Do you love the complex flavour of matcha tea but find it difficult to replicate the traditional style at home? Try this soy matcha latte for all of the flavour but none of the fuss.
I posted a while back about all my favourite Japanese teas and that while I love the pungent and slightly bitter edge to a well made traditional matcha my own efforts rarely live up to my memories of those perfect brews and tea ceremonies we enjoyed in Japan.
Disappointed with my results a few years back I used the last of my Kyoto purchased matcha powder in baking and a batch of matcha and white chocolate icecream. It hurt to do it, I’m assured it was great quality tea but my ability to make a good brew was beyond me. I’ve since paid a bit more attention in tea ceremonies, sought a few expert tips and the right tools and my results have improved but I still regularly enjoy this relaxed alternative.
You can buy many foods enhanced with the flavour and sometimes the health benefits of matcha in Japan but at home in Australia, my choices are more limited. I tried a Starbucks matcha concoction which is easily available but it didn’t quite hit the spot for me. It did inspire me to experiment with some locally available matcha brands though and come up with my own preferred rendition of the matcha latte.
Firstly I need to be clear that this is NOT a Japanese drink. What it is, is a tasty and satisfying fusion of the great matcha flavour, moderately healthy ingredients and an indulgent afternoon pick-me-up treat. One of the things I really love about Matcha is that it will give you that 3 pm pick-me-up with the crash later.
A closer look at the ingredients
Getting quality matcha powder does matter. With most tea you steep the leaves in water, throw out the leaves and drink the water. With matcha the leaves are ground to such a fine powder that it’s incorporated into the drink and consumed. Matcha is a bit of a superfood and is loaded with antioxidents, I know all green tea has antioxident properties but I was reading recently that the level of active ingredients in matcha is more than 100x the amount.
I will just say here is that there’s a difference between quality matcha powder and ceremonial quality which is super expensive and difficult to find. Good quality matcha will be pure, often organic and have a great flavour. I bring some back from Japan when we visit but I’ve also bought it locally in Australia and I have a couple of Australian online suppliers that source from Kyoto that I’m working through trying out.
I’ve also found from experience that if your powder is at all lumpy which can happen in the humid environment of a Queensland summer or you’re not getting it to dissolve properly try sifting it into the cup.
A matcha latte isn’t a traditional Japanese drink so there’s no right milk to use, just go with your own preference. I love organic soy milk mostly because it tastes good to me but coconut milk is good too. If you prefer dairy then there is no reason not to try it here.
What can you say about the water right? Well, it’s worth noting that the temperature. Water boils at is 100 degrees Celcius and the optimal temperature for matcha is 90 degrees. If you’re not a committed tea drinker with one of those fancy kettles that let you set your temperature then just turn the kettle off just before it boils or give it a couple of minutes to cool down if you miss it.
It’s not something to get too obsessive about but too hot water can scald the leaves and if you asked a Japanese tea master they would tell you it should be around 80 degrees. Too hot will make the matcha stronger and potentially a little bitter, the cooler the water added the more mild the flavour but at the same time the trade off for using it too cool is that it may not dissolve the powder as effectively.
When you’re adding some milk to make a matcha latte you want the flavour of the tea to be well developed so I find just off boiled is about right.
This is going to be a debatable point for some but while I do love a traditional cup of matcha which is made simply from the powdered leaves and hot water I also like my soy matcha latte with a bit of sweetener in it. Adjust it to your taste and consider using a natural sweetener like honey or agave nectar rather than sugar. I don’t use an artificial sweetener but that’s just a personal preference.
Are you feeling inspired to give it a try?
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Are you a long time fan of the delicate flavour of matcha or feel inspired to give the soy matcha latte a try yourself? Let me know how you go in the comments below. If you have a cafe or coffee shop that makes a great version near you I’d love to hear about that too.