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You Will Love This Energizing and Guilt-free Morning Drink

 Finally, a delicious morning drink that will make a positive change to your well-being is here. The matcha latte is becoming ever more popular, and for good reason, as it has all the beneficial effects of coffee minus the harmful ones. In fact, you’ve probably seen it on the menu of some coffee shop or restaurant, but have you ever wondered what it is? In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to make the ultimate matcha latte, and more.
 
Unlike the traditional coffee drink, a matcha latte is actually a milk tea. Why, then, would it be called a latte? Most likely, this is attributed to its effect, as very much like a latte, it will wake you up in no time while comforting you with its silkiness and warmth.
 
a woman holding a cup of matcha latte
The History and Production of Matcha
The key ingredient in a matcha latte is matcha, which is an incredible type of Japanese tea traditionally used in tea ceremonies. Japanese tea ceremonies were conducted as early as the 9th century by Buddhist monks. Known for lasting for hours at a time, these elaborately choreographed ceremonies were elevated to an art form and a spiritual practice in Japan. They are truly a signature feature of Japanese tradition and culture, featuring matcha tea as an essential element. 
 
The use of matcha today, however, is not limited to tea ceremonies, as both in Japan and all around the world, matcha has become an essential ingredient in different drinks and desserts, such as ice cream, cheesecake, and perhaps most significantly, the matcha latte. 
 
Unlike most teas, matcha is a fine powder, which is made of the finest tea leaves that were dried and de-veined before stone-grinding. This means that when drinking matcha you are essentially consuming the plant instead of brewing and discarding the pulp as you do with most teas. This type of preparation ensures that you are able to absorb significantly more nutrients.
 
Another crucial step in the production process is that the tea plants used for matcha are grown in the shade during the last few months before harvest. This technique gives matcha its distinctive bright green color. Also, it urges the plant to produce more caffeine and theanine, which are the compounds that make matcha so energizing and nutrient-rich.
tea leaves are being dried out in baskets
The Health Benefits of Matcha

Although we have already written about the benefits of matcha tea in a previous article, it’s worth reminding you of the main ones: 

  • Matcha is rich in compounds that promote brain and immune health. 
  • Recent studies suggest that the amino acids contained in matcha may protect you from cancer.
  • Matcha contains as much caffeine and more antioxidants than coffee.
  • One of the antioxidants it contains called EGCG is proven to help both weight loss and weight maintenance.
  • It is also important to note that matcha is safe for people who feel anxious, jittery, and/or tired shortly after drinking coffee.

How to Choose a Matcha Powder

Generally speaking, matcha is on the pricier side. Note, however, that you will use much less of it than other teas or coffee because it is very concentrated, so it’s well worth the high price tag. Matcha comes in two different varieties, or grades: culinary and ceremonial.


Culinary grade matcha is the affordable type and it is usually used in cooking, hence the name. However, many people favor it in drinks because of its more pronounced taste. Some of the better culinary options are practically indistinguishable from the ceremonial varieties, especially by a newbie. Look for keywords such as café, kitchen, classic, premium and ingredient grade to spot culinary matcha, and don’t be fooled, even culinary grade matcha should have a vibrant green color and pleasant aroma, so avoid yellow or brown notes and/or a strong bitter smell.

If you decide to buy a culinary grade product, my advice is not to aim for the cheapest variety and look for fresh, possibly certified matcha that lists Japan as its place of origin.


        Perfect for: desserts and lattes
        Price range: $5-15 per ounce

 

Ceremonial grade matcha is the crème de la crème of Japanese tea. The quality of this product is regulated in Japan, so we recommend buying ceremonial grade matcha that is certified. The powder should be smooth and bright green in color, and the smell should be a bit sweet and not very grassy. It should be sold in a tin container that is not transparent and sealed.


        Perfect for: traditional tea and lattes
        Price range: $20-30 per ounce


When choosing matcha, don’t forget to check the production date. The fresher it is, the healthier and tastier it will be because the anti-oxidants tend to degrade over time.

Matcha Latte Recipe

If we convinced you to give the matcha latte a go, check out this easy and versatile recipe and whisk away.

matcha powder, tea leaves, a cup of matcha, a matcha whisk and a spoonful of matcha
Equipment

A bamboo matcha whisk (like the one on the picture above) or a handheld milk frother (as the one used in the video following the recipe) is imperative for making a matcha latte. Some articles suggest that it is possible to shake the matcha and water in a tightly-sealed thermos, but the results I got when using this method were disappointing: bitter clumps of matcha formed and rendered my drink terrible. And besides, both the whisk and the milk frother are inexpensive and easy to find in stores or online.


To make 1 serving of matcha latte, you will need:

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon of matcha powder
  • about 2 tablespoons of hot, but NOT boiling water (around 80°C/175°F
  • ½ cup of hot milk of your choice (I take mine with soy milk)
  • sweetener of your choice (optional)

Preparation
To prepare our matcha latte, first, measure out 1 tsp. of matcha powder and place it into a heatproof cup. If you’re using culinary-grade matcha, it can be stronger, so I recommend adding a bit less the first time you make it and then adjusting the correct amount to your liking. 


Take your handy bamboo whisk or milk frother and whisk in about 2 tablespoons of hot water until no lumps remain. Use fast zigzag motions to dissolve the clumps that may form and fluff up the mixture. DO NOT use boiling hot water because that will make your matcha bitter. 
 

Now you can add the milk, and at this point, you have 2 options depending on how fluffy you prefer your lattes: 

1. For just a little cloud of foam on top, slowly add the milk while constantly whisking to fluff up the milk.

2. If you like your latte extra foamy, however, you will need a milk frother, which you will use to foam up the milk before adding it to the matcha mixture.

Sweeten your photo-worthy latte with sugar, honey, agave syrup or any sweetener of your choice (or skip it) and enjoy! 
Already know you love matcha? Read our article with more matcha recipe ideas

Matcha Latte Video Tutorial

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