A Coffee Addict Switches to Matcha

It’s always been a running joke in the LBGTQIA+ community that drinking iced coffee is one of our “personality traits.” As a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur, I’ve been drinking coffee as long as I can remember. I started drinking it regularly as a third year in high school, and I’ve been standing at 5’7” ever since, so the claims of coffee stunting children’s growth did not bother me. 

Still, I was turned off from buying coffee recently. I had learned from @sweetandcreamymemes that my local Philz Coffee - one of my favorite coffee places - had fired employees who expressed their views against police brutality. I felt betrayed because I believe the way we spend our money is political, so I decided to not continue to fund a shop that treats human lives so poorly. While I adore the coffee flavors, nothing outweighs the social justice issues at hand. 

I turned to matcha, which is another popular, caffeinated beverage that is easily accessible in Orange County. However, my first experience with matcha was the matcha-flavored “Hello Panda” snack as a child, and I HATED IT simply because it wasn’t chocolate. Again, I tried matcha as a hot latte and it tasted like grass. Loads of people aren’t fond of its taste and that’s okay!  But looking back, that shop must have been a fluke, because I heavily enjoy the matcha lattes I make now.

Iced Matcha Latte at the park Original photo by Dorilyn Toledo

Pinterest first convinced me to start making matcha drinks at home. But before I could make my own drinks, I had to do research!  

First, I surveyed my friends for their favorite matcha shops, so I would have multiple points of comparison to establish a standard.  From their replies, my favorite recommendations were Sunright Tea Studio, Good Town Doughnuts, and 7Leaves.  Sunright Tea Studio taught me to use tea as a base. Good Town Doughnuts showed me the delicious simplicity of using honey as a gentle sweetener (comforting since it reminds me of my dad). While the 7Leaves matcha drink was overly sweet, I grew to favor the soy milk pairing best.

When it came to making the drink, I watched a couple tutorials using a bamboo whisk to prepare matcha.  The entire process is often described as careful: you have to use hot water (but not too hot!) to declump the matcha, then you must allow it to refrigerate before adding in milk.  

To my credit, I tried out these methods. I boiled water, allowed it to cool then added the matcha. If the water was too hot, the heat would destroy the delicate flavor. I had to use a metal fork since I don’t have a bamboo whisk, but I received mediocre results. Also, I was too impatient to let the matcha sit in the fridge and sometimes, it would separate from the base, further disappointing me.

The easiest way I found to make matcha is to simply use a blender or a bottle!  After mixing the teaspoon, or more, of matcha powder, an equivalent amount of honey, and the liquid base in your container, pour it over soy milk and ice. And voilà!  That is my perfected matcha latte recipe, but you can make your preferred adjustments. I like my soy milk to have a vanilla flavor.  My liquid base is either oolong or green tea to enhance the matcha. Sometimes, I’ll soak dried rose petals in the tea to add that lovely flavor note. Remember, have fun with it!

I used to be obsessed with coffee, but would mostly only drink it on social occasions or when studying. Now, I drink matcha lattes most days for whatever! What would you call that, if not an obsession? It’s a wonderful pick-me-up and without the nervous effects of coffee. I hope this inspires you to try a matcha drink soon!

Thank you for reading and take care.