I like to pretend that I only drink one cup of coffee a day, but the truth is that my gigantic mug likely counts as two servings. What can I say? I like big mugs, and I cannot lie (a joke I’ve told half my coworkers).
Okay, here’s another truth: I add so much sweetened hazelnut creamer to my coffee that some might say I take coffee with my cream. I won’t pretend to enjoy black coffee; connoisseurs, go ahead and judge me.
For months now, I’ve been debating cutting coffee—and, more importantly, creamer—from my diet. I’ve read before that green tea has a wide range of health benefits, from providing more sustained energy to helping acne, so I’m testing it out myself.
Is green tea really a miracle drink? For the next thirty days, I’ll be ditching my daily cup of joe for a hot cup of unsweetened green tea. I’m curious to see how green tea will affect my mood, energy level, skin, and possibly more.
A rocky start
On the first day, I marched over to the kitchen and automatically started pouring creamer into my mug before I remembered that I committed myself to this challenge. I tossed that bit of creamer and plopped in a teabag, sighing.
Overall, my energy level seemed high, and I didn’t feel my usual afternoon slump, which really surprised me. While I did find myself craving sugar more throughout the week, the light, mellow flavor of green tea is more tolerable than black coffee for me, so I didn’t mind the lack of sweetness and creaminess as much.
Coffee, come back!
Oh goodness, the coffee craving was strong. Even though I continued feeling more energetic throughout the day, the taste of green tea just couldn’t compare to a nice, creamy cup of hazelnut creamer… I mean coffee.
On a very positive note, I felt more focused and productive during my workdays. Have you ever opened a new tab and instantly forgotten what you were going to do? That’s happened to me on quite a few occasions in the past, but since the switch to green tea, I’ve emerged from the brain fog!
After doing some research, I learned that green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid related to memory that helps keep you focused. In combination with caffeine, L-theanine works to boost brain power. Well, that explains it!
Is this cheating?
In an effort to satisfy my longing for a sweet, creamy latte, I decided to make myself an oat milk matcha latte over the weekend.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 ¼ cup oat milk
- 2 oz matcha powder
- 1 tbsp sugar (or ¾ tbsp honey)
- Bring the oat milk to a boil.
- Whisk in the matcha powder and sweetener until it’s all dissolved.
This little concoction fulfilled my sweet tooth without being overly sweet and gave me just enough caffeination to get through the day. In fact, matcha contains more caffeine than regular brewed green tea, with one serving containing 68 mg of caffeine compared to 31.8 mg in brewed green tea. The only downside is that it’s significantly pricier than green tea bags, so I’d consider it as an occasional treat when I want to feel fancy schmancy.
There’s a light at the end of the tunnel
My coworker and a family friend complimented my skin on separate occasions this week, which made me realize that my skin is the glowiest and clearest it has been in a long while. Like, not a pimple in sight.
I turned to my best friend Google for some answers. After researching how coffee impacts skin versus how green tea impacts skin, I found that coffee itself shouldn’t affect acne, but its common additives (white sugar and dairy creamer) have been known to worsen it. Green tea, on the other hand, contains EGCG, a polyphenol that has been proven to improve acne and reduce sebum production (in other words, it makes your skin less oily).
Both coffee and green tea contain anti-inflammatory properties and are also great sources of antioxidants, which fight free radicals and help prevent the signs of aging. With that said, green tea boasts a higher concentration of antioxidants than coffee.
So am I Team Coffee or Team Green Tea?
Despite craving a hot cup of coffee every day of the challenge, I made it through and even experienced the positive impacts of green tea: clearer skin, consistent energy, and a boost in brain power.
Unfortunately, those benefits weren’t enough to keep me strictly on the green tea train—I went straight back to coffee the day after the challenge ended. That rich flavor reigns supreme for me. Hello darkness, my old friend.
I decided that I would designate a few days out of the week to drink green tea to reap its benefits, and I’ll definitely continue making that amazing oat milk matcha latte on slow weekend mornings. Looks like this caffeine fiend has found the perfect balance!