My fiancé’s colleague asked me which recipe I followed for my coconut milk matcha latte and I couldn’t really remember. I don’t think I really followed a particular recipe, just sort of tried it and it worked! I had made the almond milk matcha latte from Natural Kitchen Adventures before, so I knew you could use nut milks. If I’m being truthful, I’ve never actually had a matcha latte with real milk before…the idea of green tea plus milk doesn’t really appeal, although I don’t really know why I’m OK with using nut milks instead! I first came across matcha latte in Vancouver during my editorial internship in 2010, at which time I thought it a crazy idea…although looking back I see that Vancouver was probably where London is only just starting to be in terms of holistic health and trendy drinks!
But why drink matcha latte? I like it as an alternative drink to morning coffee or afternoon tea. Unlike your typical green tea, which is prepared like black tea by steeping whole leaves and then straining, with matcha you are consuming the whole leaf, which has been powdered and therefore whisks up into a froth. As a result, in consuming the whole leaf you get all the benefits of green tea, but tenfold times. It contains about half the caffeine of coffee, but uniquely contains L-theanine, an amino acid that can cross the blood–brain barrier to produce a calming, mood-enhancing effect, which reduces perceived stress, improves learning performance, improves mental sharpness and promotes concentration. It has these effects because theanine increases the levels of GABA, a sedatory neurotransmittor, and dopamine, a mood-enhancing neurotransmitter. No wonder I was guzzling the stuff while revising for exams! I’m not really a fan of steeped green tea as it can often be quite bitter and makes me feel queasy on an empty stomach. Matcha seems to be more mellow, and since it’s mixed with a fatty milk, it helps to avoid a queasy belly.
There are many recipes online for coconut milk matcha latte, but here’s how I make it. I used to use a specialty matcha bamboo whisk but I never really got the froth I wanted. The barista at Kin Cafe (who makes a good almond milk matcha latte!) suggested investing in an aerolatte to make a frothy approximation, so I did, and it works really really well. It’s not very expensive and I use it almost daily. Unlike the Bialetti milk frother (which I also have!), it very satisfactorily whisks all nut milks as well as dairy milk, so you can get a good cappuccino-type coffee with any milk variation you like. It even whisks up just plain water and matcha to make a more traditional plain matcha tea drink (which no doubt will have real traditionalists rolling in the grave; apparently making matcha tea is as much about the ceremony as the drink!).
- 1/2–1 tsp. ceremonial grade matcha (be careful not to use food grade, which is lower quality. The quantity you use depends on how strong a green tea flavour you like)
- 3/4 mugful of coconut milk, topped up with a little water if coconut milk is very thick
- Your favourite mug
- A saucepan
- A small sieve
- A whisk, either a small metal whisk, a bamboo matcha whisk or an aerolatte
- Measure out the coconut milk and water in your mug, then pour into a saucepan (or I use my Bialetti stovetop milk frother jug for this) and heat very gently. Don’t allow to boil; keep checking and swirling once in a while. It’s hot enough when the steam starts to rise up when you swirl the pan.
- Meanwhile, sift the matcha powder into your favourite mug. You may not need to do this if using the aerolatte as it’s very good at whisking everything up. Add any optional extras (see below) if you want.
- Pour over a small amount of the hot milk and whisk into a paste.
- Whisk up the hot milk separately, then gently pour over the matcha paste.
- Take some time out, sit back and enjoy.
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. maca
- 1 tsp. collagen
- Sweetener of choice – honey, xylitol, coconut palm sugar. Nut milk is naturally sweet so don’t go crazy here – taste and see what you like