Matcha milk tea is a delightful beverage that we can't get enough of - it's sweet, rich, and earthy. Not to mention the tiny yet moreish boba pearls.
In this article, we will answer every question that you might have about this popular drink. We cover everything from what it tastes like to how to make it in your own home. We don't want to brag, but we spent quite a while perfecting it.
To master this drink, keep on reading.
What is it?
Matcha milk tea is a refreshing drink made from Japanese green tea powder, hot water, and milk. You can also add a sweetener like honey if you prefer it sweeter.
Tapioca pearls can be added to this drink and add a chewy texture. Therefore, leading to a drink that's quite unlike a basic matcha drink. It's cool, creamy, and deliciously sweet.
Matcha milk tea tastes sweet, earthy and rich. Thanks to the unique combination of matcha powder, creamer, and sweetener, it has a fantastic taste profile.
Our drink has the creaminess of milk and the sweetness of sugar, honey, or syrup. Most importantly, though, it will have the earthy richness of high-quality Japanese green tea powder.
The final taste is similar to boba milk tea but more earthy.
A serving of matcha milk tea will have about 280 calories in it. Most of the calories come from the sweetener you use. Many boba stores tend to opt for honey or maple syrup, which are very dense.
Of course, this calorie figure will go up or down a little, depending upon what ingredients you use. For example, plant-based milk will typically be less calorific than full-fat dairy milk.
Matcha milk tea benefits mostly come from the rich green tea in the drink. It is high in anti-oxidants, as well as boosting brain function and helping you to lose weight. Another great treat to try is green tea tempura ice cream.
You can serve matcha milk tea in three ways: iced, latte, and bubble tea.
Iced matcha boba is a relatively simple affair. Traditionally, you prepare Japanese matcha as a hot drink. Then, you pour the drink over ice or cooled somehow.
You can also make the base quite strong and then top with cold milk, which would make for an iced version of milk tea. This contrasts with the simpler iced green tea - which wouldn't usually contain milk. You can usually find this drink served in modern boba stores such as Gong Cha, which allow for a lot of personalisation.
A matcha latte is a delicious treat indeed - this is adored the world over. First, matcha is traditionally prepared in a small bowl using a bamboo whisk. The base drink is typically made to be quite strong. This is because you'll be adding a lot of other liquid to it soon.
Next, steam the milk as it would be for a latte. Once ready, you then pour the milk onto the hot base drink. The resulting drink is served hot and referred to as a matcha latte.
Ecoaisle on Youtube made an excellent video on preparing this latte version at home. With just a hand frother, you can recreate this drink at home in 5 minutes!
Finally, bubble tea is the final permutation of the matcha milk tea drink. Bubble tea is prepared by making the drink mixture up. Typically this is with some flavouring powders and liquids and then shaking it quite violently. The shaking will result in tiny bubbles forming throughout the drink.
A typical version of this that we love is Hokkaido bubble tea. Boba is often added to bubble tea. They are small tapioca spheres that are typically sweet and soft, creating a unique mouthfeel for the drinking experience.
Matcha milk tea ingredients generally aren't hard to come by. So, without further ado, let's break it down.
Matcha Green Tea
First of all, you'll need Japanese green tea powder and hot water to make the base drink itself. You can find matcha powder in supermarkets. However, if you're looking for high-quality stuff, head to a specialist tea store.
To create the rest of the drink, you'll need quite a few things.
Tapioca boba pearls
First of all, you'll need to decide whether you want some tapioca pearls in your drink or not. This ingredient is optional, but these days boba pearls are so popular to include with your iced green tea drink.
While you can make these yourself, it's often easier to buy them yourself. Then, you can add them to your drinks however much you might like. Also, we'd recommend getting some that do not need to be cooked before use. Those instant boba pearls will help reduce a lot of prep time!
You'll also need one to two tablespoons of liquid sweetener. Generally, people use honey, as it has a unique flavour that pairs well with matcha milk tea. If you're not a fan, though, you could use maple syrup, which has a delightful and distinct flavour. Also, it's much easier to handle!
As a final note on honey - it's worth spending a little more money on some artisanal stuff. Spending a little more will allow you to get 100% pure honey. You will find the pure ones have a robust fruit flavour and typically crystallises in the jar a little. Cheaper honey can be mostly sugar syrup, which pads out a small proportion of actual honey.
You'll also need to use some milk. Dairy is typical in some spots, but plant-based milk has become more popular in recent years.
Try going for some plant milk, where the flavour will complement the taste of the other things in the drink. For example, we'd recommend soy milk for a nutty, creamy flavour that is irresistable, especially when used for making matcha milk tea.
Finally, you'll need some ice. The ice is used for serving, so we'd recommend seeking out a fancy ice cube tray. The appearance will indeed boost your drink out of this world! You could create ice shaped like animals, for example - how sweet!
We ran through a couple of substitutes above, though there's one big one that offers a lot of room for personalisation - the sweetener.
We would suggest spending a little time making an interesting syrup for your milk tea drinks. It's easy to make a syrup - here's a quick guide.
How to make your own personalised syrup
- Dissolve equal parts of sugar and hot water. Do this over low heat with a small whisk, and you’ll have syrup in no time.
- While it’s still hot, infuse the syrup with any flavours that you might prefer. You can do this by chopping or grating the ingredient into extremely small pieces. Then, allow those pieces to sit in the syrup for roughly half an hour.
- After that point, strain any solid pieces out, and you’ll have perfect syrup!
You can add that flavoured syrup to your matcha milk tea recipe at the point where we'll recommend adding honey. The personalised syrup will bring sweetness to your drink, as well as the unique flavour that you've picked out for your syrup.
We'd recommend pairing the green tea drink with ginger. Ginger is a good flavour pairing, as well as being a great thing to make syrup from!
Using matcha milk tea powder
Using a pre-made mix of matcha milk tea powder has benefits and disadvantages. Let's break them down a little.
The main benefit of using powder is that it's convenient. First, you only need to mix the powder with water. Then, you'll be able to easily and quickly create the liquid content of the drink. You'll need to add milk, though, which can be another inconvenient step.
The downside of using some wholly pre-mixed powder is that you'll lose out on some flavour. High-quality green tea powder is a beautiful thing - it can be delightfully flavoursome and fresh. However, you'll lose a number of the flavours by using a poor imitation, so that's something worth considering.
Using matcha powder
Using matcha powder is a great way to make matcha milk tea, but there are some disadvantages. Let's quickly run through the good and the bad of using matcha powder in this situation.
The upside of using powder is that it tastes brilliant. High-quality matcha powder has an utterly unreplicable flavour. As a result, it can be genuinely remarkable when prepared, as in our recipe below.
The primary downside of using Japanese green tea powder is it is pretty costly, especially compared to cheaper mixes. In addition, the powder is quite tricky to make en masse, which means that it can be expensive to buy.
The other disadvantage of using powder is transporting it. As well as taking the powder itself around, you'll need to move assorted bits of tea-making paraphernalia around. Some of them include a matcha whisk and bowl. If you only want to make one or two cups of the beverage per day, then it's not worth the hassle.
Using tea bags
Using matcha tea bags is a great way to brew matcha which, in turn, can be used to make matcha milk tea with tea bags. However, it's worth bearing in mind that the drink isn't authentic as the flavour will be less intense.
If you don't mind making something that's a little adjacent to authentic matcha, then using tea bags can certainly be helpful - it's so convenient! An airtight container packed with tea bags would be ideal for transporting easily or storing in a locker or a desk drawer.
How to make matcha milk tea
Making matcha milk tea couldn't be simpler. But, first, you have to prepare your ingredients separately and then combine them.
First, brew your tea and allow it to cool. After cooling, add it to a glass, followed by ice and milk and, finally, matcha tea.
Many people particularly enjoy making their tea with boba - the sweet pearls are a great accompaniment to the simple, earthy flavour of the matcha.
Follow the instructions above to make it with boba, but add prepared and sweetened boba pearls to your glass before any other ingredients.
To make your matcha milk tea successfully, you need to watch out for a few things about the tea brewing process. Firstly, make sure that your water is at about 80˚C, which it will be if boiled and then left for a few moments.
After combining your tea and hot water, use a matcha chasen whisk to whip the mixture to a froth. We recommend whisking in a 'w' shape in the bowl, as this is the best way to ensure maximum bubbles as quickly as possible.
Finally, we'd suggest that if you are adding boba that you have cooked, add them to the drink as quickly as possible. If you leave the pearls to cook for too long, they will become hard. Hence, this will cause a profoundly unpleasant taste in the final drink.
Matcha Milk Tea Recipe
- 1 teaspoon matcha green tea powder
- ¼ cup hot water
- 1-2 tablespoons honey or sweetener of choice
- 1 cup milk of choice
- 1 cup ice
- Prepare the tea, first of all. In a small bowl, whisk the matcha powder with hot water until a froth forms - this should take about a minute. Set this mixture aside to cool down.
- Now, we must assemble the drink. Start by adding your sweetener of choice to the glasses. Then, follow that with ice and your milk of choice. Finish with the matcha tea to create a beautifully layered matcha milk tea drink. Stir a few times to incorporate the sweetener, and then serve straight away.
Calories have been calculated using an online calculator. Nutritional information offered on Honest Food Talks is for general information purposes and are only rough estimations.
Windflower Bakery on Youtube made a short video recipe on creating this marvellous drink at home. We recommend you check her recipe, too for visual reference.
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