Once considered a niche ingredient, matcha has risen in popularity to become a staple beverage in coffee and tea shops around the world. Matcha is made from young and tender leaves known as “tencha” that are grown in the shade before being picked by hand and slowly stone-ground into powder.
When making matcha lattes, make sure to use ceremonial grade matcha rather than culinary grade matcha. Ceremonial grade matcha is the highest quality, with a smooth and delicate taste that makes it best suited for drinking. Meanwhile, culinary-grade matcha is better for baking. Culinary grade matcha has a stronger, more intense taste that shines through even when baked into a dessert.
Making matcha tea starts by pouring hot, almost boiling water over matcha powder. While matcha powder may appear to dissolve, it actually suspends within liquid and creates the illusion of homogeneity. To thoroughly incorporate the matcha into water, a bamboo whisk called a “chasen” is traditionally used, though a normal whisk or even spoon/fork also work. This simple mixture of hot water and matcha powder is the traditional way to drink matcha tea and can be enjoyed as is. However, you can also add milk and sweetener to make a latte.
For a hot latte, steam together milk and any desired sweetener, then add it to the matcha mixture and stir to combine. To produce foam, use a frother or whisk.
For an iced latte, mix together milk and any desired sweetener with a cup of ice, then add it to the matcha mixture and stir to combine.
Voilà! Enjoy the perfect cup of matcha at home!
- 1 tsp matcha powder
- ¼ cup hot water
- ¾ cups milk
- Sweetener (sugar, honey, etc) if desired
Traditional Hot Matcha Latte
- Sift 1 tsp of matcha powder through a fine sifter into a wide mug to remove any clumps.
- Add ¼ cup of hot water (just before boiling). We recommend180-190°F.
- Stir or whisk into a paste. Traditional bamboo whisk (chasen) works best, but a frother or fork/spoon also works.
- Heat ¾ cups of milk with sweetener (if desired). Do not bring to a boil. We recommend heating to 150°F.
- Add the heated milk to the matcha paste in the bowl. To produce foam, use a handheld frother for 30 seconds or whisk with a whisk or fork.
Iced Matcha Latte
- Sift 1 tsp ofmatcha powder into a cup, add ¼ of hot water and stir.
- Pour the matcha into a cocktail shaker or cup with a lid with one cup of ice, add ¾ cup of milk along with any desired sweetener.
- Cover the cocktail shaker or cup and shake for a full minute.
- Strain and serve over a glass of ice.
Introduction courtesy of Britney Budiman
Britney Budiman (@booritney) is a writer, minimalist, aspiring effective altruist, and runner-in-progress with a penchant for saying “yes.” Previously, she has worked in Cambodia at a traditional arts NGO, in Brazil as a social sciences researcher, and in San Francisco at a housing start-up. She currently lives in the countryside of Kagoshima, Japan, where she teaches English. Her favorite thing in the world is good conversation.