Have you tried matcha yet? I didn’t get what the big deal was until I tasted my first one at a nearby Starbucks, in latte form. That pretty much ruined me for a year or so. It was months before I got around to trying an unadulterated hot matcha tea. The flavor is earthy and intriguing, yes. But if I’m being honest, I really do enjoy the special treat of a slightly sweet, oh-so-creamy matcha latte.
Now, I’m not completely bone-headed. I know Starbucks serves up the candy-cane version. So eventually I decided if I was going to imbibe regularly, I really needed to be making this dreamy green concoction at home where I could exert some quality control over ingredients.
Inspired one day after a trip to Tokyo, I sourced some quality matcha in Bangkok here, and began making matcha green tea lattes myself, minus the junk dairy and refined sugar.
Matcha, in case you have not yet had the pleasure, is powdered green tea from Japan. It isn’t made by steeping tea leaves and then straining them out as per the usual tea-making process though. Rather, matcha is whole green tea leaves that have been dried and pulverised. The powder is then mixed directly into hot water or milk, like instant espresso. So you end up drinking the actual tea leaves. This creates a hot drink that is just as caffeine-potent as coffee and far more robust in flavor than steeped green tea. Matcha comes in a different quality grades, from culinary, which is just fine for beginners like me (or when turning it into a latte), to ceremonial, which is made into a thicker tea and usually drunk straight up.
Special matcha equipment is also a thing. First, there is a bamboo whisk for blending that tea powder with a bit of hot water in such a way that will leave no clumps behind bobbing in the mug. Second, in Japan matcha is drunk from a “matcha bowl,” not a coffee cup with a handle. You have to use 2 hands to hold the bowl, you drink it slowly and, if so inspired, you use this time to meditate.
But don’t be intimidated by all that.
So far – and again I am writing to you as a kindergarden-level matcha novice – I use a small metal whisk to dissolve the matcha in hot water and also to froth it up with hot fresh coconut milk. That seems to work. I have found that my home-brew ingredients and methods produce as much of a treat as ever, absence of bamboo whisk and correct matcha bowl notwithstanding.
Lately, I’m enjoy matcha lattes as an occasional alternative to coffee, or even post-coffee on the weekends at home as a second morning caffeinated beverage when I am feeling decadent.
Why not give it a try?
- 1 teaspoon matcha
- 1 tbsp hot water
- 1 teaspoon erythritol or other favorite sugar substitute heaping
- 1 cup coconut or other favorite non-dairy milk
Put matcha powder, hot water and sweetener of your choice in a coffee or tea mug and whisk until fully blended and the matcha has dissolved.
After the matcha is dissolved, in a small saucepan heat your coconut milk to hot but not boiling. This takes barely 1 minute on high so don't wander off. Pour the hot coconut milk in the bowl or mug, give it another good whisking. Taste. Adjust the sweetener if you want, and enjoy.
PS: If you want to froth it up and have a hand held frothing device - not necessary but totally worth it if you have one at your disposal - go for it.