Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Vanilla Bean Matcha Latte


Some of you may recall my spring overture in the last post.

You know, the one where I talk about the signs of spring fluttering all around us. Visions of daffodil greens and tulip heads pushing ground...

Yeah.

Well, let me just share with you a view from our home window taken that same day at twilight - about 8 hours after publishing said love note to spring:



Yup, I did get a big belly laugh.  20 or more centimeters of snow fell that day (about 8 inches for my American friends) and the only thing sprouting these days is white. But how cool is that cyclist? (always something to be inspired by).

And, I'm not deterred.

Nope. 

I'm back this week with another spring ditty for you.  Today, I'm featuring one of my favourite afternoon beverages: vanilla bean matcha latte.

If you've not yet tried the heavenly combination of vanilla and green tea, I invite you to do so.  And there are plenty of reasons why you will want to make this drink a regular part of your rotation beyond it's wonderful taste.



Why Matcha?


Matcha tea is made from green tea leaves that have been finely milled into a silky, radiant green powder. When you drink matcha you are benefiting from the entire green tea leaf, not just the brewed water from the leaf. Matcha is considered amongst the highest quality green teas with one of most concentrated antioxidant contents.  

Why Green Tea?

Numerous studies suggest that drinking green tea may provide broad-spectrum health benefits including: boosting metabolism (assisting with fat burning), lowering the risk of cancer (especially breast, prostate, endometrial and ovarian cancers), reducing the severity of arthritis, alleviating symptoms of depression and protecting the liver from toxins.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also revealed that drinking green tea may help reduce LDL (harmful) cholesterol levels. According to the study, antioxidants known as catechins - found in high concentrations in green tea - may inhibit the absorption of cholesterol from the intestinal tract and interfere with cholesterol synthesis in the liver. Earlier research also credited green tea catechins to reduced inflammation in blood vessels and inhibiting blood clots. 

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Vanilla Bean Matcha Latte

  • 2 tsp matcha powder
  • 1 vanilla bean cut in half, substitute 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 10 or so fluid ounces of water
  • 6 or so fluid ounces of milk of choice (almond, hemp, coconut, soy, dairy...)
  • 1/2 tsp of honey or pure maple syrup, as desired

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Notes:

I like to use 1 tsp of matcha powder per 4-6 ounces of water.  Matcha does have a strong taste but I find it very pleasant and grassy.  If you are new to matcha, you may wish to begin with a smaller amount or add more water to suit your taste until you habituate.

How you drink matcha is a very personal thing.  Some matcha drinkers have a strong preference for drinking the beverage straight up - no milk, no cream, no sweeteners, no funny business.  My husband likens this hard-core approach to 'mud' and prefers a touch of cream and honey to take the edge off.

This recipe rests somewhere in between.  A solid amount of matcha is used with some delicious, frothy milk and just a touch of sweet.  The vanilla comes through nicely but complements rather than distracts from the green tea.  A beautiful symphony of flavours.


Directions:

Makes one 14 fluid ounce latte.

Bring 10 ounces of water to boil (ideally, just before the boiling point).

Cut vanilla bean in half and place the two pieces in a small dish.  When water has boiled (or nearly boiled) pour just enough water over the vanilla pieces to cover them.  This will soften the bean and make extraction of the black paste (seeds) easier.

Place the 2 teaspoons of matcha powder in a latte bowl or mug and add 8 ounces of boiling water.  Using a matcha whisk pictured above (or an ordinary whisk if you do not have) whisk to integrate powder and water.

Carefully remove vanilla bean pieces from dish.  Using a dull knife, run the blade along the pod to release the tiny black vanilla seeds (like a paste) from the open end of the bean and add this paste to the tea, mixing to combine with whisk. Add a touch of honey or maple syrup, if desired, and stir to combine.

Meanwhile, using a milk frother, froth about 6 fluid ounces of milk.  Transfer frothed milk to a microwave safe jar (the jar should be big enough to hold 16 fluid ounces) and heat for approximately 35 seconds or until frothed milk rises to about double its size (a thing of beauty).  Carefully remove jar from microwave and pour warmed frothed milk over matcha green tea.

No matter how well you mix your matcha, you may find that some of it inevitably sinks to the bottom of the glass.  I like to use a spoon while I drink my matcha to give it an occasional stir and make sure I'm benefiting from all those wonderful antioxidants!

Having said that, I have happily discovered that using an actual matcha whisk (thank you DAVIDs TEA) is wonderfully helpful in improving the integration of the matcha powder.  

Cheers to your health (and to spring - whenever it happens!)


22 comments:

  1. It's incredible, but I have already made two matcha desserts this week! I have made one this morning too and I think that it betrays my longing for spring, green leaves, fresh colours, sun... Your matcha latte looks gorgeous and even though I don't drink latte (I don't like milk), I would love to have a sip of this beautiful beverage and its fluffy mousse.
    Vanilla and matcha sounds like a work of a genius! I would have never dared it, but now it gives me some ideas... Thank you for the inspiration!

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  2. A matcha whisk? I never even knew something like that existed. Kelly I love your refreshing matcha vanilla latte, in fact I am a huge latte fan! I bet this is a drink many house wifes would love when they meet up for a coffee in europe. Latte has become one of those trend drinks in the last 10 years in central europe. However I realized that they didn't pick up in Goa (even though goa is a melting pot and new trends always emerge in restaurants). I ll happily try out your recipe thank you for sharing!

    btw hold on to it, spring will come, that's certain! ;)

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  3. o my that's definitely still the deep winter for me..today we have really amazing spring weather...but the winter will come back next week :-(
    The matcha latte looks beautiful and I am sure it's tasty.

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  4. Confession: when you posted about that Spring and all the signs of birds and budding flowers, I pouted. For a while. I looked outside the window and said to myself it was pretty unfair to be so many hundreds of miles south of you, and faced with all that snow piled up and NO signs of spring.. Oh, well - I guess you are not quite there yet, right? ;-)

    It will come, let's be patient. Meanwhile, I am going to make this as I have all ingredients. and I am longing for green

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  5. I love matcha. This looks pretty strong and in a good way!

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  6. Goodness, your pooch's tush must be cold in that last pic. She looks so content to sit out in the snow though...obviously not deterred by the lack of signs that spring is coming!

    I've recently become addicted to Chai Lattes, and I think Matcha Lattes are the next logical step :) I'll have to get myself some matcha powder! Your photos have such vibrant colors!

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  7. Is this similar to Starbucks' Green Tea Frappucino? I love that, but obviously not the calories. I have the special Matcha powder in small tins so I guess that is what you are using. It can be very expensive.

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  8. Hi Lynda! Thanks for dropping in. I believe Starbucks green tea frappuccino is sweetened and typically served with a generous topping of whipped cream - although the specific nutrition information does not appear to be available on-line (there will be some variance depending on size and the type of milk/cream you order), you are probably looking upwards of 360-400 calories for a small/tall serving (ouch!) not to mention the sugar load. I sometimes order a tall matcha latte at Starbucks (with frothed milk) and specify 'unsweetened' - it's not bad but I prefer my own home concoction. Yes, I buy matcha (typically from Davids Tea) and store it in a tin. It is quite expensive but I only use it in small increments so it does last a long time. When I compare it to other things I could be spending my money on, I view it as a wise investment ;0) - cheers Lynda! I hope you enjoy the recipe if you give it a try.

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  9. Emilie@TheCleverCarrotMarch 5, 2013 at 4:39 PM

    Wow! Look at that snow... I feel like whenever spring is right around the corner, we always get clobbered with more snow. In fact, we're supposed to get another storm this weekend :( So much for those daffodils...
    Your latte looks divine. It's the perfect drink to enjoy during this in between weather (or anytime for that matter). I love the combination of vanilla & matcha together. I'd love to cozy up with one right now. Thanks Kelly for a lovely recipe! I'm always excited to see what you'll do next ;) xx

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  10. Kelly, that biker is just cracking me up...you would never see anyone doing that here in Raincouver!! Haha!

    This looks like such a yummy drink. Matcha is such a beautiful brilliant green (St. Patricks today the healthy way, anyone? I'd rather have this than green beer.....)

    Your doggie is so cute! I think he's waiting for Spring, too!

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  11. It seems we had the same winter storm! Yes.. I've been trying to lure spring into appearing with flower photos, but I've had no luck! Here's to hoping your lovely drink will bring spring to all of us:) xx

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  12. Haha, isn't the biker the cool-est? ;o) - love.

    I agree, my golden girl is waiting for the thaw like me (although, in truth she adores the snow and the cooler temperatures probably work better for her - so, err, it's really me willing her towards spring! :-)

    Hugs to you KoKo - you always bring a smile to my face!

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  13. Hi Emilie! I know what you mean, just when you're about to start planting seeds you get buried in snow. We won't be pushing green for a while around here... oh well, gives us something to look forward to! Cheers to you my dear have a radiant day!

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  14. Hi Sissi, I like the mousse too ;o).

    When you say you don't like milk do you mean cow's milk? Maybe hemp, almond or coconut milk might work better. So yummy!

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  15. My new matcha whisk works amazingly well - I hesitated for a long time (I tend to view these things skeptically, thinking it may just be expensive gimmickry) but actually it does a much better job of mixing the matcha than any other implement I have on hand. So, well worth it for a regular matcha drinker! Thanks for stopping by Helene ;0).

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  16. Holy crow, that's a lot of snow. I surely don't envy you. The puppy sure looks like he's enjoying it! I am not a huge fan of Matcha, I've seen it around a lot, but I find it just too green tasting. I know the benefits, I just can't get over that green taste. It is quite a beautiful colour though. We're expecting double digit temperatures on the weekend, maybe spring IS coming!

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  17. This is beautiful. I was looking forward to this post when you mentioned about matcha. I can drink this everyday (but I've been too cheap to use my matcha. Haha). I am going to enjoy tomorrow morning! (I usually cannot sleep if I take caffeine after 4pm). :) Thank you very much for the recipe!

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  18. Weather is crazy! I always find that March and April are the most unstable month of the year - down here anyway. Well - the snow is beautiful, but please keep it up there. :) Matcha - I have a can of it in the pantry and it's just sitting there waiting for the inspiration of this post! I've obviously been doing it wrong - I added the match to the milk instead of water to the matcha. Thanks for teaching me how to do it right! I know what I'm having for my wake up tea in the morning.

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  19. I love the vanilla that's in this latte. Vanilla just makes everything decadent for me. Oh how I've missed your blog :). Love this

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  20. Gorgeous drink Kelly. I love the color. I have to admit I don't have a ton of experience with macha...but I think I am the kind that needs some milk and honey! I drink my coffee black so I know eventually I could get there...I just need to start off easy. Thanks for the recipe that takes the "edge" off. :)

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  21. I mean cow's milk. I have hated it even as a child, but of course I don't mind it in desserts.
    On the other hand, I have never liked a lot of milk in my coffee (it's rather black or macchiato ;-) ).
    You are right: here almond milk would be a pure delight!

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Thank you for your feedback - it's wonderful to hear from you!