5 Reasons why Growth Hackers should put down their other caffeinated drink and get into the way of the tea
It’s 3am, and you need to launch your latest project in t-minus four hours. Your eyes belong only to your screen, but your brain is foggy, and your hands are vibrating like an iPhone. An array of empty bottles, cans, and mugs are strewn across your desk – testaments to the lengths you’ll go to stay up all night in the name of growing your company.
Maybe that last Club Mate wasn’t such a good idea after all.
Growth hackers swear by the liquid kick that helps maintain the focus and energy needed to stare into the depths of a screen long into the night. We all have our poison: In Seattle it’s a double americano; In London it’s a cuppa’; In Berlin it’s Club Mate; in New York it’s Red Bull.
Here’s the thing, though: these beverages we turn to when we need a late night pick-me-up might not be as effective as we keep telling ourselves they are. The levels of caffeine in coffee and tea make us jittery before we crash. Although Club Mate’s active ingredient, yerba mate, is known for its longer burning buzz, the amount of sugar in this and other carbonated drinks plays yo yo with our blood sugar levels. A single can of a typical energy drink, meanwhile, contains more caffeine and sugar than is recommended to consume in an entire day.
Then there’s matcha. For startups that live and die by efficiency, the way of the tea may at first seem more appropriate for a monastery than a hack-a-thon. Those startups couldn’t be more wrong. Packed full of antioxidants and amino acids but with moderate levels of caffeine and no sugar, matcha’s place as a startup’s secret weapon is out.
1) Matcha tea keeps you alert, awake, and focused for longer – without the jitters
We all know to turn to caffeine when we need our neurons to shoot faster. What many of us may not know, though, is that consuming more than 300mg per day can cause caffeine dependence, which leads to symptoms such as nervousness, irritability, headaches, and insomnia. If you’re drinking more than a couple cups of brewed coffee or even one energy drink a day, these symptoms will sound familiar.
What makes matcha different from other caffeinated drinks, though, is its strikingly high content of amino acids. When combined with caffeine, amino acids smooth out and lengthen the jolt of energy other caffeinated drinks provide by releasing caffeine into the body at a slower rate. The result is longer-lasting energy uninhibited by jitters, irritability, or nervousness. Best yet, while your average shot of espresso contains upwards of 100 mg of caffeine, a cup of matcha tea only contains about 25 mg, meaning that you can enjoy more throughout the day (about three cups is recommended).
2) Matcha actually helps you absorb information
Matcha is extremely high in l-theanine, a rare amino acid with psychoactive properties known to improve mental focus and cognition while reducing stress levels. According to a recent study at the University of Northumbria, a combination of l-theanine and moderate doses of caffeine improve cognitive reaction times, numeric working memory, and sentence comprehension. While l-theanine is found mostly in teas, matcha tea contains about five times as much as your run-of-the-mill black tea found in a cup of English Breakfast.
3) Matcha relieves stress and promotes mental clarity
Matcha has its roots in Japanese tea ceremonies, and has been used by Japanese Buddhist monks for centuries as an aid in meditation and to create a sense of “mindful alertness”. While l-theanine has been shown in studies to promote and reduce stress, the incredibly high levels of antioxidants in matcha tea help to shield the brain from aging. As a result, matcha has a stellar reputation for promoting feelings of mental clarity, which is just what we crave when a million ideas are zipping through our heads in the middle of the night.
4) Matcha won’t give you hunger pangs
Hunger and fatigue tend to go hand in hand. When our blood sugar levels are low, we feel tired and crave a quick solution. Sugary drinks like Club Mate, Coca Cola, and energy drinks may seem like the answer, but they end up confusing the pancreas, forcing it to produce insulin faster than normal in order to regulate your blood sugar levels. Before long, messages reading “HUNGER” are shooting to your brain as your blood sugar plummets.
Because matcha powder is simply ground tencha leaves, the matcha tea we drink is high in dietary fibre, which is known to regulate blood sugar levels. Even a swirl of honey (which amounts to about 10 mg of sugar) in your matcha won’t induce the comfort food cravings that a sudden drop in blood sugar causes. As a result, a cup of matcha tea leaves you feeling sated over longer periods of time.
5) A cup of matcha takes about 30 seconds to make, tops.
As this handy video by BreakAway Matcha founder Eric Gower explains, making matcha is no more time consuming than preparing a cup of very hot water, sieving a scoop of matcha, and whizzing the mixture with a milk frother. Really, it’s that simple.