When most people think of a latte, they think of an enjoyable morning beverage that will help them get started in the morning.
After all, most traditional lattes contain a shot or two of espresso in them. In fact, that espresso is one of the only two ingredients that can be found in a typical latte.
Lattes are rather interesting drinks, consisting of only two ingredients, but are beloved throughout the world by people who love coffee and people who love the effects of caffeine.
However, as more and more people are taking an interest in coffees, cafes, and combining as many different combinations as they can to create strange drinks, more people are beginning to change what the latte really is.
At its core, the latte is simply espresso and steamed milk. The steamed milk helps to take some of the bitterness out of a latte and it gives the drink an enjoyable flavor and feeling in the mouth. There isn’t that much that you can change about it, right?
While this might be true, people have been finding ways to introduce teas into lattes to create calming variants of the drinks that they know and love.
One good example of this is the chai latte, often referred to as a “chai tea latte” by places that want to make it clear that the latte is only tea and milk, even if both “chai” and “tea” mean the same thing.
Chai lattes have been becoming a popular variant on the standard latte for a while, being caffeine-free lattes that one can enjoy when relaxing before bed.
With all of this being said, there is another tea-based latte that is becoming more popular than you might expect, and this variant on the latte has just about as much caffeine as a cup of coffee would, meaning that you can easily get your wake-up drink from this type of latte.
This latte is known as the matcha latte, and as the name would suggest, the replacement for espresso in this latte is going to be matcha tea.
What Is the Matcha Latte?
Traditionally, the matcha latte is not going to have any coffee in it. Rather than having espresso in it like your standard latte would, that espresso is replaced with matcha tea.
More specifically, it is made with matcha powder, which are finely ground matcha tea leaves and some water. The matcha powder is a more concentrated form of matcha tea and can help to have the same effects as coffee.
Matcha lattes rely on the unique flavor profile of matcha and the comfortable creaminess of milk to create a drink that you would be more than happy to enjoy in the mornings.
Typically, they have enough caffeine to replace one cup of coffee, putting them in between having an espresso in the morning and having nothing to drink in the morning.
In some cafes, the baristas will use a more concentrated matcha paste instead of a powder to create a caffeine content that closely mirrors that of an espresso, but this is not widespread practice.
To make a matcha latte, you will usually take a few spoonfuls of the matcha powder, the exact amount depending on how much of a matcha flavor you want in your drink, and add it to some water to create a matcha paste.
The standard steamed milk is then added to the pasty water and matcha combination, offering the chance to create some art with the milk.
In some cases, the drink will be almost entirely unsweetened aside from the milk, although this is a very acquired taste that not everyone will be fond of. Other times, you will add some sugar to the drink to bring it up to where you want in terms of sweetness.
Some people prefer to add honey or syrup to the tea to add a more natural or a smoother sweetness to it, but this is completely up to preference.
When all is said and done at the end of the day, the ingredients of a matcha latte remain quite similar to that of a standard latte, but this is only because standard lattes have two ingredients.
The steamed milk, part of what makes a latte memorable as a latte, is kept while the standard espresso is switched out for matcha, which can actually have the same content of caffeine as some espressos do.
If the caffeine content is the same, is there a reason aside from flavor preference why people might opt to get a matcha latte than a standard one? The truth is that this has long since been a debate between tea and coffee communities.
Matcha has a lot of benefits to it that heavily outweigh coffee, even if its bright green color is somewhat off-putting.
Coffee Versus Matcha
The biggest argument toward matcha over getting the espresso in the latte is that many people argue that matcha has a better caffeine “high” to it than espresso (and all other coffee) does.
In addition to being a better sensation, it only takes a quarter the amount of caffeine to reach the same level of alertness as it would with coffees, nor are there any crashes that come with it.
People describe the caffeine high of matcha tea as a gentle one, meaning that it comes on very gently and will pass on the same way.
It will not lead to hunger cravings or any strange sensations in the body the same way that coffee’s caffeine will, and what’s more important for diabetics is that matcha doesn’t lead to a glucose spike.
The science of this comes from the fact that caffeine that is naturally found in matcha tea binds very well to the nutrients that are also commonly found in matcha. The main culprit of this is L-theanine, which you may have heard of as it comes in a number of supplements to aid with sleep and focus.
L-theanine, combined with caffeine, helps to slow the body’s absorption of the caffeine, meaning that the amount of caffeine found in matcha will last closer to three hours, although there are a fair few people who report it lasting for longer.
Matcha has also been found to be more nutritious than coffee is. Of course, there aren’t going to be the same type of nutrients in matcha as there are in dark, leafy greens, but the amount is especially notable when compared to other teas (and more notably, coffee).
Matcha mainly has antioxidants in it, including catechins, flavonoids, polyphenols, and epigallocatechin gallate.
All of these antioxidants have been shown to be very beneficial on the body in just about every aspect. This ranges from standard health benefits you would get from ingesting nutrients to therapeutic applications, to treatment disorders, and even helping you reduce the risk of cancer.
There is no reason why you shouldn’t want to have more antioxidants in your diet, and having a matcha latte is a great place to start.
When all is said and done, matcha latte and standard lattes are nearly identical in effect. They will both give you the caffeine that you need, and they will both taste wonderful with the steamed milk in them.
However, matcha lattes will offer better nutrients and the quality of the caffeine rush is going to be better for you. Even if there is no coffee in a matcha latte, you might feel as if there were when you first take a sip of one.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard.