Find out how to make an easy matcha latte and learn why this green gold is not a fad. It’s here to stay and for a good reason.
Have you tried matcha yet? Green gold is what they call it. It’s a great way to start the morning for alertness plus some potential nutrition and health benefits I’ll share below.
Is matcha better than coffee?
Caffeine helps many people get into a creative flow and definitely helps with alertness. It helps my brain function a little better in the early morning hours.
I finally get why coffee drinkers are so serious about their morning cup. Even in this summer-like heat, we’re having, I’ve been making all varieties of matcha lattes a few times a week. I promise. I’m not hooked. I can stop anytime I want. But right now… I don’t want to.
Difference between matcha and regular green tea
Matcha is a powdered green tea native to Japan. The flavor is rich and earthy and not nearly as bitter as other green teas I’ve tried. Instead of brewing or steeping tea leaves, you drink the green tea powder that’s been dissolved in water.
It is a true tea from the Camellia sinensis plant. It’s grown in shaded conditions before harvest which helps the tea maintain high concentrations of compounds such as theanine and beneficial catechins.
Matcha retains its bright green color after processing because the leaves are processed differently. The tea is harvested, steamed and air-dried before being ground into the powder that we use.
Nothing is left behind, so it’s a more potent drink. Learn more about the history of matcha in this article I wrote for Food & Nutrition magazine.
3 reasons to add matcha to your routine
Matcha may help you focus. Like other green teas, research shows that matcha may help boost mental alertness. A potential plus? Some people report that unlike coffee, you don’t get the jitters after the caffeine wears off.
It contains antioxidants. Rich in polyphenols, matcha (like other green teas) may help reduce the risk of certain cancers, heart disease, and other conditions and may even have some anti-aging benefits. Yes!!
It makes you slow down. It’s quick and easy to steep a tea bag in a mug of hot water, wait 3-5 minutes then sip. With matcha, there’s a process. The water prep, whisking and frothing required to make a matcha latte takes more time. It allows time for more mindfulness at the start of the day.
If it’s new to you, I encourage you to give it a try. When I initially wrote this post in 2015, matcha was less well known in mainstream media and wellness and many called it a trend.
It’s not a trend since it’s something that many people have enjoyed for centuries. But it is here now in the US and all over to stay.
Notably, matcha comes at a price that makes it less accessible for many. It is expensive. Ceremonial grade matcha can easily cost upwards of $15-20 per ounce.
According to Google Trends, matcha has been trending up since 2011. Now you can find matcha bars in New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, iced drinks at Starbucks and matcha lattes all over Instagram.
I’ve been chatting about matcha for a while now, and I’m often asked which one to buy. I’m still in search of my absolute favorite, but I like MatchaLove and Aiya ceremonial grade ones.
There are several organic ones available on Amazon that I want to try. I’ll come back and update this post with a complete list once I pick my favorite three.
In any case, just make sure you buy pure matcha powder, not a mix. The mixes are typically sugar-sweetened and of poor quality. Skip those.
The real deal will have a beautiful bright green color, and it will not be cheap – sorry. You’ll also find matcha flavored everything – from donuts to pancakes and candy. These are usually just added for flavor and color – don’t depend on these treats to get the health benefits I shared earlier.
So here’s my current favorite way to prep a matcha latte.
NOTE: I’m aware that this recipe is not the traditional way of preparing matcha. I accept that it is Americanized and yet still quite delicious! Bon Appetit magazine has an excellent tutorial on How to Make Matcha that’s a little closer to the traditional Japanese preparation method.
Coconut Ginger Matcha Latte
- ½ teaspoon matcha powder
- ¾ cup hot (not boiling) water
- honey and ground ginger to taste
- ¼ cup warm unsweetened coconut milk (the refrigerated one)
- In a large mug, use a bamboo whisk to combine the matcha with about ¼ cup water until all lumps dissolve and the mixture is smooth. If you do not have a bamboo whisk, place the matcha and water in a small blender or use a handheld frother and a small cup to combine.
- Once smooth, add honey and ginger to the mixture. Whisk until well incorporated.
- Pour in the remaining water and coconut milk. Whisk or use a milk frother until you reach the desired consistency. Enjoy right away.