Have you tried matcha yet? I didn’t get what the big deal was until I tried 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 (as appeared to be the trend already), I really needed to attempt making this dreamy green concoction at home where I could at least exert some quality control over ingredients.
Inspired one day, shortly 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. Rather than steeping the tea leaves and then straining them out as per the usual tea-making process, matcha is different. Macha is made of the whole green tea leaves that have been dried and ground into powder, so you are actually drinking the leaves themselves. This creates a beverage that is just as caffeine-potent as coffee, unlike steeped green tea, and more robust in flavor. 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.
There is also special equipment associated with the process of making a cup of matcha – namely, a bamboo whisk for stirring that tea powder up well enough, with a bit of hot water, to leave no clumps behind. And in Japan it is drunk from a bowl, not a coffee cup with a handle. You end up using 2 hands to hold the bowl, you drink it slowly, and, if so inspired, you use this as an opportunity 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 metal whisk to dissolve the matcha in hot water and also to froth it up with hot (fill-in-the-blank-with-your-preferred) 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
- 2 teaspoons erythritol or other favorite sugar substitute
- 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, heat your coconut milk to hot but not boiling. If you have an espresso machine with a steaming attachment, you can use that. Otherwise just do what I do and heat it in a small saucepan on the stove top, which takes barely 1 minute on high.
Pour the hot coconut milk in the bowl or mug, give it another good whisking. Taste. Adjust the sweetener if you want, and enjoy.