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I studied Japanese in high school and college and somewhere along the lines I fell in love with matcha. There’s something about the earthy, slightly bitter, slightly sweet taste. The caffeine buzz is not nearly as rough or intense as coffee, and it’s just so good! When I discovered a certain, well loved, coffee chain made green tea lattes, I jumped for joy but customization is obviously minimal, and their matcha powder has the sugar mixed in already.
Between my waistline and my wallet, it became clear pretty quickly that I needed to find a new way to stave off my matcha cravings. As it turns out, matcha at home is ridiculously simple; once you know what you’re up to. After you know what you like, green tea lattes are a simple matter of customization.
But first, tea.
“I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky
If you’re drinking matcha for the health benefits, it’s important to know that there are three different “grades” of matcha: ceremonial grade, premium grade, and cooking grade. I’m linking you to the Wikipedia article because sites that aren’t trying to sell you their own brand of matcha are hard to find.
Now, if you have a chance to try ceremonial grade matcha, DO IT. I’ve tried it once, and it is delicious.
That being said, most of us will be just fine drinking premium grade matcha and never be none the wiser. The premium grade is what you’re most likely to find at Japanese grocery stores in the small tins of matcha.
Culinary grade matcha is much more bitter and lacks some of the health benefits. If you’re buying matcha in large bags online or elsewhere it’s likely to be culinary grade. It’s the cheapest available, and in my opinion is fine for cookies or sweets, but I try and stick with premium grade brands I’ve tried and loved.
Try a few brands! When I started drinking matcha, I visited our local Mitsuwa Marketplace and bought three different brands and compared and contrasted them. I found a brand that I like, but everyone’s tastes are different. At the moment, I’m drinking a matcha a family friend gave me from Taiwan…. now whether we can *really* call that matcha, or if matcha is like champagne, I honestly don’t know. 😉
“Honestly, if you’re given the choice between Armageddon or tea, you don’t say ‘what kind of tea?”
― Neil Gaiman
For a while, I used an IKEA milk frother and regular teaspoon to mix and measure my matcha, but my lattes and regular cups of tea really stepped up their game when I bought a proper matcha set. I ordered the BambooWorx Japanese Tea Set, Matcha Whisk (Chasen), Traditional Scoop (Chashaku), and Tea Spoon set from Amazon.
The whisk is nice for a traditional frothy cup of tea, but my favorite part is by far the matcha spoon. It looks like a flattened hockey stick and I use – for a large latte – about ten scoops. However, I encourage you to mix and match and try your own “strength” of matcha. I had a hard time finding the right amount with my teaspoons, and wasting a lot of the extra find matcha powder that stuck to the increased surface area of the spoon.
It’s also important to note when you’re making matcha (or any green tea) that you don’t want to use boiling water; it makes the tea bitter. I have a traditional stovetop kettle and I listen to it and stop it just as the water is starting to boil. They sell fancy electric kettles with temperature settings. I don’t have one.
Now that all THAT is out of the way! Without much further ado:
Delicious! Be sure to let me know what you think, or if you have any questions! <3