I love matcha and one of my favorite drinks that I enjoy in the morning is Iced Green Tea Latte, or Iced Matcha Latte (アイス抹茶ラテ).
What is Matcha?
In case you are new to matcha, matcha (抹茶) is stone-ground delicate green tea powder made from shade-grown tea leaves.
Although matcha has been around for over 800 years in Japan, its popularity has recently increased globally due to its beautiful visual appeal, health benefits, and distinct flavor. These days many people enjoy green tea drinks, including Green Tea Latte (my recipe here) and Green Tea Crème Frappuccino, both which were first introduced in Starbucks back in 2007.
Matcha also received even more attention when research found out matcha contains lots of antioxidants. Antioxidants are the magical nutrients and enzymes responsible for giving us younger-looking skin, boosting memory, increasing energy level, burning fat, and preventing a number of life-threatening diseases like cancer.
Frequently Asked Questions about Matcha
As I have many matcha recipes, I often receive the following questions about matcha.
1. Are Matcha and Green Tea same thing? What’s the difference?
When you hear the term “Matcha” and “Green Tea”, you might think the terms can be used interchangeably.
The truth is:
Matcha (抹茶) and green tea (we call Sencha* 煎茶) are different and BOTH are categorized as “Green Tea” (Ryokucha* 緑茶).
* Sencha is the regular green tea often served in Japanese restaurants.
* Ryokucha includes different types of Japanese green tea such as sencha, gyokuryo, hojicha, genmaicha, and matcha.
How are matcha and green tea (sencha) different? The tea leaf itself, cultivation, processing, nutrients, and taste are all very different. For more info on the topic, please check out the links below.
- Matcha vs. Green Tea (Sencha) Difference (Inforgrafic)
- Matcha vs. Green Tea (Sencha) Nutritients Comparison
- Matcha vs. Green Tea (Sencha) Process Comparison
If you’re curious more about matcha in particular, watch this 5-minute matcha episode on Japanlogy.
Can I grind loose green tea leaves to make green tea powder?
After you read my answer to the previous question, you probably know the answer is no. Even if you grind the leaves, the powder won’t become “matcha” because the tea leaves are grown and processed differently.
Where can I find matcha for Iced Green Tea Latte?
The biggest challenge for Matcha could be finding it locally where you live. The good news is there are online shops that sell and ship green tea powder internationally, so hopefully you’ll be able to find some. If you know your favorite shop carries excellent green tea powder, please leave a comment below and share with other readers.
If you live in the US, try Japanese grocery stores such as Mitsuwa, Marukai, and Nijiya. They sell one of the common matcha brand called Maeda-en (It’s about $8 for culinary grade).
Or, buy online. My dear friends at Season With Spice has 20% discount for JOC readers for their Matcha Powder, so check out their products! I use their spices all the time and they are absolutely delicious!
How do you know if it’s good matcha or bad matcha?
Here are several tips to help you to distinguish good vs. bad matcha when you shop.
- Origin: Although matcha is also produced outside of Japan, it is generally accepted that higher quality matcha comes from Japan, especially from Nishio (西尾) in Aichi and Uji (宇治) in Kyoto (source).
- Color: High quality matcha has a really vibrant green color because tea leaves are shade-grown and they are forced to overproduce chlorophyll, which gives matcha its nice bright green color. Some of my readers asked me why their matcha is yellowish or brownish color. It’s probably due to improper shading or because tea leaves came from lower stalk of the plant which didn’t produce as much chlorophyll.
- Price: Unfortunately, there is no “cheap” high quality matcha. Generally speaking, a 1 oz (30 g) tin of ceremonial-grade matcha ranges between $20-30 while the culinary-grade matcha ranges between $10-15.
Also, make sure the matcha you’re purchasing does NOT include sugar in as part of the ingredients!
Let’s Make Homemade Iced Green Tea Latte
If you love iced green tea latte, there’s a good chance you’re buying yours from Starbucks. But have you ever thought of making it at home? It’s way cheaper to make it at home then paying $3+ for the drink. The best part? It’s easy!!
See, if you put the drink in a Starbucks’ cup, it’s just like one you get from the store.