Matcha Latte Battle Royale

No better excuse for preparing a warm beverage than the cold and drizzling days brought by fall.  One could go for the traditional cup of coffee, or a Hot Chocolate maybe. But I have another idea that might catch your attention 😉

Yes it is time to get yourselves acquainted with a really good alternative: the Matcha Latte! And by good I mean better. Far better.

Because something magical happens when you combine  Matcha and Milk!

You won’t be surprised then that  I stocked up for an entire year of the just-add–water Matcha Latte powders during my visit to Japan in may, allowing me  to give  some guidance in the different brands that bring Matcha Latte to the masses. I will compare them based on a couple of parameters  and wrap up by disclosing my favorite one, so you will know which one to buy! 🙂

The contestants
Matcha Latte Products

From left to right we have:

  • Matcha Milk powder by ItoEn, a Japanese Multinational specializing in Tea production. I drank a lot of their ready-in-a-bottle Green Tea with no added sugars like this one here. Something very obvious in Japan, but a lot harder to get in Belgium…
  • The little box is in  fact pure matcha powder from Kyoto by Marukyu Koyamaen. This way I can show you what undiluted matcha powder looks like in comparison
  • Blendy Stick must be one of the most popular Japanese brands specialised in all sorts of powdered drinks. No way they could miss out on the Matcha flavour!
  • GreenMax Matcha Milk is the odd duck in the lot. It’s a Taiwanese product that I added so we can compare this “foreign” product with the quality we get from the Japanese ones
  • Nestlé, known mostly from their Kit-Kats, also has a stick based Matcha Latte offering
  • Last, but certainly not least, we have Matcha Milk powder brought to us by Kataoka, another big tea name that distributes western teas like Twinnings in Japan. They have Matcha Milk powder with Matcha from the famous Tsujiri tea house. Is it worthy of using that name?

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Hello Kitty Matcha Chocolates

After konnichiwa and sayonara, kawaii must be one of the first Japanese words anyone gets to learn. “Cute”ness is very important in Japan. It is to be found everywhere from characters in animation series and mascots in commercials to the way girls dress up, resulting in an abundance of Lolita like characters all over the place.

No wonder that “Hello Kitty” stemmed from Japanese minds as well. This cute girl (yes she seems to be a girl after all!) has taken the world by storm. For those of you who have missed her somehow, this is she:

Hello Kitty was invented by Sanrio, who made it into a really succesful merchandise. You can even find Hello Kitty themed restaurants like this one in Kyoto for example:

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Uji Matcha Pudding

There are some tricks to find the better quality Matcha products. One way for example is to look for the word “Uji“, which is in fact an area in Kyoto that became very famous for providing the best and highest quality Matcha ever since the middle ages.

So as soon as you see the term Uji, it’s the marketeers trying to convince you you’re looking at a superior Matcha product, like this one here:

Uji Matcha Pudding

Fancy right? I picked up this Matcha pudding  treat in Kyoto, more specifically the busy shopping streets next to the Kiyomizu-dera temple. Probably the best place in the world to satisfy your Matcha cravings.

One of the downsides with good quality items is of course the limited shelf life, imposed by the use of fresh eggs for example.  Luckily I saw in time  that this one was going to turn bad really soon, so yesterday me and my girlfriend decided to get to the proof of the (Matcha) pudding! Which we were happy to oblige is in the  eating 🙂

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