Sarah Adler of Simply Real Health has always been a regular green tea drinker. She sporadically splurges on coffee, specifically when stopping into cool artisan cafes on her travels or on mornings when she craves the caffeine most (like Fridays or during seasons of cookbook writing). But everyday tea doesn’t do much to shift her energy, and beverages intended to pump her up can make her feel, as she says, “CRAZY,” causing an unpleasant mix of bloating and wooziness.
Enter matcha: a simple, solo-ingredient drink that packs a punch. Without the jitters, matcha delivers a little extra energy, providing that go. That flow. That conquer-the-world vibe. Plus, it’s delicious, versatile and packed with health benefits. It’s Sarah’s new obsession, and we sat down with her to find out why. Don’t miss the recipe at the end so you can brew your own at home.
What it is:
This powdered green tea is made from grinding the leaves whole, instead of steeping them in water. This means it provides all of the amazing health benefits of green tea, amplified, from nourishing antioxidants to a metabolism boost. However, it doesn’t come with that coffee caffeine spike and crash.
You can sip it brewed hot or cold, whether straight or latte-style. You can even bake it into cookies and cakes, add it to green smoothies, or sprinkle it over rice, quinoa or oatmeal.
Why to try it:
- It’s full of antioxidants and chlorophyll to detoxify, slow aging, reduce inflammation and disease, and heal other bodily distress.
- Compared to regular green tea, it has three times the caffeine boost, plus extra ECGC, the green tea compound in that naturally boosts metabolism.
- Unlike coffee, it contains a compound called L-theanine that stimulates alpha-brain waves, creating an alert but calm feeling in the body — much different than those java jitters.
Where and how to buy it:
Most matcha tea is still grown in Japan. If you pick a U.S. brand, it’s important to go with one that’s organic, since it’s newer here. The quality matters massively to both the flavor and the way your body digests the product.
We’ve tried at least 15 different kinds, and our favorite so far is a brand called Matchaful. (We recommend the “emerald” version for drinking straight and the “jade” version for lattes and baking.) It’s smoother, richer and less bitter than some of the others. The owner and creator went through her own shift from coffee to matcha and felt so passionate about it that she flew to Japan to meet matcha farmers and create her own carefully-sourced version.
How to make and drink it at home:
Here's the thing: matcha is naturally a little bitter, green and grassy. Not everyone loves that flavor — at least, not at first. It's an acquired taste, so when you’re starting out with matcha drinks, we recommend adding a bit of sweetener to your cup. Organic maple syrup and raw honey are great natural options. Beware of pre-sweetened powders — that refined sugar sacrifices both the taste and the health benefits.
Our favorite way to enjoy matcha is via a matcha tea latte or a latte "shot" with half the liquid. All it takes is a little matcha powder mixed with hot water, steamed milk of your choice and a touch of sweetness. Traditonally, matcha is blended in a bowl with a whisk, but we like to use a milk frother to keep things simple.
MATCHA TEA LATTE (LACTOSE-FREE/VEGAN OPTION)
Makes 1 serving
- 1/2 teaspoon matcha powder (or up to 1 teaspoon)
- 1/4 cup hot water
- 1/4 cup hot almond milk (like this one from New Barn), unsweetened cashew milk (like this one from Forager), or organic whole milk
- Optional: 1-2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
In a saucepan, heat water first. When hot, add matcha powder and froth with milk frother or whisk. Add sweetener, then milk of your choice. Froth again and serve hot. If you prefer an iced version, you can follow Sarah’s guide here.
p.s. Have you tried this alkaline, plant-based beauty food blend?