5 Tips for How To Make The Best Matcha Latte (dairy-free)

the best iced matcha latte (dairy-free, vegan) via Food by MarsIf you’ve ever had an amazing matcha latte before and have tried to recreate the magic at home but felt frustrated or confused… I HEAR YOU. There are quite a few variables when figuring out how to make the best matcha latte – DIY style. Through the years of being nosey and asking the matcha baristas at various matcha cafes around NYC and tinkering with my own concoctions, I have so many tips to share on how to make a matcha latte of your dreams! I also have a hot and iced matcha latte recipe down below for you that you can use as your template, after familiarizing yourself with all the factors to take into account. Keep practicing and you’ll love the ritual of making it yourself.

Green Tea vs. Matcha

My love of matcha all started after learning about the benefits and tasting it for the first time… YUM. Slightly bitter, cozy, and maybe even a little floral? This was WAY better than any bagged green tea, which always tasted like a foot in my opinion… anyone else? High-quality ceremonial grade matcha powder is a higher quality option and here’s why: 
  • Matcha is 100% green tea leaves that are ground into a fine powder, making it much more concentrated than green tea. You are consuming the entire leaf (needing less of the powder vs. a whole bag of green tea)
  • Conventional green tea goes through a much longer production process, involving the leaves drying out in the sun. It’s not as robust as matcha both in flavor and nutrients.
  • With the green tea, you steep for a few minutes and then discard, so you’re then getting even less of the nutrients vs. matcha where you are actually consuming the whole leaf.
  • Matcha bushes destined to be matcha powder are also specifically kept in more shaded areas to increase the chlorophyll (detox powers) and amino acid levels in the leaves.

More benefits of Matcha:

  • While both green tea and matcha share the same health benefits, matcha has 10 times the nutritional value of regular green tea and up to 137 times the amount of antioxidants – helping to fight free radicals!
  • Matcha also has 130 times more calcium than normal green tea.
  • Research also suggests that matcha has greater fat-burning AND cancer-preventing properties.
  • The focus, clarity, and alertness that comes with matcha are unmatched and in comparison to coffee, there is 1/4th less caffeine (all the focus, with none of the jitters).
the best iced matcha latte (dairy-free, vegan) via Food by Mars
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Plus, as we reviewed… IT’S DELICIOUS. It’s not for everyone, but I would strongly urge you to try around before settling. My love of matcha has grown more and more as I learned how to make it myself and learned what it should taste like, or at least, how I like it. It’s similar to coffee in that not all of it is created equally. There are some better quality brands/sourcing as well as kinds of milk to use… in fact for lattes, let’s be real – the milk is SUPER important because that’s most of your cup! You want the matcha powder to really shine through it and not have the taste tampered down with sugar-laden dairy-free milk. Just like everyone has preferred coffee brands and preparation, it’s important to note the same thing with matcha.

Tips for How To Make The Best Matcha Latte

  1. Use good quality, ceremonial grade matcha.

    Yes, it’s more expensive than green tea, but as you read above… there are so many reasons for that! I’m listing below some brands I’ve either tried or have been recommended by friends I trust. That all said, I’ve also been told to hit up an international market to see if they have authentic matcha from Japan on the cheaps, so that’s always an option too! (Matchaful | Matcha Love | Encha | Chalait)

  2. If you can, use HOMEMADE milk.

    I know that’s not always possible, so I’d say to at least opt for your favorite milk you’d actually drink ALONE – the taste is that important. Opt for unsweetened, so you can control the sweetness level of your latte on your own if adding any at all, plain canned coconut milk is always a good stand-by. If making a hot latte, you’ll want something that can get nice and thick and/or frothy as well… for iced, it doesn’t matter. I have 3 easy blender and no-strain milk recipes you can whip up below, but my absolute favorite right now is Almond milk made with coconut water… if you feel up for the extra bit of effort, you will be SO rewarded. My recipe for that is here.

  3. Strain and Store your matcha properly.

    When you get your matcha powder, toss a few tablespoons in a small sieve/strainer and push it through with a spoon to get out all the clumps and further prevent clumping in the future as it sits. Nobody likes to hit a big ball of bitterness in their matcha – this is key to making sure your drinks are smooth! Then store the matcha either back in the tin it came in or an airtight jar/container in a cool, dark place. If you don’t drink it often, the fridge would be fine. If you drink it daily, store it in a cool cupboard (not near your oven or fridge). Humidity tends to make for clumpier matcha powder that even the strongest whisking and blending can’t help sometimes.

  4. Ratio matters.

    Now, this depends on how strong your matcha is AND the taste you’re going for. I like it strong, so I try to figure out based on the brand I’m using what’s going to work. Here is my general template: 1 to 1.5 tsp of matcha with approx. 2 oz. hot water and 8 oz. milk. If I’m doing it iced and will add more milk or just because of the ice, I steer towards the stronger side. You can optionally skip the hot water and just blend the matcha with milk also, but I find it better pouring over the milk in my opinion, plus I love whisking it!

  5. Don’t burn the tea!

    It’s super important to not get the water too hot! To make sure you don’t do this, you can grab a tea kettle with a thermometer on it (like this one). I stay around 175f – 200f degrees for the perfect temperature and do not go over that level.

the best matcha latte (dairy-free, vegan) via Food by Mars

 

Remember that practice makes perfect, and you should try different ratios, kinds of milk, and brands if you’re unhappy with something – once you find that sweet spot, you will LOVE it! There are times I go through phases with different kinds of milk, add-ins, and of course iced vs. hot.

And if you have favorite matcha you buy at a cafe, just ask them how they make it! Ask about the brand, the ratio, milk – boom. It’s a great way to get insight into how the masters are doing it day in and day out. Usually, they’re excited to share their tips with you.

 

Best Matcha Latte Recipe (dairy-free, vegan)

how to make the best matcha latte (dairy-free, vegan, paleo) via Food by Mars

Best Matcha Latte
Prep Time
2 mins
Cook Time
3 mins
Total Time
3 mins
 

Use this recipe as your template for the BEST dairy-free matcha latte to make at home with all my tips to get it just right. 

(vegan, dairy-free, paleo)

Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: best matcha latte, dairy free matcha latte, matcha, matcha green tea, matcha latte, matcha latte recipe, matcha tea benefits, vegan matcha latte
Servings: 1
Author: Alison Marras
Ingredients
  • 1-1.5 tsp ceremonial grade matcha (previously strained, see tips above)
  • 2 oz hot water (175-200f degrees)
  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk (see homemade recipes below)
Instructions
  1. Heat milk on a low-medium flame in a small pot or butter warmer. Separately, heat water in a kettle, preferably with a temperature gauge to ensure you don't burn the water.

  2. Measure matcha powder into a wide-mouth and wide-bottom mug or bowl. Using a bamboo whisk, whisk it well (while dry) to ensure there are no large clumps.

  3. Once water is of temperature, pour approx. 2 oz. over the matcha powder slowly. Whisk vigorously to combine (I like to whisk in a "W" and "M" shape repeatedly, scraping the sides of the mug/bowl to get all the powder in). You should see bubbles and the mixture should be getting thick as you keep whisking. Let sit until milk is ready. If you are adding a sweetener like raw honey, you can do so now, I prefer it unsweetened.

  4. When milk is just coming to a simmer, use a hand-held frother or blender to thicken and get a nice froth going. Slowly pour your milk over the matcha to combine and make your latte.

  5. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Check out the recommended tools and brands to use below!

Best Iced Matcha Latte Recipe (dairy-free, vegan)

the best iced matcha latte (dairy-free, vegan) via Food by Mars

Best Iced Matcha Latte
Prep Time
2 mins
Cook Time
2 mins
Total Time
4 mins
 

Using similar techniques to a traditional hot matcha latte, here's how you can make a delicious iced matcha latte! 

(dairy-free, vegan, paleo)

Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: dairy-free iced matcha latte, iced matcha, iced matcha green tea, iced matcha latte, iced matcha latte recipe, vegan iced matcha latte
Author: Alison Marras
Ingredients
  • 1.5 tsp ceremonial grade matcha (previously strained, see tips above)
  • 2 oz. hot water (175-200f degrees)
  • 1-1.5 cups dairy-free milk (see homemade recipes below)
  • handful ice
Instructions
  1. Measure out matcha powder into a large mug or small bowl and using a bamboo whisk, dry whisk the powder to break up any clumps. Meanwhile, heat water to 175-200f degrees. (not quite boiling)

  2. When water is ready, pour slowly over the matcha and whisk vigorously until all clumps are gone and the mixture is getting thick. Let sit, if adding sweetener, you can do so now and mix.

  3. Separately, add ice to a large glass and pour milk over, leaving room for your matcha to be poured over the milk.

  4. Pour matcha over milk and stir with a straw to combine. Serve and enjoy!

Alternative Preparation (quicker)
  1. Strapped for time? You can skip the hot water step and simply blend your matcha powder with milk in a blender (or a blender bottle you'd add your smoothie to), pouring it all over ice! 

Recipe Notes

See tips above and recommended tools/brands to try below.


Recommended Tools, Sets, and Brands


how to make the best matcha latte (dairy-free, vegan, paleo) via Food by Mars

3 No-strain Blender Milks

  1. Coconut Milk – simply use canned coconut milk and mix with a cup of filtered water, blend well, store in the fridge and use within 5 days.
  2. Hemp Milk – mix 1/3 cup hemp seeds and 2 cups of filtered water in a blender on high speed, add cinnamon and vanilla if you wish! store in the fridge and use within a few days.
  3. Cashew Milk – soak 1 cup raw cashews for at least 4 hours or overnight in water, drain and rinse well, mix in a high-speed blender with 3-4 cups filtered water (3 cups for creamier milk). Store in the fridge and use within 5 days.

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Hope you enjoy!
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Use #foodbymars to tag your FBM inspired creations! I’d love to see!

**Alison

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