Matcha Hangover

I’ve been on a real matcha kick lately, only one 12oz mug in a day, but I’ve noticed I get “hangovers” from it. Headachey, twitchy (after the caffeine has worn off), and just generally “off”. Still happens if I cut the serving down.

Anyone else experience something similar?

10 Replies
Serenity said

Oh, no, that’s awful. I have become increasingly sensitive to caffeine, so I can relate. I have been having one mug of matcha per day, but I have been making it into a matcha latte. I have a feeling the fat or protein in the milk decreases the speed at which the caffeine would impact my blood sugar. If the idea of adding milk seems icky, I would suggest gradually, gradually cutting back each day by just a bit until you are only having a very small amount, and then eliminate it from your daily routine. Meantime, increase your water consumption, get rest, and eat really well. I was having a lot of problems with black tea, it was so disheartening, so again, I can relate and I just hope this may help and if not, at least you have my empathy! : )

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Funny thing is, I can consume mass amounts of black tea, mate, or guayusa and feel totally fine, no crash, no hangover. it’s just the matcha, haha!

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MissLena said

I’d be really careful with all forms of caffeine if you are feeling that way! Last year I had a similar problem with coffee, and it spread to all types of caffeine. I had to eventually cut it all for about a year, and now I am slowly building my tolerance back and being able to handle tea again. I’m still very leery of black teas, and I just tried matcha yesterday, but its something I wont be able to have too often yet. I agree with Serenity, just try cutting down slowly, and lots of water! Hope you start feeling better soon :)

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Lynxiebrat said

It could be the combination of caffeine. Try having it on a day when you have not had any caffeine at all.

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ashmanra said

I have read that one cup of matcha is equivalent to ten cups of green tea because you are consuming the whole leaf. Maybe the caffeine content is too much all at once? I drink mine as a latte. I agree that there is a good chance the higher protein content is keeping the blood sugar more balanced.

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Donna A said

Shaynebear, your symptoms are puzzling. I read this on DoMatcha’s website: All teas contain Caffeine. With one teaspoon of Matcha (1 gram) you consume about 35 mg of caffeine, which is less than coffee (80-120mg). Due to its unique combination of phyto-nutrients, the caffeine in Matcha is assimilated in a very different and much healthier way than caffeine from coffee. The caffeine in Matcha binds to the larger catechin molecules and is released into the bloodstream slowly over time as the catechins are broken down and assimilated. The results are a sustained energy for 3-4 hours. This mechanism also prevents the insulin and adrenalin spikes typical for coffee intake, so you never have to experience the ‘after-low’ that follows when the blood sugar drops.
Any potential negative effects from caffeine are also balanced by the relaxing and calming influence of the amino acid L-Theanine. The combined effect is a state of mental clarity, calm alertness and sustained energy. Furthermore, I read that with regular tea, the caffeine is released into the water when you steep it, whereas this does not happen with matcha since you don’t steep matcha. Therefore, the caffeine from matcha is absorbed more gradually into your system. For a latte, I use 1/2 tsp, which is 1/4 the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee. I am pretty sensitive to caffeine, and if I drank 6 cups of coffee in a day, I’d be bouncing off the walls, but tea and matcha don’t seem to bother me. I hope you’re able to figure out what’s going on.

Donna A, this is true, however low quality Matcha lack L-Theanine. The reason low quality Matcha is bitter in taste. The presence of L-Theanine gives Matcha it’s natural sweetness.

Low quality Matcha lack L-Theanine because they tend to use older leaves that have been exposed to light longer (Matcha is shade grown a month before harvest). Through photosynthesis a lot of the L-Theanine is lost.

My thoughts are ShayneBear may be drinking a low quality Matcha which lacks L-Theanine. This is probably why they are experiencing a aftereffects of caffine. It might be worth trying a different brand or better quality Matcha. The problem is each company has it’s own grading method for their different Matcha so you have to compare apples to apples. That being said, one indicator is usually price. A good quality Matcha is going to run around $25-$30 per 30g tin typically for a drinking grade/ceremonial grade Matcha used for traditional tea.

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I use a higher quality matcha for drinking “normally” (as in, not in a frappe. I find that I don’t get the “hangover” from the frappe that I do from a regular traditionally prepared matcha or a latte) and a low grade matcha for frappes and cooking/baking because I go through a lot more of it when used in non-drinking preparations.

I do get sick if I drink coffee, if that matters? I used to drink an average of 4 cups of coffee per day about 3 years ago now, but one day it started making me sick and I stopped. Then about 2 years ago I switched to tea (first bagged, then summer 2011 I discovered loose leaf) and never felt that sickness again. Now I get it with matcha and only matcha?

It was suggested to me by my doctor to take L-Theanine pills in addition to my medication to “boost the effects of the gabapentin”, and when I realized that the pills are essentially capsules of green tea I said screw taking MORE pills, I can just drink more green tea. Now I’m wondering if it’s not the matcha itself that’s making me feel off, but the interaction between the L-theanine content and the gabapentin?

That is something you would have to ask your doctor.

The L-Theanine acts as a way for your body to slowly absorbed caffeine over a period of time so you shouldn’t be getting any caffeine crash.

If you are feeling sick, then it could be that you need to eat prior to drinking Matcha or green tea. It is said that green tea can take away some of the iron from your body so people that are iron deficient should eat before hand.

As for Matcha grade I cannot comment because no Matcha is created equal. Some companies “ceremonial grade” can be equivalent to another company’s “cooking grade.” Maybe you should see if you can obtain the nutritional analysis from the company.

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heln21 said

I have a similar effect after drinking Matcha but it is different to when I drink coffee – so after watching Kate Quilton in Superfoods: The Real Story (S2 Ep2), and as the symptoms only last for 30 to 60 mins for me, I have wondered whether it is something to do with the high level of antioxidants and other micronutrients rushing into the blood stream? Any experts out there can comment?

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