A dull pain set in that covered most of my head. I later learned that such headaches are a common sign of caffeine withdrawal.
I love caffeine, but this sort of bodily response both surprised me and knocked me for a loop. I later learned that these cold-turkey headaches were not necessary, and that there's a better way to quit coffee. This should be of interest to anyone who’s had the headaches, dehydration, jitters and shakes that coffee can bring.
Enter matcha, with its noted health benefits and high concentrations of the amino acid L-theanine – which deftly balances out the bodily discomfort of coffee while giving a prolonged, smooth energy boost. The energy that drinkers can expect from switching over to matcha is also decidedly more peaceful and drama-free.
For those mulling a change of morning beverage, here are three good ways to quit coffee by using matcha. Don't go the cold-turkey route!
1) Take two weeks to switch
It’s helpful to ease the transition from coffee to matcha slowly. I recommend drinking BOTH coffee and matcha for a while, in equal amounts. That is, if you drink two cups of coffee each morning, then you can instead make one cup of coffee plus one cup of matcha. Your body still gets caffeine and will not go into the shock that the cold turkey method brings. Plus, there’s the pleasing smells and nuances of making beverages that are special and varied – I sometimes wonder if I am as much drawn to the slowness and stillness that comes from morning tea as I am the taste, warmth as bevy of cancer-fighting catechins, flavonoids, and polyphenols (you may know them as anti-oxidants).
Rather than rush, spread the switch out over a few weeks by tapering the coffee use and replacing it with sifted, hot, frothed matcha. You'll start off with equal servings of coffee and matcha, but you will gradually increase your matcha while decreasing (or weaning yourself from) the coffee. You will probably notice in the first few days that you still feel energized but perhaps have a steadier approach to things, because those severe symptoms and headaches that come with the cold turkey method is not happening with this approach. You'll likely find yourself wanting more matcha, and less coffee.
2) Drink lots of water
Resetting your body’s chemistry is key, and copious amounts of water really help. Many realize the effects of years or decades of ongoing coffee usage in this time. It’s imperative to go gentle during this transition, and take regular water breaks throughout the day. You probably don’t need to drink water with each caffeinated drink, but instead consider toting a reusable water bottle with you, or otherwise finding ways to get six to eight glasses of hydrating water into your body as the day goes on. (some, including founder Eric Gower, prefer to take their water in the form of coldbrew matcha, but that's a whole separate topic).
3) Find a favorite tea tumbler
Back at Breakaway HQ, we like to make our matcha in tumblers like these because they are one-of-a-kind, sturdy, and visually striking.
It’s fun to have a “just for me” cup when it comes to matcha, and I often feel a little boost, maybe you call it a slight spring in my step? – when I see my favorite glazed vessel waiting for me on the kitchen shelf.
Whichever tumbler you choose, know that you are supporting the artists we know and love. Also, it’s important to know why, exactly, a tumbler is better for making matcha than, say, your favorite coffee mug, which is likely too small or too big for our matcha goals. The width of our tumblers ensures that you make matcha the way it’s meant to be, since the cup allows the sieve to rest “just so” on the top of the tumbler’s rim. That way, you can use a wooden scoop to gently nudge the tea powder through the sieve. Each tumbler also has properly measured space for you to grasp the tumbler and turn it with your hand, so that a milk foaming wand can easily froth up some green liquid magic.
Check out this tutorial on how we do it!
Good luck in your switch from coffee to matcha -- it's so worth it!