Matcha is an antioxidant-rich powdered green tea, made from whole tea leaves. Shade-grown, the leaves develop a deep jade-green hue, which lends creamy latte drinks, such as this one, a light grass-green tone.
From my new book, THE NEW MILKS; 100-PLUS DAIRY-FREE RECIPES FOR MAKING AND COOKING WITH SOY, NUT, SEED, GRAIN, AND COCONUT MILKS, this matcha latte recipe is one of my mainstays. It’s the ideal afternoon pick-me-up—with almost as much caffeine as a cup of black coffee. Even better, unlike the versions available at coffee shops, it’s very lightly sweetened.
When preparing matcha for the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, purists opt for ceremonial- or higher-grade matcha, and make it with just water. Yet, here, since we’re combining the tea with milk and sweetener, you can use a lower-grade, everyday, or “culinary” matcha. The latter type is available at most large grocery stores, and Asian food shops with Japanese sections.
If you prefer your drinks intensely flavored and hued (and more caffeinated), use 1-1/2 teaspoons of matcha powder. Since matcha powder tends to clump, it’s essential to begin by whisking the tea with hot water, before combining the mixture with milk. I use all types of plant-based milks, though my favorites tend to be the creamiest, such as cashew, coconut, and macadamia nut. That said, feel free to go with whatever you have in the fridge or pantry (just not hemp or quinoa milk, which are too strongly flavored).
If you only stock vanilla-flavored milk, use it. Just omit the vanilla extract in the recipe. By that token, if you only have sweetened milk, cut down on the agave nectar. Or dispense with it entirely.
1 cup plain unsweetened cashew, coconut, soy, or macadamia milk
1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons matcha (1 teaspoon if you prefer a milder flavor)
3-1/2 teaspoons agave nectar or honey
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Pour the cashew milk into a small microwave-safe bowl, and microwave until very hot, 2-1/2 to 3 minutes. Alternatively, you can heat the milk in a small saucepot on the stove.
2. Meanwhile, place a small strainer in a medium bowl. Pour the matcha into the strainer, and scrape to sift it into the bowl. (Otherwise, the matcha powder will clump.) To the matcha, add 2 Tablespoons of very hot water. Stir until a smooth liquid forms.
3. Pour the hot milk, agave nectar, and vanilla into the bowl with the matcha and water, and whisk until smooth.
4. Using a frother (such as an Aerolatte), froth the mixture until bubbly. (If you don’t have a frother, just skip this step. The latte won’t be frothy, but will still taste delicious.) Ladle into a 12-ounce serving mug, and drink immediately.
About the Author: Dina Cheney is the author of THE NEW MILKS; 100-PLUS DAIRY-FREE RECIPES FOR MAKING AND COOKING WITH SOY, NUT, SEED, GRAIN, AND COCONUT MILKS. She is also the creator of the dairy-free resource site, www.thenewmilks.com.