Matcha is an alternative for people who get too jittery on coffee

Shayla Love, The Washington Post:

Matcha is green tea leaves crushed into a fine, electric green powder. Whisk the powder into warm or hot water, and it dissolves into a frothy drink.

In a regular cup of tea, tea leaves are just steeped in water, but when you drink matcha, you actually consume the whole leaf and the nutrients it contains. Drinking the whole leaf provides the antioxidants and health benefits, Sheth says, at higher levels than other superfoods such as like acai berries or goji berries.

At the same time, another component of the leaf, the secret behind the mellow matcha buzz, helps prevent the shaky coffee feeling: L-theanine.

“L-theanine is an amino acid, and studies have shown it provides a stress relief; it produces a calm feeling in our body,” [dietician Vandana Sheth] said. “But it doesn’t make us sleepy. When you combine that with the caffeine that’s in the matcha, you’re feeling more focused, you’re feeling alertness but without that jittery feeling when you consume a lot of caffeine from coffee.”

Now I’m curious to try matcha. I’ll see if I can find a local source.

The slow death of the most British thing there is

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British tea consumption has been on a 40-year decline, losing favor to coffee, says Roberto A. Ferdman, The Washington Post. It’s “a tectonic cultural shift that now spans nearly half a century,” with no end in sight.

But tea is gaining popularity in America. Here, imported tea is seen as exotic and hip, whereas in the UK that same tea is viewed as old and boring.

I drink black tea at home, preferring British brand bags. I’m currently using up a stock accumulated when I was taste-testing various kinds of tea earlier this year. Once that stock is used up, I’ll probably stick with PG Tips, although Typhoo and Taylor’s Yorkshire Gold are extremely close contenders.

How Coffee Fueled the Civil War

It was the greatest coffee run in American history. The Ohio boys had been fighting since morning, trapped in the raging battle of Antietam, in September 1862. Suddenly, a 19-year-old William McKinley appeared, under heavy fire, hauling vats of hot coffee. The men held out tin cups, gulped the brew and started firing again. “It was like putting a new regiment in the fight,” their officer recalled. Three decades later, McKinley ran for president in part on this singular act of caffeinated heroism.

At the time, no one found McKinley’s act all that strange. For Union soldiers, and the lucky Confederates who could scrounge some, coffee fueled the war. Soldiers drank it before marches, after marches, on patrol, during combat. In their diaries, “coffee” appears more frequently than the words “rifle,” “cannon” or “bullet.” Ragged veterans and tired nurses agreed with one diarist: “Nobody can ‘soldier’ without coffee.”

Union troops made their coffee everywhere, and with everything: with water from canteens and puddles, brackish bays and Mississippi mud, liquid their horses would not drink. They cooked it over fires of plundered fence rails, or heated mugs in scalding steam-vents on naval gunboats. When times were good, coffee accompanied beefsteaks and oysters; when they were bad it washed down raw salt-pork and maggoty hardtack. Coffee was often the last comfort troops enjoyed before entering battle, and the first sign of safety for those who survived.

How Coffee Fueled the Civil War

Via the 5 Intriguing Things newsletter, by Alexis Madrigal, who writes: “This little essay is, ostensibly, about how much Union soldiers loved coffee, but it’s really about closing the distance between their time and ours.”