Got Matcha? Why This Secret Starbucks Health Drink Will Change Your Life

matcha starbucksI've heard some rumblings about how there is something called matcha and it's really good for you, as in fights cancer, keeps your mental focus, helps you lose weight, makes your skin look like a precious newborn's, and pays your rent for a year. (That last bit is the only one that's not proven.) 


I had to have it. Now. Tomorrow. Always and forever because I've decided this is my fountain of youth. I became your sacrificial lamb and tried it for a week to share the results. Yes, I'm being dramatic, but as a mom with twins I need the jolt, the clear skin, the living long and prosper stuff.

Get this. Matcha is at Starbucks, which makes things so much easier for me. It's one of the secret menu items and isn't just green tea, it's a specially grown Japanese green tea rich in antioxidants and theanine and chlorophyll (good things!), and it's a finely ground beautiful green power. My favorite color. So I decide to head to Starbucks with my sister to try it out. It turns out my sister -- a world traveler expat -- has already had it with the Queen of Japan and loves it. (The Queen of Japan stuff isn't true.)

When my sister and I were talking about ordering it, we weren't exactly sure how to say it. She's only heard it in Japanese. I was worried I was going to say it wrong and have someone point out my error making me feel like I did when I called quinoa "kin-oh-ah" for months and months to everyone before some bold soul corrected me. It's MA-cha, by the way. And if we're keeping score, I said it right the first time. We ordered two grande matcha frappuccinos.

The barista gave it to us with whipped cream, which I typically leave off when I order a coffee frappuccino. This isn't dessert. This is serious health stuff here. And even though I'm the kind of person who indulges in cookies for breakfast, I wanted my matcha in all its matcha-ness for all future matcha endeavors.

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It's spring where I am in New York -- at least it's supposed to be. On this particular day, the day I tried matcha for the first time, it was freezing out -- there was frost in the morning. It snowed. Not your typical mid-April day but we got the frozen matcha anyway because if you think spring, spring will come. (We hoped as we ran back to the car in our sandals.)

With matcha coursing through our bodies, we felt magical. Let it be known, I'm a coffee fiend. I don't really like tea in any form, though I've suffered through chamomile with honey when sick. Green teas typically make my tongue feel like sandpaper but I was mostly focused on the benefits of matcha and willing to try it no matter how bad. But the taste ... oh my goodness it was delicious. My sister reminded me that anything in the form of a frappuccino with whipped cream was going to be delicious. Still, I was getting my matcha, my alertness, my cancer fighting agents, and skin beautifying antioxidants, so it didn't matter. It was earthy and sweet, and I didn't feel parched. More matcha, please.

Day two of my matcha experiment was a dud. It was cold and rainy and I had zero energy to get myself to Starbucks or a store that sold matcha to make my own. No matcha for me. I was tired. There were snow flurries again. But on the third day, I rose and went back to Starbucks, this time ordering a matcha with no whip. The barista asked me if I wanted simple syrup. He must have thought I was a healthy matcha lady who knows the secret menu item and just came from hot yoga. Inspired, I said with a smile, "Just a little." Bad idea. This matcha wasn't as good as the other matcha, but still leaps and bounds better than any other tea. I made a mental note: I like matcha with sugar. And I remembered my mental note because matcha increases metal alertness.

After two days of horrible weather, while drinking my second matcha, the sun came out. I swear flowers bloomed before my eyes. I was awake. I could feel my body becoming healthier with every sip.

I am not joking when I say this, but it's been real spring ever since. Matcha related? That's for you to decide, but I feel invigorated and new. And I love matcha.

You don't have to have a full-on frappa-macha (I just made that up) to get the benefits -- some love a matcha shot or a hot matcha cup of tea. It's easy to brew, as I've learned, and was told to be a little spendy since the super cheap stuff isn't as beneficial. And the benefits are real and proven. The caffeine in it is equal to a cup of coffee, but you get more of an "alert calm" instead of jitters. I will attest this to be true. It's also known as the zen tea, and it reduces cortisol which gives you belly fat and stress and breakouts. Matcha fixes that. It makes the sun come out (at least it did for me). It also boosts self-esteem and compassion so serve it to your friend who really needs that. Oh and your metabolism will increase.

Matcha's polyphenols are linked to protection against cancer and heart disease, regulating blood sugar and blood pressure. The EGCG in matcha is what has been shown by researchers to decrease or completely stop the growth of cancer cells. Why aren't we all drinking this all the time?!

It's been over a week, and matcha has found a permanent place in my day ... after my cup of beloved morning coffee, of course.


Do you drink matcha? What do you think of it?


Images via Michele Zipp


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