Love the Starbuck's Matcha Latte?

Make a better one at home!

Matcha’s popularity has exploded over the last few years and we’re seeing it everywhere from health stores to bakeries to coffee shops. You know a drink has hit peak popularity when it appears on Starbucks’ menu!

Mixing matcha with milk to make a matcha latte is the most popular way to drink it. That’s not surprising – it’s comforting, super tasty and packed full of antioxidants. But not all matcha lattes are created equal.

There can be huge differences in how healthy a matcha latte is depending on whether you make it at home or order it a café. In this article we’ll take a look at how the Starbucks matcha latte compares to the homemade version.

If you’re already drinking matcha but don’t want to compromise on the goodness – or maybe you’re looking to put an end to your coffee habit and want a healthier substitute – then read on!

After all, we want to reap all the benefits from this superfood so that we can stay productive and get the most out of our day. 

So why is this drink so popular?

Many are now opting for matcha as an alternative to coffee because of its health benefits.

 •  Matcha is super high in antioxidants called polyphenols, which studies have shown could help to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, speed up fat burning and anti-aging.

 •  Matcha also contains an energy boosting amino acid called L-theanine, which has been found to boost memory as well as helping you to feel calmer.
   
 •  Matcha has less caffeine than coffee but gives longer-lasting energy. Coffee can cause jitters when the energy boost hits you, and a crash once it goes away, leaving you more tired than before.

If you’re caffeine sensitive or you’ve got a long, hectic day in front of you, matcha is a great choice. Personally, there’s nothing worse than knowing I have a busy day, only to drink a coffee and feel sick when it hits me too hard.

Beginning your day with a nutritious matcha latte is a smooth ride. It’ll give you zen-like focus and you can finally say goodbye to coffee breath!

A lot of people don’t make matcha at home. It’s usually easier to grab one from Starbucks on the way. But a Starbucks matcha latte habit can get expensive, and is it the healthy option you think it is?

What’s actually inside those Starbucks matcha lattes?

Well, that depends whether you're in the UK or USA, as the nutritional information available online is different. 

In the UK, there is no ingredients list for the matcha latte online. We reached out to an ex-Starbucks UK employee who told us that the matcha they use in the UK is 100% matcha and not pre-blended with sugar. So, if you're living in the UK, your Starbucks matcha is, well, just matcha!

Unfortunately, the matcha powder that Starbucks uses in the USA to make these lattes is pre-blended with sugar, according to the nutritional information online. Because sugar is listed as the first ingredient, it may mean that there’s even more of it than matcha. Even if you don’t add any extras, it’s already pretty unhealthy.

Good quality matcha has a delicate, sweet aftertaste and adding milk further sweetens the drink. Pre-blending matcha with sugar is overkill and could suggest that it is being used to mask the taste of lower quality matcha, which often has a bitter taste. It could just mean that the USA has a bigger sweet tooth than the UK!

One of the fun things about ordering from Starbucks is experimenting with different syrups to spice up your drink. On top of the sugar that’s pre-blended in, adding syrup and extras can quickly send the calories through the roof. Wouldn’t it just be better to avoid the pre-blended sugar and let you sweeten it to your own taste, like you can when you order a coffee?

Let’s take a look at the calories in a Starbucks grande matcha latte.

According to their nutritional information, one of these lattes made with non-fat milk is 190 calories and contains 33 grams of sugar!

Their iced latte is similar, containing 31 grams of sugar.

So if you’re in the USA and drinking matcha for the health perks, we recommend you make your own at home where you have more control over what goes into the matcha latte.

Not only can you make it quicker AND for a fraction of the price, but you can also make it taste much nicer!  

Benefits of making matcha lattes at home

Higher quality matcha, lower price.

Given that Starbucks’ matcha in the USA is pre-sweetened with sugar, it's hard to tell how good the matcha actually is. It’ll also cost you over £2.00 a cup, which can turn into an expensive habit! You can buy high quality, Japanese matcha to use at home and it’ll cost you less than £1 a cup.

Your latte. Your rules!

You’re in control of the ingredients you put in your homemade matcha latte, so you can make it as healthy (or unhealthy) as you want! 

You can also experiment with different matcha to water or milk ratios to get the taste just right for you. Extras like vanilla, cinnamon and maple syrup can help you make a matcha latte that's much better than what you'd get at Starbucks! 

But isn’t Starbucks more convenient?

Sure, it’s easier to stand in line and wait for somebody to make a matcha latte for you (although I am not a huge fan of queues, so anything I can do to avoid them I will) but it does take longer.

Making a matcha at home only takes a few minutes and is less hassle than making a fresh coffee. Plus, you don’t need to spend the time waiting in line. That’s extra time in bed (or anything else you’d rather be doing than standing in line)!

You can drink your latte at home before you leave the house or put it in a flask to keep it warm while you sip on the go.

If you’re taking matcha on the road with you, remember that matcha doesn’t actually dissolve in water, it’s a suspension. If you take too long to drink it the matcha will begin to settle at the bottom of the cup. If you’re using a flask or airtight cup, just give it a quick shake or stir before you drink to mix it up again.

Of course, sometimes it’s too late to make a matcha latte at home. You may already be out and in need of a quick pick-me-up. You’ll usually find higher quality matcha at smaller, local cafes, but if a Starbucks is all that’s around, I won’t get mad.

How to make a matcha latte to rival Starbucks

When making a matcha latte at home, you don’t need to use the highest-grade ceremonial matcha. A good culinary or everyday grade works great. It’s less expensive and the flavour is a little stronger so the matcha can still be tasted when mixed with other ingredients.

Not sure how to pick out good quality matcha? We wrote a buyer’s guide to help.

We also recommend using non-dairy milk such as almond milk. Research shows that dairy milk can block the absorption of some antioxidants, so it’s better to choose a non-dairy option so that you can get all the health benefits. If it’s just the caffeine you want, dairy milk is fine.

Here's how to make your own better-than-Starbucks matcha latte at home: 

Hot Matcha Latte

Prep Time: 5 MIN
Yield : 1 cup

INGREDIENTS

• 1-2 tsp matcha powder
• 3 tbsp hot (not boiling) water
• 300ml milk of your choice – our favourite is almond milk. (coconut or soy milk are also great options)
• 1 tsp of vanilla extract
• 1 tbsp of maple syrup or honey (or any other natural sweetener of your choice) 

* Utensils you will need:  matcha whisk, milk frother or blender

If you want to sweeten your matcha, we’d recommend doing this at the end, so you don’t accidentally make it too sweet. Just give it another few seconds in the blender, or a good stir, to make sure it’s fully mixed in.

You can also customise your latte with a pinch of your favourite spice! You can try different spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, cloves or cardamom.

BLENDER METHOD

1. Simply add all the ingredients to your blender and blend until fully mixed.
2. Sweeten to taste.

WHISK / FROTHER METHOD 
1. Heat the milk in a saucepan until hot. Add the sweetener of choice and the vanilla extract. Whisk until a foam forms
2. On a mug, add hot (not boiling) water to the matcha powder and using a whisk or frother, mix the matcha and water until it forms a smooth paste, without lumps. (Boiling water can make the matcha taste bitter, so if you are not sure about the temperature of your water, make the paste with cold water first, then add some hot water.)
3. Pour the hot milk into the mug with the matcha paste and give a final stir. 


Speaking of variety, matcha lattes don’t always have to be made hot. Let’s look at a delicious iced matcha latte recipe that will be perfect for a hot summer’s day: 

Iced Matcha Latte


Prep Time: 5 MIN
Yield : 1 cup

INGREDIENTS

•1-2 tsp matcha powder  
• 300ml milk of your choice – our favourite is almond milk. (coconut or soy milk are also great options)
• 1 tsp of vanilla extract
• 1 -2 tbsp of maple syrup or honey. (or any other natural sweetener of your choice). Could drinks require a little bit more of sweetener than hot ones, so you might want to add a little bit more in this recipe.
• Ice  

* Utensils you will need:  matcha whisk, milk frother or blender

METHOD
1. Add a few cubes of ice and the rest of your ingredients to the blender and mix until fully combined
2. Pour over a glass with some extra ice

Wrapping up

The health benefits you’ll get from drinking healthy matcha lattes are many, ranging from reducing the risk of heart disease to boosting your energy levels to making you feel calmer. The health perks – paired with the fact that it’s quick and easy to make – is the reason a homemade matcha latte is the perfect drink to incorporate into your diet.

We could all benefit from drinking a little more matcha so that we can stay motivated, have more productive days and improve our overall wellbeing.

And last but not least, you know it’ll look great on instagram!

So what’s your experience with matcha lattes? Go ahead and make one, then let us know your thoughts! 

Article credit : ENSŌ Matcha

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