Moments of Matcha-Inspired Joy


Can joy be consciously and reliably summoned, almost at will?

What if it turned out that feeling joy on a regular basis strengthens the immune system?

Would that be a reason to try to cultivate it daily?

What if joy also was key to developing healthy relationships with people?

Does it boost fortitude and resilience? Is it even a factor in success of all stripes?

The pile of research studies supporting those assertions keeps growing.

While it may sound a little woowoo, you can consciously create tiny moments of joy in the unlikeliest moments, including during the making of a bowl of matcha. It’s not hard to feel some kind of pleasure and joy from the process, from turning on the kettle, to sieving the matcha, to frothing it, to sitting with it and inhaling its aromas and simply appreciating its warmth against our hands and sipping it. It’s the perfect time to simply be, to let the charms of the bowl and the elixir inside it overtake you, even for a single minute. You will do yourself, and everyone around you, a tremendous favor by starting the day in this fashion. It doesn’t even have to be daily. The occasional practice can pull us out of the numbness-inducing anomie of ordinary routines, stresses, and frustrations. Simply by deciding to make a bowl of incredible tea and letting yourself feel the joy it produces.

You might feel delight, thrill, contentment, passion, elation, or even feel the rapture of the simplest kind of love.

Finding/creating joy is a worthwhile pursuit. It’s especially important when you’re facing challenges big and small. You can always turn to a bowl of well-made tea to summon joy, to claim it, and to welcome it. It can act like a flashlight or a candle, exactly what you need when darkness gathers. It can make such a big difference in the quality of your day. You can feel intense gratitude for the simplest things, like hot water and tea and ceramics and the visual and epicurean delight of their sum.

Eventually you might not need the tea at all, you might be able to simple summon joy on demand. Or maybe not, you might find you enjoy the ritual. You might even dial into something vaguely divine, and dwell there for a few minutes.

The making of a bowl of matcha can be a 24-7 refuge, a point of brightness when the world feels dark. Matcha as lighthouse.

The Five Minute Timed Meditation


I’ve had a long personal history with the practice of meditation.

The very first efforts were self-guided attempts in my early teens, spurred on by my rapt readings (for better or worse!) of people like Jack Kerouac, Tom Wolfe, Henry Miller, Kurt Vonegut, and many more. Just a formal closing of the eyes and rather self-consciously sitting there, attempting to feel some magic, in quite random ways. It felt pretty good.

I then literally stumbled into some zen monks at Mt. Baldy, near Claremont, CA, and began sitting formally with them on weekends. Then a meditation teacher came along who encouraged and expected one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening, on the cushion.

That kind of rigor splashed some cold water on the whole thing, unfortunately, and a few years went by before I resumed my quirky personal practice. The practice took a backseat yet again with my accidental discovery of yoga, which more or less supplanted the sitting practice, for a long stretch, more than a decade.

It was a fabulous decade for yoga, but my deeply inspiring teacher Geoffrey moved back to his hometown of New Orleans, so sitting made a bit of a comeback, as it always seems to.

Over the past few years, I’ve come to love a super easy and super quick (five minutes) meditation that I’ve developed, and thought some of you might be open to giving it a try. Here’s how it works:

  • Find a comfortable cushion and sit on it, tilting forward a bit, with as straight a spine as possible. You can also do this in a chair if you need to, but your back should be as straight as possible, don’t sink into a big EZ recliner! Posture really does make a big difference.
  • Start a timer on your smartphone or kitchen timer or whatever, for five minutes. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!
  • With the timer running, begin inhaling through your deep belly, at the diaphragm, slowly and yet somewhat powerfully and mindfully. As you inhale, you start your count with a long, upward, inhaling soft count of a slow “oneeee,” then exhale slowly and powerfully. You’re still on “one” on the exhale, till the very end of the exhale. For the next inhale, it’s “twoooo” for another inhale and exhale cycle.
  • Then “threeeee” in and out.
  • Et cetera. Do it until the timer rings.

This is the meditation, and it’s wonderful. It really does help the brain train itself to pay attention. In five minutes of relaxing breaths.

See how low you can count in five minutes; deep, powerful inhales and exhales take longer, and relaxation seems to deepen as well. The goal of course is not lower numbers — the numbers are just a reflection of any given particular day — but a relaxed state of pure awareness, when all you’re doing is paying attention to the breath while counting as mindfully as you can.

Counting keeps the brain in a slow, sustained focus. Meditating for five minutes and NOT counting feels like it’s too easy to get sidetracked with an errant thought or two and forget that you’re actively meditating, and the five minutes just blows by. Counting slowly for five minutes while filling the lungs and other organs with breathable goodness might be thought of as a kind favor to yourself, and even and to others in your orbit.

You can have a bowl of matcha or a glass of coldbrew either before or after this practice, both are fabulous in their own unique ways. Focus is definitely easier with the matcha coursing through your body and brain, but the delight of sipping it after the meditation is equally wonderful.

It’s a fabulous way to start the day — you can even intentionally wish yourself and those around you well afterward, which creates pretty fertile soil for creative and other work pursuits.

Hoping some of you will try it!

Leonard Koren, Wabi-Sabi, and Enhancing Cognition

When Daphne was a toddler, she loved to scream,


and laugh herself into a frenzy on the floor.

I think I must have been re-reading Leonard Koren’s magnificent book, Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets, and Philosophers, for the umpteenth time during her toddlerhood. Now six, Daphne is doing her best to continue to introduce the term to anyone who’ll listen.

The term wabi-sabi feels like it’s headed toward that elite group of Japanese words that somehow make it into common English usage (think anime, manga, samurai, haiku, origami and of course all of the food and ingredient names, among countless others). A search on Amazon for the term yields more than 500 results, in book titles, music titles, jewelry, throw pillows, iphone covers, tee shirts, table runners, baby caps, wall art, and little toy train accessories. Wabi-sabi is everywhere–especially in commerce, it seems–these days.

To most Japanese, the term wabi-sabi is a confusing one; it tends to touch rather deeply on issues of identity and what it means to be a Japanese. It quickly devolves into something known as nihonjin-ron: the seemingly endless debate in the popular Japanese press about what, exactly, it means to be a Japanese. Ask a random Japanese person to try to define wabi-sabi, and you will almost always hear something like, “It’s really difficult to explain.”

Like Koren, I’ve never met a Japanese who can confidently articulate what it means. But, like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart (who was talking about pornography), many will say something like, “I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.”

“The zen of things” might be as good a definition as any, since the first Japanese to develop the concept were zen priests and tea masters. And since zen is itself difficult to express/articulate, wabi-sabi is too, and most Japanese have given up trying.

Along the way, as Koren so masterfully illustrates in his new complement volume, Wabi-Sabi: Further Thoughts, wabi-sabi has been reduced, simplified, and packaged by Japan’s many iemoto (heads of ancient family lineages that teach traditional Japanese arts), into a narrow—and definitive—set of rules. This represents the morphing—one might even say death—of wabi-sabi from its origins of rustic simplicity into its opposite—something packaged, decided, and even polished and sacrosanct.

Iemoto today, every bit the living embodiment of the tea ceremony and the entire concept of wabi-sabi that they have been for centuries, with their rather vast empires of tea schools and tea commerce, are in point of fact rather brilliant, if not altogether transparent, entrepreneurs. An iemoto’s signature on a tea scoop, whisk, or other utensil (or on the box it comes packaged in) can add thousands of dollars to its value. Very few practitioners would dare to make tea in a way not sanctioned by them.

We recently had the delightful opportunity to host Leonard for a lunch and some matcha at Breakaway HQ in San Anselmo. His “appealingly irritable sensibility,” as the New York Times called it in a memorable article, was in full evidence, just as it is in his stark, thought-provoking writing.

We talked quite a bit about matcha, of course; Leonard has an extensive background both as a scholar of tea and a practitioner, and has a fluency and unique comprehension of matcha I’ve never encountered. When I mentioned that matcha can be an excellent tool for many who hope to enhance their own cognition and maybe even productivity, he was skeptical.

“Though I love tea, I’m not sure getting those cognitive lifts are the best way to work. If I feel good about something, I’m pretty sure I’m not on the right track. In my work, I need the pessimism, the self-criticism, the negativity, the despair. Of course it feels better to feel optimistic, hopeful, and to think you’re on the right track, but it feels bad if maybe you go a few days without tea and caffeine, and realize maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to use it as thought-fuel. That rather narrow optimistic track is nice, but I need a wider vision. Caffeine helps me get deep along a narrow path, but staying away from anything cognitively enhancing helps me experience my full range of attitudes and emotions.”

Leonard has had a remarkably diverse history of interests, passions, and experiences. He’s well-known a “design philosopher,” with deep backgrounds in art and architecture. I asked him how, at parties, he answers the awful question that everyone asks, “What do you do?”

“You say things that will engage other people to get you what’s available,” he answered. ” I usually tell people something different each time. Trained as an artist and architect, self-taught, magazine publisher, author, book designer, product designer, theorist, Depending on what your needs are, I will give you a corresponding answer.”

“I figure that, at least by the time you’re 70 or 80, you figure out where where you fit in in the general scheme of things. At 68, I’m just beginning to realize how I fit into the scheme of things. I denied it most of the time. We tend to categorize people and professions and jobs. Infinite bifurcations, like branches of a tree. Using the metaphor of architecture with design, we mix things like commerce, neurology, globalism, biology, and ethnography. Wabi-sabi, if you look at it in its broadest interpretation, is found in all these things.”

Wabi-sabi images force us to think about our own mortality, says Koren. It evokes a tender sadness, and maybe loneliness, but those feelings are comforted by the knowledge that ALL things in existence share the same fate. Nothing will remain in the end, if we think in evolutionary terms of billions of years.

Diffused light through washi (Japanese paper), the color and textural changes of metal as it rusts and decomposes are classic wabi-sabi images. This state of going toward our eventual fate—from something to nothing—and a conscious appreciation of that very state can give rise to incredible feelings of beauty and stillness, yet evoke a feeling of being totally alive and free. It’s a nice space to be in. Matcha is an obvious doorway for me. Wabi-sabi is about enjoying the delicate balance between the pleasure we get from things, and the pleasure we get from the freedom of things.

For more on wabi-sabi and other highly original and idiosyncratic examinations of things that fascinate him, check out Koren’s publications at

8 Key Reasons to Drink Matcha for Optimal Health



While we enjoy quality matcha primarily for the incredible epicurean delights it gives us, it’s a truly happy coincidence that it happens to be good for you in lots of different ways.

Here are what we feel are the top eight reasons why it makes sense to incorporate matcha, in whatever form (hyperpremium, coldbrew, or culinary), into your diet, solely for health reasons. There are many more reasons to drink matcha, but these eight are pretty powerful. As always, check with your doctor first before embarking on any new diet regimen.

1) Powerful Anti-Cancer Ally

Matcha contains massive quantities of an especially beneficial catechin called epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, a flavanoid that has been studied extensively in labs across the world. EGCS are effective “scavengers” of reactive oxygen species in vitro, meaning that it’s one of the most powerful antioxidants found in any food. EGCGs exhibit powerful antioxidant effects against free radicals, unstable molecules that can damage healthy cells and lead to cancerous growths as a result.

According to a 2011 paper published in Biochemical Pharmacology , EGCG has proven to inhibit tumor growth in several test-tube studies involving cancer of the stomach, lungs, liver, breast and colon. In addition, EGCGs promote apoptosis, the spontaneous death of cancer cells. The authors conclude that EGCG presents a promising cancer treatment, along with other therapies. Wikipedia lists another 30 studies on EGCG here that have been shown EGCGs in quantity can be beneficial in treating brain, prostate, cervical, and other cancers.

Matcha has vastly more EGCGs than regular green tea (some studies put the figure at 140x) for the simple simple reason that, unlike regular loose-leaf green tea or bagged green tea, which is steeped and thus only the soluble fibers are extracted, matcha is consumed whole. The soluble and insoluble fiber in matcha work in synergy, something that can’t happen in tea that is steeped. It’s this synergistic effect that is responsible for its off-the-charts EGCG count.

2) Probiotic Powerhouse: Increases Good Bacteria, Decreases Bad Bacteria

Matcha has huge quantities of polyphenols — the naturally occurring compounds found in the tea plant that are thought to be responsible for some of the health effects conferred by a diet rich in fruit and vegetables. These polyphenols get broken down by our gut bacteria into bioactive, polyphenol-derived metabolites.

Not only do polyphenols increase counts of beneficial bacteria, they also inhibit growth of potentially pathogenic bacteria. And they do something similar to the bacteria in the mouth that cause plaque, which brings us to:

3) Oral Health Aid

Matcha supports healthy teeth and gums by both inhibiting and killing the bacteria that cause dental plaque and bad breath. The catechins in matcha have antibacterial effects, and in essence they act as microscopic plaque scrubbers that can help prevent cavity formation and periodontal disease.

Ever experienced coffee breath? Matcha breath is its opposite: sweet, grassy, tingly, clean.

4) Weight Loss Accomplice

There is quite a bit of research on matcha and weight loss, much of which shows that the combination of catechins and caffeine is linked to reduced BMI and body weight. A 2005 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined green tea catechins and their effect on body mass index, body weight, and waist circumference; men in the study who consumed catechin-rich green tea lost nearly twice as much weight as men who consumed tea low in catechins.

Matcha can increase thermogenesis (the body’s own rate of burning calories) from a normal 8% to 10% of daily energy expenditure, to be between 35% and 43%.

Weight loss seekers should especially try coldbrew matcha — cold beverages require your body to work harder, burning more calories.

5) Liver Cleanser

Researchers at the University of Maryland have shown that men who drink more than 10 cups of green tea per day — that is to say, one cup of matcha, nutrition-wise — are less likely to develop liver problems. Matcha also seems to protect the liver from the damaging effects of toxic substances such as alcohol. A tall glass of coldbrew matcha after a night of alcohol consumption has been shown to reduce the effects of hangovers and rehydrate and re-energize.

Animal studies have shown that green tea helps protect against liver tumors in mice. Results from several animal and human studies suggest that catechins may help treat viral hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver. Moreover, a 2009 Journal of Medicinal Food study tested the effects of matcha on rats with type 2 diabetes. The researchers found that treating the animals with matcha led to decreased levels of cholesterol, blood sugar, and harmful blood fats. What’s more, matcha appeared to protect the rats from liver and kidney damage.

6) Blood Sugar Stabilizer

Matcha helps stabilize blood sugar levels, making it ideal for diabetics. There appears to be a direct connection between antioxidant activity and hypoglycemic activity. The natural sugars (polysaccharides) in matcha help to stabilize blood sugar levels, and to protect against insulin spikes thus stabilizing blood sugar levels. Polysaccharides from green tea in concentrated form are used in the treatment of diabetes in China.

7) Caffeine + L-Theanine: Productivity Cocktail

L-theanine is a natural amino found in matcha. As it crosses the blood-brain barrier, L-theanine interfaces with neuroreceptors and stimulate the production of certain neurotransmitters. It promotes GABA production, which blocks excessive stress messages, and generates alpha waves, electrical impulses that accompany a calm, extremely relaxed state. When L-theanine is absorbed into the bloodstream, dopamine and serotonin levels tend to rise, which often produce yet more alpha waves, which typically result in feelings of well-being, a sense of satiety, relaxation, alertness, and an overall feeling of contentedness.

And yet: when l-theanine binds with caffeine, the l-theanine acts as a “timed release” on the caffeine, so there is none of the jittery anxiety associated with coffee consumption. The two molecules actually synergize to bring you a clean, calm and lucid focus that is unparalleled by any other “energy drink.” Matcha drinkers have repeatedly reported clearer and quicker thinking, improved memory for things like names and numbers, increased alertness and awareness, elevated moods, “calm euphoria,” and improved concentrative abilities for studying, working, or driving.

8) Hydration Enabler

Drinking a lot of matcha (coldbrew matcha in particular) keeps you hydrated. Yes, the small amount of caffeine in matcha (about 25 mg, or roughly a quarter of a cup of coffee) can dehydrate, but this tiny amount pales in comparison to the actual water in the drink. We recommend two or more 16-ounce servings of coldbrew per day to keep hydrated, alert, and feeling sated.

Profiles of Hardcore Matcha Drinkers: Michele Wilkerson of Grown-N-Gathered



Hardcore matcha drinkers in Quincy, Illinois? The town is on fire with matcha drinkers, and their leader is Michele Wilkerson.



Michele is the dynamo behind Grown-n-Gathered, a thriving storefront, yoga studio, and farmers market rolled into one. She has done an astounding job introducing concepts concerning wellness to the community of Quincy, mainly through sourcing and providing better, healthier food to the people of Quincy.


We were curious as to why so many people in Quincy drink so much matcha, so we asked her a few questions; her responses are below.


What is it about the demographics of Quincy and its thirst for great matcha? How do you explain the amazing success of your matcha sales?

Quincy is small Midwest town with a population that can be described as having a strong work ethic; we have an extremely caring and generous community. We are located in the middle of a food desert, meaning we have poor access to healthy foods.

While our downtown is charming and rich in architecture, our main street is lined with typical American fast food chains and drive thrus. Our large chain grocery centers still cater to the food habits of 20+ years ago. Old habits die hard. Surrounded by large scale rural farmland, our nutrient-rich soils have been largely depleted by agrochemicals for big business farming. Smaller vegetable producers are rare.


When I mentioned to a friend who grew up in Quincy (and who lives here in northern CA now) that there’s a thriving and sustainable eco-friendly grocery store slash farmers market slash yoga studio that sells lots of primo matcha, she was incredulous. Has Quincy changed that much over the years? Can you see your model of success being replicated throughout the state and beyond? Do you see people everywhere just wanting better food and wellness in their lives?

The seed for Grown-n-Gathered came from my own Mom, while I was living in Chicago. She would often say something like, “I want to make better food decisions, I just don’t have access to options you do in the city.” And it was true: I had unlimited access to healthy food options. I had plans of moving back home to open a yoga studio; GnG was not on my radar. I drank matcha, not with the understanding of how it affected my health, but knowing it gave me energy as I was teaching yoga.

I opened Yoga7even in Quincy in 2013. I still had a full-time corporate job at the time and started the new business in my “off hours” — you can imagine how depleted I felt.
I was far from adequately fueled, for the exact same reasons my mom had explained earlier. We just didn’t have sufficient organic options readily available. I was schlepping food back with me during my corporate business trips to Chicago and kept telling myself “someone needs to open a mini healthy food store in Quincy.”

Little did I know it at the time, but in retrospect it seems inevitable; just a year after opening the yoga studio, I opened GnG because, at the end of the day, I was hungry.

I knew there was a market, within the stereotypical Midwest population, that thirsted to make better decisions. Ask anyone in Quincy, and they will readily acknowledge that we’re about 20 years behind the coasts, maybe more. We are a slower paced, vibrant and “great place to raise kids” type of community that hasn’t caught up with the concept of truly living. We made a top 20 list of great places to retire. Vegetarians and vegans find this Quincy extremely difficult to visit. We are at a tipping point here: GnG is leading the charge in offering healthier alternatives.

The store attracts all the out-of-towners and their response is almost always the same: “I cannot believe Quincy has a yoga studio and health food store!” They seem stunned by the vibrancy of both our offerings and how busy we are, and their follow-up is always “How are you doing, business-wise?”.

There is a HUGE opportunity in these small to medium-sized communities, especially in the Midwest, to offer a healthy lifestyle. People in these communities want to make better decisions, and they want to feel good. Most people just don’t know where to start.


Can you describe a few typical customers of GnG?

GnG’s customers, specifically matcha customers, are the hard working 12-hour swing shift laborers who want to go home and play with their kids and grandkids. The person that knows their past habits haven’t been the best choices and wants to make a change. The ones fighting chronic disease and find GnG soon after a diagnosis or treatment. We are a small store, offering 1 on 1 service and consultation. We introduce customers to things such as matcha, quinoa and kefir, among many more superfoods, for the first time. Several ask for matcha by asking “I’m coming in for that magic tea.” When something is that natural and magic, word travels fast.


What is it about matcha that you especially like so much?

I love Matcha because I love hearing how it’s helped so many find a healthier version of themselves; helping with migraines, chronic fatigue, weight loss, and more. I love hearing how people “just know” when they don’t drink it they feel it. I am a green tea connoisseur and love having someone try it for the first time. Their scrunched face as they smell it, look at it and say “Here we go” then surprisingly respond “That’s actually pretty good.” Its been an amazing staple within the superfood line-up at GnG. Specifically I love the generous and impeccable customer service at Breakaway; it never gets old.



Meet Jonathan Braun, Local Artist and Master Ceramicist



I first met Jonathan Braun about 12 years ago while he was playing hauntingly beautiful classical guitar at a friend’s house. Soon afterward I saw some examples of his exquisite finish carpentry and prowess with all things mechanical, including some shockingly beautiful copper handrails that have become rather coveted and appreciated here in Marin County. There’s almost nothing Jonathan can’t build with economy and grace, including this beautiful updraft kiln made of insulating fire brick, hand-built in 1982, with six natural-gas burners for accurate temperature control.



Jonathan has been perfecting his functional and minimalist ceramic art for nearly 40 years, to the delight of many people who collect his work, just up the street from Breakaway Matcha in lovely San Anselmo, CA, where Jonathan has lived his entire life (in the same house!).  It’s unlikely you’ll ever meet a more careful, methodical, and artful ceramicist. We consider ourselves lucky to be his neighbor!



We’ve commissioned Jonathan to create his version of the matcha bowl, which Jonathan calls Tea Dust, an ancient glaze first used in kilns in Shaanxi and Henan during the Tang dynasty. The stoneware bowls are high-fired (2400 degrees F). The clay mixture is three different clays (fireclay from the Midwest, stoneware clay from Ohio, and ball clay from Kentucky), and the primary ingredient in the glaze is called Albany Slip, a discontinued material that he still has a good supply of. The firing of the bowls takes about eight hours, and a cool down period of about 48 hours.


We have an extremely limited quantity of the Tea Dust bowl and we expect them to soon be gone.


How To Blind Taste Matcha

Matcha is one of those beverages that invites lingering of all sorts.

If it’s good, the taste lingers on the palate for 30, 60, even 120 seconds and beyond. The longer the finish, the better the quality.

But matcha also invites a less-literal lingering. It’s almost impossible to be in a rush when you’re sipping good matcha, because it, somehow, perforce, slows you down. Your brain begins to process new and altogether alluring taste sensations that scream, “Whoa, pay attention! What IS this? Tune everything else out while we make some sense of this!”

That’s one way to tell you’ve got good matcha, and we’ll get to a few others in a minute.

But the best way to taste *anything* (wine, food, tea, anything) is to taste it blind. “Blind” meaning you have no idea what the packaging or label look like, you know zero about it, something just appears before you and you taste it purposefully, paying attention to all the taste sensations with as much concentration as you can muster. This forces you to articulate what it is that’s pleasant, and what it is that isn’t pleasant. This is how it’s done for wine, and the exact same procedure applies to matcha.

So it was with delight that we recently welcomed a very special guest, Mr. Hiroyuki Sugimoto, winner of the all-Japan blind matcha tasting championship! Sugimoto-san and his right-arm man, the remarkably informed, delightful, and matcha-knowledgeable Noli Ergas, dropped by to taste some excellent matcha, and we had a blast. So I thought it might be useful to share some tips on how to taste.

Color is almost everything in determining quality matcha. What you’re looking for a is a brilliant, almost fake-looking vibrant emerald green. There should be no hints of yellows. Army green is the sure sign that you’ve got a terrible matcha. You want an electric, almost hallucinogenic bright green. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to tell the color of matcha just from looking at the packaged product. The packaging can be beautiful and alluring (much as wine labels can) but you won’t have ANY idea how good the matcha is until you actually see the powder.

tasting03-700pxNext is texture. You want a finely ground powder, not a roughly ground one. This can really only be achieved by traditional stone mills. Ceramic and other grinders are vastly more efficient, but the resulting texture, typically around 100 microns or more, feels grainy in the mouth. Granite-milled matcha grinds it down to 5 or 10 microns, and the result is a smooth, creamy brew that tastes amazing in the mouth in that the tea seems to just melt in the most deliciously creamy way. You can get some idea of how fine the grind is by placing a small pinch of matcha on a piece of paper and, with your finger, dragging the matcha downward into a “tail.” The finer-ground matcha will “paint” the paper with a solid trail, and a coarsely ground matcha won’t — it will just be grainy and bunched-up.

Umami is the dead giveaway for determining the quality of matcha. Does the matcha fill the mouth with a brothy, heady feeling, not unlike miso soup? Does it send the salivary glands into overdrive? It should. Big umami means pleasantness, not off-notes or bitterness. Big umami is in fact seems to me like a primal craving, as if foods rich in glutamates (umami-rich foods) somehow somewhere along the way promoted saliva production and cravings for protein-y / amino acid-y foods.

At the end is the finish. Good matcha “sings” throughout the palate, meaning the nasal cavity, roof of mouth, sides of mouth, and complete tongue, for a long time, much longer than other teas and rivaling great wines in complexity and pure pleasure. The sensation of still tasting the matcha sometimes a full five minutes (and indeed longer in some cases) after swallowing it, is an excellent sign that you’ve got yourself a very good matcha.

Good matcha tastes what I imagine pure light tastes like; lots of chlorophyll, brothy but bright, somehow evocative of tasting “stem cells of plants.” Its joys are contagious — the multivaried health benefits are just a happy side effect.

Meet Master Ceramicist Tom Decker


It’s no secret that we–like many of you–adore really high-quality ceramics. We constantly keep our eyes and ears wide open for new ceramicists whose work stands out as exemplary for its beauty, utility, tactile delight, and, of course, suitability for matcha. They can be from anywhere, but we especially love meeting local ceramic artists and asking them to make very special works just for us, with matcha specifically as a focal point.

A few months ago I was interviewed by the wonderful folks from Tea People about matcha. As part of the same podcast they also interviewed Tom Decker, a Berkeley-based ceramicist, ceramics instructor, and tea lover, who said a lot of interesting and, to me, deeply true things about the nature of matcha and the shared experience of drinking it.

So I contacted Tom and asked if I could see some of his work. He graciously drove over to Marin from Berkeley and brought some of most beautiful bowls I’ve ever encountered. We immediately commissioned some bowls for Breakaway Matcha clients. But it was the story of the bowls, and how Tom makes them, that blew me away.

Tom has taught the clay arts and ceramics all over the world, but somehow one day realized that the ground underneath his house in Berkeley (where his family has lived for more than a century) was full of unbelievably rich clays. In the front yard was a loamy, ochre-colored clay almost ideal for stoneware vessels, but it was pretty hard to excavate — he needed a pick and a digging bar to break it apart. And in the back was an almost black, silty clay, easily obtained with just shovel, that he could turn into earthenware glazes. So he decided to start using both of them in his work.

Both clays first require soaking the hardened material in water. Once the clay has broken down in the water Tom then uses screens to remove any rocks, stick, roots, etc. The wetted clay is then dried and ground to a fine powder, using a huge stone mortar and an aluminum baseball bat (!) as his pestle. This powder is then screened again with a finer sieve. The powdered clay may then be rewetted and formed into a glaze. Tom likes to add some white, local (of course) stone he finds around the neighborhood and laboriously pulverizes it to make the glaze.

In each firing, in a tiny remarkably efficient kiln in his backyard, five tea bowls at a time are fired to mature the clay body and glaze at stoneware temperature (about 2200°F). The kiln is fueled with wood that Tom gathers from the neighborhood, which he then chops and seasons. It takes about three hours to reach temperature, after which it’s cooled for eight hours and then unloaded.

In Japan most ceramicists present their bowls in beautiful wooden boxes (typically paulownia). Tom, naturally, makes his own boxes from local wood (pine), and they’re almost as beautiful as the bowls. We wrap the bowls in turmeric-infused (used originally as an insect repellent in muggy Japan) thin cotton towels before placing them in these lovely handmade boxes.

We’re calling the bowls Rare Earth.

And we have an extremely limited quantity. We don’t know when we’ll see more again and we expect them to soon be gone. If you’d like one, you may want to get it quickly.

We couldn’t be happier with them, or with the entire experience of getting to know Tom and his gorgeous art.


Why Do We Call Our Matcha Blends “Blends?”



A number of people have recently asked me why we refer to our matcha as “blends.” What, exactly, is blended?


First, there is nothing in any of our matcha except matcha green tea. No fillers, no sweeteners, no additives of any kind. It’s 100 percent green tea, and nothing else.


So what’s blended?


We find and develop relationships with obsessive matcha farmers. LIke many farmers in Japan, these farmers typically operate are part of agricultural cooperatives that “bundle” their matcha harvests with other coop members, most of whom are very nearby. But it’s remarkable how different the “terroir” of matcha fields, even just hundreds of meters from one another, can be. We thus will blend tencha (leaves that are destined to become ground and turn into matcha) from different terroir into our signature blends.


We also combine and blend harvests from different “vintages.” Each year in May the new harvest takes place, and those newly harvested leaves will get combined with leaves from previous harvests. Obsessive artisanal farmers only harvest once a year, in contrast to matcha farmers who are trying to maximize yield and thus harvest two and even three or more times annually — much of those subsequent harvests are destined to become culinary matcha or even what I call “agricultural” matcha, which is the lowest end of the quality spectrum (it makes fantastic chicken food, however; the eggs are marvelous).


It’s important to blend previous vintages with current vintages for a few reasons: mainly consistency and taste. We want our signature blends to taste similarly year in and year out, so we blend accordingly. Matcha also develops deep flavor profiles that tend toward the sweet and umami laden when harvests are artfully combined.


So why are the blends numbered? When I first started the business, I employed a naming firm to come up with some cool names for the blends, but in the end they all felt kind of odd, so it seemed like a simple numbering system would work better.


It’s a lot of work to do what we do — it would be so much easier to simply purchase teas directly from farmers (or go-betweens, for that matter) and declare victory. But we can’t help it! It’s the pursuit of the ideal bowl of matcha that drives us, not the short-term gains to be had by not bothering.


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Can I Travel With Matcha?

happy young woman with a city map and a backpack smiling

Throughout this website, in our packaging, and in our written and spoken communications, we stress that matcha must be refrigerated. Nothing has changed there; matcha most definitely must be refrigerated.

By over-emphasizing how important it is to keep your matcha very cold, we hammer home the point that storing matcha in your refrigerator is the optimal way to keep it most vibrant.

But what we don’t emphasize much is that matcha can easily and happily live without refrigeration for smallish chunks of time. So what is smallish? Matcha will remain fine and unharmed at room temperature for a few weeks. I try not to push it beyond two weeks, though you can certainly can if you need to.

After all, almost no retailer refrigerates matcha — think of picking up a tin of matcha at Whole Foods; it’s in the aisles, with the other teas, which is kind of insane and guarantees a loss of vibrancy. So that matcha sits on the shelf for months on end, unrefrigerated.

It’s not as if matcha can go rancid, as oils can, or fatally deteriorate in other ways. It just gets kind of . . . dead. It becomes dusty. The more unpleasant aspects of industrial-grade matcha come out in force, with a lot of swampy/froggy off notes.

So in short, yes, you can easily travel with matcha: it’s fine to let it sit out, unrefrigerated, for a few days, and indeed up to several weeks. But the point is to get it refrigerated in a reasonably rapid fashion when you settle into wherever you’re going. Keep it refrigerated in principle, as your detault, to the greatest extent you can.


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Caffeine: Can I Drink Matcha During Pregnancy?

Portrait of pregnant woman looking at ultrasound scan of baby.


We get this question all the time.


Dr. David Elmer, an OBGYN at Nantucket Cottage Hospital in Nantucket, Massachusetts, puts it this way:


“There’s been a shift in paradigm, where we don’t go on conventional wisdom and practice evidence-based medicine. And the overwhelming evidence does not support much, if any, damage in having caffeine.”


The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Mayo Clinic, Britain’s National Health Service, The March of Dimes, and many OBGYNs throughout the world generally agree that pregnant women can safely consume up to about 200mg of caffeine per day.


Recall that a normally brewed cup of coffee has somewhere between 100mg and 200mg of caffeine. Starbucks’s 16-oz house coffee has about 330.


Also recall that a serving (1 gram) of matcha contains roughly 25mg of caffeine. Which means that you can have seven or eight servings of matcha per day and still be under the recommended limit. Most people, that is to say most not-pregnant people, don’t drink anywhere near that much matcha.


Other than watching caffeine levels, it’s hard to imagine something that gives your body/system so many phytonutrients isn’t also beneficial to a fetus.


Naturally, this does not constitute medical advice — always check with you doctor first.


Also remember that it isn’t JUST the nutrients and caffeine — it’s really about the OVERALL health of the mama that matters most. And if a cup or two of matcha makes mama happy, I have to believe that a happy, humming mama makes for the happiest, humming baby. Moreover, because the baby does indeed absorb so much of your nutritional intake, pregnant women have to be extra mindful of getting optimal nutrition.



Matcha — The Anti Cortisol

chashaku on wood


I’ve found that physical energy — the “fuel” that allows us to ignite our emotional and intellectual skills and talents — is, in the end, what we all crave. We absolutely need physical energy to be at our best.


And there’s no way around it: we have to somehow access pleasant and positive emotions, including joy (aka enjoyment), challenge, and adventure, to be at our best. Emotions that manifest via fear, anger, frustration, and sadness have a certain toxic quality to them. All are associated with the release of a specific stress hormone called cortisol.


Cortisol is actually a steroid hormone, produced and released by the adrenal gland (where adrenaline comes from) in response to stress and low blood glucose. It functions to suppress the immune system (by lengthening wound healing time), to inhibit collagen formation needed for bone strength, and to prevent proliferation of T-cells. It also decreases amino acid uptake required by our muscles.


In short, cortisol has helped human beings throughout our evolution through the creation of the “flight or fight” response. As the great Stanford neuroscientist Robert Sapolsky has written, ”


In the short term, stress hormones are “brilliantly adapted” to help you survive an unexpected threat. You mobilize energy in your thigh muscles, you increase your blood pressure and you turn off everything that’s not essential to surviving, such as digestion, growth, and reproduction. You think more clearly, and certain aspects of learning and memory are enhanced. All of that is spectacularly adapted if you’re dealing with an acute physical stressor—a real one.

But non-life-threatening stressors, such as constantly worrying about money or pleasing your boss, also trigger the release of adrenalin and other stress hormones, which, over time, can have devastating consequences to your health. If you turn on the stress response chronically for purely psychological reasons, you increase your risk of adult onset diabetes and high blood pressure. If you’re chronically shutting down the digestive system, there’s a bunch of gastrointestinal disorders you’re more at risk for as well.


So: cortisol was extremely useful for early homo sapiens, but far less useful today for most of us.


Matcha, it turns out, is a sort of anti-cortisol.  It helps stabilize blood sugar, and reduces stress on the adrenal glands.Specifically, the L-theanine in matcha is thought to reduce levels of cortisol by creating alpha waves in the brain to produce a state of calm and serene alertness.


Coffee, in contrast, does the opposite: it causes an adrenaline and cortisol spike.


So if you needed yet more reason to introduce matcha into your life, there it is!


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Swirling Matcha — What the Traditionalists Are Missing


Swirling matcha


Swirling matcha makes it taste a lot better.

This observation is a lovely discovery, and it’s a genuine addition to the venerable history of matcha.

Matcha isn’t swirled in the traditional method — it’s whipped up in the bowl and consumed. No swirling.

But swirling releases all kinds of wonderfulness.

Just as swirling a glass of wine makes it taste better — every sommelier knows this — it’s the same with matcha. Swirling — or what physicists call “orbital shaking” — actually churns liquid as it travels along the glass or ceramic, drawing in oxygen from the air and intensifying artisanal matcha’s delightful aromas. It tastes completely different — vastly better — when it’s swirled versus not swirled.

So swirl your matcha, people!  You can’t swirl too much — the more your swirl it, the better it tastes. But you need the right vessel, it’s hard to swirl matcha in a bowl. Our creamers were designed for this very purpose. Whip it up with the frother in the creamer, swirl like a madperson, THEN pour that swirled matcha into your heated bowl or cup.




Come Celebrate With Us (Next Friday, June 12) + Single Serves are Back!



For everyone in the SF Bay Area, we’re having an open-house party next Friday, June 12, from 6-9 pm. We’re rigging up a matcha keg! Not to be missed. I’ll also be cooking some dishes, and serving plenty of popcorn with matcha butter and matcha salt (seriously; it’s good).  And yes, beer too, and prosecco. We might even break out the Laphroaig if demand calls for it, along with “off the menu” bowls of matcha. It would be lovely to see as many of you on this list as possible!


The other good news is that our shipment of long-awaited single-serves is in! Different design from the last round — these are much easier to transfer into water bottles. 2g of coldbrew original, perfect for a 16-oz water bottle filled with icy water. They are back by popular demand, and they’re 10% off if you enter SINGLESERVESAREBACK. (and while we’re at it, you might as well deduct 10% from everything on the site with the same code).


If you’re planning on coming to the party, could you kindly let us know with a note to Otherwise, food may run out quickly!


Hope to see you.



Matcha Has Less Caffeine, But the Caffeine Lasts Longer


Blend 99 1kg bag


We get a lot of calls and emails asking about caffeine and matcha.


The short answer is that is has far less caffeine than brewed coffee does — about a quarter as much (roughly 25mg of caffeine for matcha, roughly 100mg or more for coffee, depending on factors such as steeping time, water temperature, and many others). Some estimates put as much as 200mg of caffeine in brewed coffee, which would mean matcha has about an eighth as much caffeine as coffee. But as a rule of thumb we can generally conclude that matcha has about a fourth the caffeine as brewed coffee.


The slightly expanded answer is that, even though it doesn’t have much caffeine relative to coffee, the relatively small amount of caffeine in matcha lasts a lot longer. How can this be?


The small amounts of caffeine in tea usually take longer to enter the blood stream than does the caffeine in coffee, which tends to be absorbed into the bloodstream just minutes after drinking.  With matcha, it typically takes several hours to fully enter the bloodstream, and can last as long as six hours. Moreover, the “crash” many people experience an hour or two after drinking coffee doesn’t happen with matcha.


The leading theory on why this is so has to do with the amino acid L-theanine, which we’ve discussed at length in these pages before. L-theanine and the many other antioxidants, flavanoids, and phytonutrients in matcha are thought to slow down the body’s absorption of caffeine – resulting in a gentler increase of caffeine in the system and a lengthened period of alertness and wakefulness, with no crash once the caffeine has run its full course. at the end.


Matcha is a rather fun ride — it feels great  to hydrate, to feel a steady stream of serene yet energizing flow, and to feel like you’re at your peak performance.


The Three Ms: Matcha, Meditation, and Medication

matcha bowl on wood 2

It may seem ridiculous to some, but I think of a daily matcha habit as a cross between meditation and medication (with some epicurean fun thrown in to keep things interesting).

We’ve covered the meditation part of matcha in these pages here and here, but to recap: great matcha has large quantities of an amino acid called l-theanine. The higher the quality of matcha, the more l-theanine it has. Lots of people take a synthesized version of l-theanine to help them acquire a type of “flow” (as Mihaly Csikszentmihaly — pronounced MEE-hai CHEEK-sent-mə-HAI-ee — famously calls it), or a stream of “calm energy.”

“Flow,” he writes, “is a a state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand.”  In a state of flow, you are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter.

This amino acid acts to temper the stimulatory effects of caffeine — which matcha has in small amounts (about 25mg per 1g serving, or roughly one-quarter that of a cup of brewed coffee) — on our nervous systems, in effect creating a “time release” function; a bowl of matcha typically delivers a steady stream of energy for about four hours, with none of the jitteriness coffee creates for so many people.

L-theanine creates a sense of relaxation in approximately 30-40 minutes after ingestion via at least two different mechanisms. It first directly stimulates the production of alpha brain waves, creating a state of deep relaxation and mental alertness similar to what is achieved through meditation.Very experienced practitioners of meditation tend to have have elevated alpha wave states, including the Dalai Lama and his entourage of long-term Tibetan meditators, who were invited to Stanford’s neurology department to study their brains while they mediated. Lots of alpha waves.

L-theanine is also involved in the formation of gamma amino butyric acid (GABA). GABA — an inhibitory neurotransmitter — inhibits the levels of two other excitatory neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin, producing the relaxation effect

It makes sense on some level. Readers of these pages may recall the Japanese zen monks were (and remain to this day) enthusiastic drinkers of matcha and its high levels of l-theanine, though they couldn’t have known that at the time. They knew that drinking matcha helped them to stay awake during meditation for longer periods (no easy task —if you’ve ever tried siting on a cushion for eight or more hours facing a wall, you’ll know what I mean).

Which brings us to the medication part of matcha. Drinking a daily bowl of matcha IS kind of like taking a daily pill prescribed by your doctor, in that you develop a daily habit, a habit you believe (or at least your doctor believes) is good for your health.

Except with matcha, you get to really enjoy it — you get the epicurean experience of tasting and swallowing something divinely delicious, and you can make as much or as little ritual around the experience as you like. It’s an awesome daily habit that brings mindfulness, joy — Michelin-quality epicurean joy– and the blast of phytonutrients that so many dentists and physicians love. (Productivity enthusiasts love the l-theanine fueled stream of focused energy as well).

So when you think of matcha, consider the three Ms.


Matcha, Zen, and Beginner’s Mind

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I’ve talked about the origins of matcha and its deep connections with zen buddhism on this site before, but I thought I might share a personal story.


When I was 19 years old I stumbled, quite literally, into the Mt. Baldy Zen Center, a working zen monastery in the San Gabriel mountains, east of Los Angeles. I was hiking around Mt. Baldy and spotted some sparse-looking small buildings, and decided to go check them out. Inside were a bunch of bald people in black robes cooking. They were incredibly nice to me, and invited me to lunch. It was a simple lunch of brown rice, miso soup, and pickled vegetables, none of which I’d ever had before (I grew up in rural northeaster PA, and no one ever served brown rice, miso, or pickled vegetables). It was an extraordinary day on many levels, and it’s fair to say that it led to a life-long involvement and fascination with Japan, the Japanese language, Japanese food, and zen buddhism, including a 16-year stay in Japan.


I was deeply interested in the lives of the monks; why did they elect to sit there for a few hours a day in zazen (sitting meditation), shave their heads, wear black robes, and cook the way they cooked? What led them there? (A dozen years later, Leonard Cohen began practicing zen there, which really put Mt. Baldy on the map.)


One of the monks, an exceedingly kind New Zealander named John, would patiently put up with my incessant questioning over a bowl of very strange tea, a viscous and VERY bitter brew he whipped with a weird-looking bamboo whisk. He called it “matcha.” He was in retrospect using very inexpensive, very bitter matcha, but I couldn’t know that at the time, and it couldn’t have mattered less; what mattered was sitting with him in a tiny room and absorbing his remarkable energy and knowledge about zen.


Monks in 12th-century (and onward) Japan did something very similar. They prepared bowls of matcha, as both metaphors for mindfulness in preparation and body movements and to simply enjoy one another’s company over tea in the simplest environment imaginable: a tiny, unadorned hut made just for enjoying the simplicity of a cup of well-made tea.


Matcha was also used by monks as a meditation aid: it was much easier to stay awake during meditation after a bowl of matcha.


The simplicity of monks preparing tea for one another caught the attention of Japan’s aristocracy, many of whom took their social cues from Buddhists (zen monks had a great deal of cachet at the time). The upper classes rapidly took to the art of preparing a beautiful bowl of matcha, but the movements in making the tea gradually became more stylized and ornate, which served to distinguish them as cultured, sophisticated —  in stark contrast to the people of the lower strata of the caste system, who, presumably, slurped down their tea in far less-polished ways. The tea ceremony was born from this distinction.


There is a lovely phrase in Japanese called shoshin: “beginner’s mind.” It refers to the zen practice of letting the mind rediscover a child’s sense of wonder about how the world works. It’s an open mind that includes both doubt and possibility, to consciously choose to see both everyday and uncommon things and thoughts as new and fresh. It is to be cultivated in all aspects of life, from routine tasks like making breakfast or putting gas in your car to more complex activities like raising a child or nurturing a business. Beginner’s mind is the essence of what John and most zen monks throughout history were trying to cultivate.


I try to practice beginner’s mind with every bowl of matcha. There’s always something new to notice. Sips of matcha can trigger all kinds of strange and long-forgotten memories and experiences, all of which float by like a fragmented movie playing in the background. But the joy and simplicity of just noticing its color, texture, taste, and very long finish is such a pleasure, such a welcome and delicious pause from the demands of contemporary life here at the end of 2014.


Shuryu Suzuki wrote beautifully on this subject in his classic, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind (Weatherhill, 1970). HIghly recommended reading for anyone even remotely interested.


(The monk in the photo above is the great teacher, painter, chef, and all-around amazing human being Ninsho Kakinuma. I took the photo on a walk with him several years ago at the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center)


Profiles of Hardcore Matcha Drinkers — Amanda Lee Peers


amanda singing


A little while back I got the most delightful email — it was from Amanda Lee Peers, a singer/songwriter from Rochester, New York who was really into matcha. She mentioned that she was a contestant on the hit TV show The Voice, and that Gwen Stefani, one of the judges on the show, had taken Amanda under her tutelage. Amanda didn’t quite make the finals on the show, but she wowed millions of people, including me, with the raw power of her voice and stage presence. I asked this matcha-sipping wonder if she’d mind being interviewed here,and she graciously agreed.


1) You had a fundamentalist Christian upbringing, your girlfriend is your muse and inspiration, and you’re a matcha addict. That’s quite the path! Us matcha addicts would love a summary of who you are, as told by you and not a publicist!


I’m a singer, songwriter currently living in Rochester, NY. I recently appeared on NBC’s Season 7 of The Voice as a contestant on Gwen Stefani’s team – which was an amazing experience! I’ve been playing guitar for 16 years and singing (outside my bedroom) for about the last 5 or 6 years. I played with a band called The Driftwood Sailors a couple years ago. We released an album, opened for Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers as well as 90’s band the Spin Doctors. We had a lot of fun. Now I perform solo and am working on a solo album to release in spring/summer of 2015.


Besides all that music stuff, I love to travel, am an avid matcha drinker, old moped enthusiast, and lucid dreamer. I recently decided to take up surfing Lake Ontario — yes, there are waves on The Great Lakes.


2) Not a question per se but we can’t wait till the word MATCHA makes it into your lyrics. OK a question: tell us about your method of writing a song from scratch. Lyrics first, or music first? Or neither?


I don’t really have a go-to method for songwriting. Sometimes I’ll hear a melody and make up words to it, then sometimes I’ll just write a whole bunch of stuff down then start singing the words and the melody will come naturally. I’ve found that the best way to come up with songs is just to write every day, even if it feels forced or sounds terrible. Sooner or later you’re bound to come up with something great!


(editor’s note: this is true with just about any art; it’s the everyday-ness of it that produces something great)


3) Do you like caffeine in general when performing and just working, or is it the special matcha buzz you like? Do you drink coffee?


The only thing I’m drinking while singing at a show is water. It’s the only sure fire thing that won’t affect my voice or dry me out. I love drinking matcha while working though. I used to be a big coffee drinker. While working on The Voice I wanted to do everything I could to keep my voice healthy, one of which was to stop drinking coffee, the other was to stop taking allergy medicine every day. I’ve successfully done both! Once I discovered matcha, I was hooked. I’ve also always been a huge regular green tea drinker so I made the switch from coffee to matcha no problem. My favorite is to make a couple of cups of matcha in the morning and get to work on my music. I love the focused, clean energy matcha gives. And it doesn’t give you that awful rot-gut feeling coffee does if you drink too much.


4) When are you bringing your music to the west coast? Where/how can we buy your music?


I’d love to bring my music to the West Coast! I’m actually looking to move to a larger city sometime in the next year and California is on my list of places I’m considering. But until then, right now the best thing is for people to join my mailing list at and to link up with me on social media to hear what my latest music releases are. I’m working on recording solo material in hopes of releasing for spring/summer 2015. However, I did release an album with a band called The Driftwood Sailors called “White Horses & Black Jeans.” That has a bit more of a rock vibe compared to my solo material, but if while you’re waiting for my solo album to come out, check that out! It is available on iTunes as are the two songs I performed on The Voice.


5) What’s your favorite way to enjoy matcha? Any rituals?


My favorite way to enjoy matcha is to get up early when it’s quiet and make a few cups of hot matcha. No TV, just peace and quiet and matcha. It’s funny, drinking matcha is almost like a lifestyle change. I would never do that with coffee. Coffee was something I needed to survive the mornings. Now, matcha is something I have to enjoy the mornings.


Thank you Amanda! Here’s a video of our favorite matcha-obsessed musician doing one of her favorite original songs, “Songs of Freedom.”

10 Good Reasons to Develop a Daily Matcha Habit





This week I’ve been rereading Charles Duhigg’s utterly absorbing book, The Power of Habitsand am struck by how increasingly sophisticated the scientific understanding of habits has become — how they’re formed, and how they can be disrupted and changed. For anyone interested in developing excellent ways to change old habits or start new ones, you won’t find a better book.


Like a lot of people reading this, matcha for me has become a daily habit.I have a fairly robust matcha habit that includes a bowl or two of hot, hyperpremium matcha, several 16oz bottles of coldbrew, and, often, some kind of culinary matcha snack or at least a sprinkle of matcha salt over my beloved poached eggs. (I recently saw a recipe for matcha granola by my friend Chika that looked interesting, one by Cheryl Malik that looked great, and yet another tasty-looking one from Vanessa — time to make some matcha granola.)


All this adds up to roughly five or six 1g-servings of matcha  a day. For me this was a conscious decision, since I wanted to radically increase my intake of whole green tea (leaves and all), for all the usual reasons:


1) replenishes phytonutrients needed for next-day alcohol recovery — important for wine drinkers like myself!

2) boosts metabolism — I need this for the crazy amount of food I seem to eat.

3) keeps me maximally hydrated — I’ve always had a problem drinking enough water.

4) employs plaque scrubbers  — matcha is great for your teeth and gums!

5) antioxidant blast repairs free radical damage caused by oxidation of cells.

6) huge l-theanine intake creates a super-relaxed yet intense focus for work.

7) fights fatigue — caffeine + amino acids = dynamite energy.

8) sweetens your breath — pretty much the opposite of coffee.

9) great for skin — matcha’s high polyphenol content can inhibit UV radiation-induced skin damage. Why did I get so many sunburns as a teenager? Ugh.

10) detoxifies the body — matcha’s massive chlorophyll  content helps to naturally remove heavy metals and chemical toxins from the body.


Here’s yet another reason to give matcha a shot — readers of the blog can take an additional 10% of any order by typing BLOG10. Not sure how long that will last but for now it works!


So many habits are unconscious and somewhat destructive. Read Duhigg’s book to understand how you can make healthy habits work for you.

Why Dentists LOVE Matcha

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“Would you care for a cup of matcha?” asked my DENTAL HYGIENIST the other day at the end of my cleaning. As you might imagine, this piqued my interest.


My dentist, it turns out, has had a lengthy love affair with matcha. He loves all the usual things many of us love about matcha, but he especially loves what matcha does for overall dental health.


The exceedingly high catechin (notably EGCG) content of matcha is what interests him most. These catechins have antibacterial effects, and in essence they act as microscopic plaque scrubbers that can help prevent cavity formation and periodontal disease.


Because they inhibit the growth of the bacteria that cause plaque, this dentist has come to think of a cup or glass of matcha after a meal as a delicious liquid floss. And, for that matter, a mouthwash, since these catechins inhibit the bacteria that cause bad breath as well. Unlike coffee, matcha won’t stain your teeth either. Not bad added bonuses for a delicious postprandial shot of matcha.


So if oral hygiene is a priority for you, you now have yet another reason drink it!