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This quick and delicious matcha latte is a perfect cup of coziness. Sweet and creamy, this simple recipe is made with matcha tea powder, steamed milk, and a super easy homemade vanilla syrup.
If you're new to green tea, or consider matcha to be too 'green' in flavor, you should definitely try this Starbucks copycat. I'm not a huge green tea fan myself, but this latte is my foot in the matcha door. It's giving cozy, a little fancy, but it's also so simple and easy to make.
I've got all the tips to make a great matcha latte and all you need is a milk frother to get all nice that latte foam like a café barista (or just go for the hot milk and no bubbles, I won't judge ya).
What is Matcha
Matcha is a traditional Japanese green tea powder made by stone-milling high grade shade-grown green tea leaves into a fine powder. When the tea leaves are grown in the shade they produce caffeine, which is why green tea has caffeine! Matcha has a bright, slightly sweet, kinda earthy flavor that can be an acquired taste on its own, especially for people in the States.
The powder is whisked using a traditional matcha whisk during Japanese tea ceremonies with hot water, but in this recipe we are going against the traditional way and using a milk frother to quickly blend the matcha powder into our milk-cream mixture instead of using a small whisk for extra frothy creaminess.
Green tea is high in theanine and antioxidants, do you're doing your body a favor while getting your winter cozy on with this latte recipe, boo!
Types of Matcha
Commercially there are three different grades of matcha. While 'ceremonial' tea isn't an official grade in Japan, the other two are.
Ceremonial Grade. This grade is often used in Buddhist temples and in tea ceremonies, whipped up in water with the bamboo whisk. It has the most vibrant green color out of all the matcha grades. This grade isn't very uniform in flavor though it can be sweeter than the others. The average matcha drinker won't notice the differences between ceremonial grade and premium, and this grade is really expensive.
Premium Grade. This one is made with the younger leaves, usually from a second harvest. Most people drink this one on its own, it's only slightly more bitter than the sweet ceremonial grade.
Culinary Grade. I know there's misinformation about culinary grade being an inferior grade of matcha, but it's not true. It's more so that culinary grade is made to be used in baking, mochi, smoothies and drinks, even savory dishes. It's more yellowy-green in color than the other grades, and less sweet in flavor. This one is the one you'll find more commonly in the grocery stores because it's more affordable, while the others are ones that need to be ordered online or bought at a tea shop.
Making your own latte, you can play with each grade to decide which one you like best but I used premium grade matcha for this recipe. Whatever grade you decide to use, make sure its good quality matcha.
How to Make a Creamy Vanilla Matcha Latte
My recipe for a matcha latte is really simple, even with the extra vanilla syrup step. Let's break it down:
Make the vanilla syrup by putting 1:1 water and granulated sugar over medium heat in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves and the syrup begins to bubble. Then stir in some good vanilla extract off the heat. So easy!
While that's happening, heat your milk up in the microwave or in another saucepan until it's hot and steamy.
Whisk together the matcha powder and the milk in your latte cup. I like adding a little splash of heavy cream when I want an extra foamy, creamy, rich experience. No more than a tablespoon or two. I use the milk frother to whip it up quickly, but you can use a whisk. I just figure I'm already using the frother, might as well not dirty up another utensil.
Now give your hot milk a good froth with the milk frother. It's a really inexpensive kitchen tool that I use all the time. I use it when I'm making a small batch of hollandaise sauce, when I want to stir in the sugar for a quick glass of lemonade, and for homemade lattes, of course.
The milk frother makes those super tiny microbubbles that give you the layer of foam on a latte that you just can't get with a regular ole whisk. But if you have one of those espresso machines with the frother, go ahead and use it with you fancy self.
Pour the frothy milk over the matcha mixture. Not all the milk will be foamy, which is perfect, because that milk pours into the matcha while the foam sits on top. Now serve it up!
Best types of milk to use for matcha lattes
When you're making a green tea latte you can use your milk of choice, but some froth up better than others.
Whole Dairy Milk: classic, makes great foam, and easy to find. You can add half and half or heavy cream for added richness.
Oat Milk: My personal non-dairy favorite. It doesn't foam up as much as much as whole milk, but it does a pretty good job.
Coconut Milk: If you want your matcha drinks to have a coconut flavor, go for it. I only suggest the canned kind because they are thicker, richer, creamier than their boxed counterparts, which are more like a light coconut milk.
Soy Milk, Almond Milk, Cashew Milk: A dairy free type of milk is great when you're thinking about the health benefits of matcha. Unfortunately I've found that these don't bubble up as well as oat milk does.
TL;DR? Whole milk and oat milk foam up way better than the others. So you have a choice between a dairy and nondairy option, honey!
Variation: iced vanilla matcha latte
During the warm weather months, this easily turns into a refreshing iced matcha latte. Instead of heating up the milk, whisk the matcha into a little hot water or milk, then pour it into a glass filled with ice and cold milk. So easy, so good.
Green tea (and matcha, which is made of green tea leaves) is very healthy. Full of antioxidants, helps lower blood pressure, lower inflammation, all types of great benefits for your body.
Thanks to the addition of the vanilla syrup, my matte latte recipe is nice and sweet. You can control the sweetness with it.
You can swap the milk frother for an immersion blender or regular blender.
Substitute it with other sweeteners like maple syrup, a little raw honey, or agave nectar. Add a couple of drops of vanilla extract or a small amount of vanilla bean paste.
More Cozy Recipes:
- Cinnamon Ginger Tea
- Starbucks Medicine Ball Recipe
- 3 Minute Hot Chocolate
- Authentic Coquito (Coconut Eggnog)
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- 1 teaspoon premium grade matcha powder
- 12 ounces (355 mL) whole milk or non-dairy milk of choice
- ⅛ cup (30 mL) water
- ⅛ cup (25 g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
Make Vanilla Syrup
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the water and granulated sugar for the vanilla syrup. Leave it alone as it heats up and th sugar dissolves.
- Once the simple syrup comes to a simmer, turn off the heat and add the vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. Set aside to use for later.
Make Vanilla Matcha Latte
- Heat the milk in a small saucepan or in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup until it's 185 degrees F (85 degrees C).
- Pour ¼ cup (2 ounces) of the hot milk into a large latte mug, add the matcha powder and use the milk frother to whip the matcha powder into the milk until it's smooth. We don't want any lumps!
- Add ½ of the vanilla syrup to the matcha milk.
- Use the milk frother to whip up the rest of the hot milk until it is very foamy and frothy, for about 2 minutes.
- Pour the foamy milk into the mug with the matcha and vanilla syrup. Taste for sweetness and add vanilla syrup as needed.
- Serve hot!
Iced Matcha Latte
Instead of heating up the milk, whisk the matcha into a little hot water or milk, then pour it into a glass filled with ice and cold milk.
How to Make an Extra Creamy Vanilla Matcha Latte
Substitute half of the hot milk with half and half or heavy cream for an extra creamy and rich latte.
You can swap the vanilla syrup for agave nectar, maple syrup, or raw honey.
Don't do dairy? Try these non-dairy milks instead:
Oat Milk: Foams up the best out of all the non-dairy milks.
Coconut Milk: Will make your drink taste like coconut.
Almond Milk, Cashew Milk, Soy Milk. Won't froth up, but is a good choice if it's your preference.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 361Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 273mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 0gSugar: 32gProtein: 20g
All nutrition facts are estimations. Please see a physician for any health-related inquiries.
Eden Westbrook is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Sweet Tea and Thyme. A classically trained chef, Eden has inspired home cooks into the kitchen with cultural comfort foods, easy family-friendly eats and sweets, and glorious spreads for date night and entertaining since 2015.