I had my first ever matcha almond milk latte at a Starbucks in New York City. All I knew about it was that it was something healthy people drank, and that it was supposed to be really high in antioxidants or something like that. I needed somewhere to wait before meeting my family off the train at Penn Station and heading upstate; though it was a bright October day, it wasn’t warm, and I was already over-caffeinated and a little bit ill. Matcha, or at least the little I knew of it, sounded like it fit the bill.
It only took one sip for me to be bitterly disappointed. I’ve never eaten grass, but I imagine that’s what it would taste like. It was simply disgusting, probably not helped by the oversweetened, overprocessed almond milk they use in Starbucks. I made a good go of it, to feel that I had not spent $4 in vain, but had to chuck most of it. I didn’t feel energised or glowing or any of the other things I was supposed to feel — nor had I been transformed into one of those trendy New Yorkers who goes to 7am SoulCycle and wears sunglasses all year round, as I had secretly hoped would happen — I just felt remorseful and ripped off.
It was a while before I tried matcha again — and in truth, every time I tried it I wished I had got a regular latte. I drank it because it was ‘healthy’ and because my coffee consumption at Oxford bordered on the unsafe.
Given that I have so far dedicated this post to how much I hate matcha, you’re probably wondering why on earth I now have a recipe for it. Here’s the thing: matcha, when bought in hipster coffee shops, is disgustingly expensive and you probably won’t like it. That’s the hard truth. When made at home, however, you can tailor it to your own tastes. Yes, the powder is still expensive, but it lasts forever. You can experiment with different milks — I think brown rice milk and oat milk are my favourites here — and add sweetness and other flavours.
The more I drink it, the more it grows on me, and although I’ll probably always prefer coffee, it’s useful to have something else on hand for times when you just want a light caffeine boost without the dehydration and crash. Experiment with it until you find something you like! This is just what works for me.
Makes one serving
- 1 tsp matcha powder
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp boiling water
- 1 cup milk of choice (I like oat milk or brown rice milk)
Add the matcha, syrup and cinnamon to a mug. Add the hot water and whisk into a paste, so the powder has dissolved with no lumps.
Meanwhile, pour the milk into a large sterilised glass jar (big enough that the milk only half fills it) and put the lid on firmly. Shake the jar well for about 90 seconds until a foamy layer develops on top of the milk. Remove the lid, and microwave the jar of milk for a minute.
Pour the hot frothy milk into the matcha mix, stir and enjoy!