Breaking news: matcha is not green milk.
It seems as if recently matcha, which is a traditional Japanese green tea, has really caught on in America. On campus, it’s offered at Joe’s, Peet’s, Liz’s(??), and other coffee shops. You can have it warm in a hot matcha latte, or cold in an iced matcha latte. But every single matcha latte I’ve had at this school, and yes, I would go as far as to say IN THIS COUNTRY, has tasted terrible.
I was waiting in line at Peet’s a few days ago, and because I suddenly had an ill craving for matcha–that sweet yet bitter, rich and aromatic, COMPLEX taste–I debated trying their matcha latte. I remember having a sip of it last year when a friend ordered it, raving about how good it was. Good it was not. Maybe things have changed? I had high hopes–how hard is it to make a matcha latte? Most places use pre-packaged matcha powder, and then baristas just do their magic and make it into a latte, right? WRONG. As I was having this internal debate, the girl right before me ordered a hot matcha latte. Perfect!! I ask her if she recommends the matcha lattes at Peet’s. She says that they’re reaaaallly good, the iced ones included. Great! I get to have my iced matcha latte on this hot day! I order it, wait an absurd amount of time for this so-called delicious matcha latte, and when I finally take a sip, my entire body cringes. It tasted like syrup with hot milk. Literally anyone who has ever had matcha before will drink that and tell you that whatever it is, it’s NOT matcha. Yet again, I am let down by another “matcha latte” in this country.
Imagine this: It’s 5:30 pm, I just got out of computer science office hours. I finally understand my assignment and I’m about to submit it, using only 18 of my 170 late hours. I am very proud of myself. I hadn’t eaten since lunch, and although I am not hungry, my mouth is feeling a little dry. I go to Joe’s and I browse the menu, and I see that they have a matcha latte. A matcha latte! After the abhorrent experience I had a few days ago, do I take a risk? The answer is yes, ALWAYS take risks. So I go to the counter and I order my matcha. The cashier asks me if a want a small or a large. I always feel pressured when I get asked this question because I always feel like a large is probably more worth it. I go with the large. I take my first sip and…it tastes like warm milk. If I closed my eyes and couldn’t see the green color, I would believe that I was a child drinking microwaved milk that my mom made me drink because I couldn’t go to sleep. Yes, I just spent 6 REAL AMERICAN DOLLARS on heated up milk.
These are just my experiences on campus. I have had similar experiences countless cafés in this city. I am so tired of people saying that they LOVE matcha, and then they bring me to an “AMAAAZING MATCHA PLACE”, and the drink tastes nothing like how it’s supposed to. If you are going to take something that is so traditionally Japanese and incorporated in rituals such as tea ceremonies, something that is essential to Japanese culture, and make it into another fashionable food trend, at least DO IT RIGHT. PLEASE.
what matcha actually looks like via Pexels