Matcha has been a staple in Japan for thousands of years but we have only discovered it in the west in the past couple years. Ever since, Matcha has been hitting the stores and cafes and everyone wants to try this antioxidants rich powdered tea that promises to offer so many benefits. One of the favorite and most common ways to enjoy matcha is in lattes.
Matcha lattes have become a serious obsession for many over the past couple years and for no wonder. This powdered green tea seems to blend amazingly well with dairy and the frothy surface, smooth texture and unique balance of vegetal, bitter, and slightly sweet flavor is just addictive! A Matcha latte is very easy to make at home but most people don’t know how to make one correctly and as a result they are masking its flavor.
We understand how much you love your green tea lattes and so, in this post I will offer you some tips on how to create the greatest matcha latte ever!
1. Use High Quality Matcha only
When it comes to matcha there is one rule to enjoying the best beverage possible: Always buy a good quality matcha! Most cafés out there use sugar-laced or lower quality matcha powder which doesn’t allow you to taste the tea’s complex flavor, therefore you are not drinking the “real thing”. Choosing high quality matcha matters for some important reasons:
- origin: The quality of matcha depends highly on its origin. Remember that original matcha is produced exclusively in Japan and particularly in the Uji, Kyoto area which is also the birthplace of green tea in Japan. Before buying matcha always look for the region of origin.
- taste: Quality matcha tea tastes better. Your matcha should have a grassy and slightly sweet flavor with some subtle nutty and earthy notes. Lower quality matcha tea tends to be more bitter and astringent.
- color: When it comes to color, remember that good matcha should have a really vibrant green color. Quality matcha is made up of leaves that have been shade-grown so they are rich in chlorophyll, which gives it a nice bright green color. Lower quality matcha though, has a yellowish color since it is made up of non properly shaded or older leaves.
You don’t need to spend a fortune on matcha but generally know that quality comes for a price. I advise you to experiment with lots of brands to find the one that suits your needs. I personally have been using matcha source cafe grade gotcha matcha which is amazing for blending but I will continue to try other brands too!
2. Use Non-Dairy Milk
One very important factor often overlooked when it comes to matcha lattes is milk. You MUST only use non-dairy milk for your green tea lattes! According to a research from 2007 dairy milk can decrease the health benefits of tea when added to it. More specifically, casein, a protein found in milk, has the ability to bind with catechins and make it tough for our body to absorb them. Matcha is a powerful source of antioxidants and you wouldn’t want to miss on the full benefits of it. So you should try using casein-free milk instead, such as soy milk, almond, cashew or coconut milk. Try tasting different milks to find the one you enjoy the most.
3. Use natural sweeteners
Some people like their matcha lattes unsweetened, others love to add some sweetness to them. Whatever you may chose is just fine, but for optimum flavor I would suggest to avoid refined sugars. White sugar is not only boring but calorific and unhealthy too. Given the health properties of matcha, it’s not typically a drink you want to load with sugar. Instead, opt for natural sweeteners to make your matcha more flavorful and sweet, such as maple syrup, manuka honey, brown sugar or agave nectar. My favorite sweetener is mint julep sugar for a hint of refreshing mint in my matcha latte!
4. Use a matcha bowl
Another thing you should take into consideration is the serving vessel you use. Matcha lattes should be sipped from a bowl, not a mug or a to-go cup as many people do. Drinking matcha involves not just your taste but your other senses too. To enjoy it fully you must cup the bowl with your palms and feel the warmness, hold it close to your lips and nose and ingest the rich grassy aroma and sip slowly. A teacup or a mug doesn’t allow you to sense the magic of matcha as a wide bowl does. Moreover, preparing matcha in a bowl is much easier for blending it.
5. Blend up well
Nobody likes their latte with thin foam. The same applies to matcha lattes. The perfect matcha latte should have a thick froth which is by the way not hard to achieve if you simply blend it well. Traditionally, matcha is prepared with a bamboo whisk. If you choose to use this method then make sure to whisk vigorously in a zig zag motion until an airy, foamy texture is reached. Going against tradition won’t affect the taste though, so you could also use an electric frother or even a blender if that’s easier for you. I myself prefer the traditional way of blending with a bamboo whisk as I find the process very calming too.
6. Make sure water and milk are hot
Latte lovers know how important heat is. There is nothing worse than a lukewarm latte and matcha lattes are not an exception. To ensure the best matcha latte ever, you might as well need to ensure that you maximize heat but without overheating your water and milk and thus destroying the flavor and antioxidants of your tea. First, make your base with 1 tsp of matcha and 2oz of hot water (175F) and forming a paste with a whisk. In a separate cup heat your milk to 150F and blend well until foamy (I recommend using a milk frother). Then add to your matcha.
Follow these little tips and you will have the richest, smoothest, creamiest and most delicious matcha latte ever!
Are you considering getting yourself in this matcha latte trend?