Happy 2014 everyone!
This year is going to be wonderful; I just know it!
I'm easing into it gently. 2013 was quite a big year, involving lots of packing & unpacking, and moving, and visiting and traveling. We just returned from our Christmas trip to visit T's family in the Okanagan. It was lovely, and restful, and peaceful. But it was still travel, and there were LOTS of late nights...so we're just getting back into the swing of things over here, trying to get to bed earlier and finding our routine.
Sometimes in these situations, a warm drink helps.
Yah okay, you're right, they always help!
This warm drink will pep you up, make you feel good because you're drinking something green (even though there's no kale in it), and it's warm and comforting. I'm not saying it'll take the place of a real latte, because good espresso is a whole thing of it's own that nothing could ever replace (if it ain't broke, don't fix it).
But if you want to try something new, I'm totally diggin' these Matcha Lattes (which may or may not be because I have a new stash of good matcha from Japan - thanks pops!).
And before we begin, I have a confession: I'm a green tea snob. Secret's out. Call me whatever you like, but after living in Japan and tasting how green tea SHOULD taste...I realized just how bad it is over here. And yes, I am going to be that general. I have yet to taste a cup of any kind of green tea that even comes close to being as good as the stuff in Japan. And trust me, I've ordered it at plenty of places, ranging from tea focused shops to cafes. Since returning home from Japan, I've been telling everyone that... IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY! (picture me saying that in a really loud and slow-mo kind of voice, because that's how serious I am about it).
Here are the tips I've been telling everyone about:
How to make Green Tea taste good!
- The temperature of the water you use to make the tea is VERY VERY important. As in, it has the power to make your matcha have a really nasty bitter flavour, or turn it into the most delicious sweet tasting drink. There are different temperatures for different kinds of green teas...but generally, you never ever want to use boiling water.
*Sencha (most common green tea leaves): high grade sencha will taste the best around 70C, and regular sencha should be fine around 80C (and even 90 will be much better than straight boiling)
*Matcha: 70-80 C
- If you're making sencha...the tea you drink should be very very light in colour. Not dark yellow. Not brownish-yellow. What I'm saying is this: they most often do NOT STEEP their sencha. In Japan, they actually run hot water over & through the tea leaves (never letting it just sit there), straight into their tea cup. So the tea they drink is very very mild and sweet and light in colour & taste. You can then re-use those leaves and run water through them again, multiple times, getting great tasting tea.
Now let's get down to business, for the first Macro Monday of the year!
I enjoy Matcha in all it's forms, but sometimes a latte is just the nicest.
Macro Monday: Matcha Latte
- 1 cup milk of choice
- 1/4 - 1 tsp high quality matcha powder (I like it strong, so I use 1 tsp, but work your way up if this is new for you, starting with 1/4 tsp...it's pretty potent!)
- 3 TBSP - 1/4 cup hot water -- not boiling (around 80C if possible)
- liquid sweetener of choice, if desired
- A small-medium bowl you love
- *A matcha whisk will greatly improve the process
- Find a pretty bowl that is large enough for you to freely whisk up the matcha.
- Bring a small amount of water to boil. Pour about 1/4 cup into a separate mug, and let it sit until cooled down. Alternatively, if you're rushed for time, you could add cool water to the boiled water until the temperature reaches about 70-80C.
- Heat up 1 cup of milk, either in a saucepan on low-medium, stirring frequently, or in the microwave. Don't boil it. If you like foam, use a whisk or milk frother and froth up.
- Pour a bit of remaining boiling water into your bowl, and roll it around, so it covers the sides, dip the matcha whisk in it. Then dump the water out. This step warms up the bowl, and gets the whisk ready.
- Measure out your 1 tsp matcha powder, and put it into the bowl.
- Gently, with love, pour in your 1/4 cup 70-80C water, and using a matcha whisk, move the whisk in a circle around the edges to get all the powder, and then back and forth from left to right, moving from one end of the bowl to the other, in short movements, to froth up the matcha.
- Using a spoon to hold back the foam, pour the almond milk into the bowl. Stir in sweetener if using any. Scoop out the foam after, and put on top.
- Using both your hands cradle the bowl, smell the wonderful tea, and close your eyes while sipping it's deliciousness.
A few more tips:
- Here's a great link about matcha, including the temperature, different ways to whisk it, etc.
- To clean your match whisk, add some hot water to a cup or bowl, and whisk away, then rinse it off.
- There is a vast vast VAST difference in quality of matcha...I hate to say it, but generally the more expensive, the better it is.
- Keep matcha in an airtight container...and in the fridge. Fresh matcha actually smells sweet.
Okay, that about does it.
Happy Monday. Enjoy whatever warm beverage it is you're currently cradling, and have a wonderful week!