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L-Theanine: Tea's Secret Weapon For Productivity With A Side Of Zen

Morgan Chamberlain
March 1, 2023
Morgan Chamberlain
mbg Supplement Editor
By Morgan Chamberlain
mbg Supplement Editor
Morgan Chamberlain is a supplement editor at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in magazine journalism and a minor in nutrition.
two women drinking coffee
Image by Delmaine Donson / iStock
March 1, 2023

My love affair with matcha began when I moved to Honolulu in 2018. Thanks to the health-conscious culture and Japanese influence in Hawaii, every cafe had their own version of a matcha latte on their menu. Making the switch from chai was a no-brainer, and the trendy green drink quickly became my go-to. 

It wasn't long before I realized the caffeinated buzz of matcha was not only more calm, cool, and collected than my coffee-drinking days of yesteryear but strengthened my ability to focus as well. If you've clicked on this article, I'm guessing you've picked up on this fascinating phenomenon as well—but why does a tea "buzz" feel so different from coffee? And how can we harness it to our advantage?

Why tea's caffeine buzz hits differently.

While coffee and tea both have caffeine (granted, in varied quantities), it's the presence of another phytonutrient in tea called L-theanine that sort of "softens" the unwanted side effects of caffeine (e.g., jitteriness, feelings of anxiousness, the dreaded afternoon crash) that we all know too well after ordering one too many shots of espresso.

In fact, L-theanine is so effective at helping you achieve a focused, zen state of flow that Buddhist monks have been using matcha and other teas for centuries to support their meditation practices. 

Studies show that L-theanine and caffeine work together to support your concentration efforts in quite impressive ways—from enhancing your ability to focus and stay alert to helping you tackle cognitively demanding tasks quickly and efficiently.* For example, a 2015 study from Psychopharmacology also found that L-theanine helps promote healthy cerebral brain flow1 by synergistically counteracting the vasoconstrictive effects of caffeine.* Talk about a dynamic duo! 

How I utilize L-theanine & caffeine in my daily life.

Once I realized matcha's nootropic benefits, it became my secret weapon for staying zen while getting shit done on my busiest days. I never thought I would find something that matched my love for matcha—until we launched focus+

This innovative formula features 100 milligrams of bioactive L-theanine (at least two times the amount2 in a standard matcha latte) and two different plant-sourced forms of caffeine: 50 milligrams of instant-release caffeine from organic coffee fruit and 100 milligrams of sustained-release caffeine from green coffee beans. 

As the day goes on, I get just the right amount of caffeine from focus+ to enhance my energy and attention, while L-theanine delivers mood support and helps maintain a state of flow.* The added cognitive benefits from guarana, Panax ginseng, and vitamin B12 round out this list of truly impressive nootropic ingredients.* 

Some days, I was having two, even three matchas, depending on how much energy and focus I required for that day's particular list of to-do's. Today, I still have a matcha most mornings (I'm sipping on one as I write this!), but my first dose of L-theanine and caffeine of the day comes from mindbodygreen's focus+. It delivers all of the mental clarity, attention support, and mood-lifting benefits I love in a simple capsule.* 

While I enjoy taking the time to craft a delicious latte, I don't always have the time to go through my matcha-making ritual. I keep focus+ in my work bag, so I always have the power of concentration at my fingertips (no whisk or stovetop required).* 

The takeaway.

If you're looking for a calm state of flow that will keep you zen while you get stuff done, your usual cup of coffee might not do the trick.

If you can't stand the earthy, acquired taste of matcha or simply want an easier way to channel your energy and attention, I highly recommend focus+. It's my daily nonnegotiable for increasing my attention span, staying on-task, and tackling to-do's.*

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications, consult with your doctor before starting a supplement routine. It is always optimal to consult with a health care provider when considering what supplements are right for you.
Morgan Chamberlain author page.
Morgan Chamberlain
mbg Supplement Editor

Morgan Chamberlain is a supplement editor at mindbodygreen. She graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Science degree in magazine journalism and a minor in nutrition. Chamberlain believes in taking small steps to improve your well-being—whether that means eating more plant-based foods, checking in with a therapist weekly, or spending quality time with your closest friends. When she isn’t typing away furiously at her keyboard, you can find her cooking in the kitchen, hanging outside, or doing a vinyasa flow.