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?

Continue reading

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 🙂

Continue reading

Gifts from the land of Matcha

IMG_0659So what do you do when you have a sister-in-law that is studying Japanese in Sendai?

Ask to send over matcha goodies of course! 🙂

Very cool to receive a package from Japan! Must save the stamp. Also a slight feeling of decadence knowing a jet carried some sweets across half the globe for my enjoyment. Last but not least: why the hell did it take a month to arrive at my place?? Something I should look into further…

Enough of my ramblings. What did we get from MatchaClaus?

IMG_0663

Seeing as this blog is about  matcha, I will not spend too much time on the blue bag.  It contains big tea pouches and its used to make bottles of the stuff for every day consumption together with meals and what not. Although a bit smelly and coffee like (yikes), it is nice! But it is not matcha 😈

Over to the one on the right! Also known as the one that got devoured in 10 minutes. We’re talking about separately wrapped, matcha cream filled chocolates that are very hard to withstand.  They are produced by Kabaya.

combined

As a Belgian guy, I have access to the worlds best chocolate, but the critical me has to admit that the taste of this particular choclate was a bit bland. Although I enjoyed these treats and will gladly eat them again, I think I will be on the lookout for (better) alternatives.

Last but not least the matcha milk powder by Tsujiri! Tsujiri is one of the most famous green tea houses located in Kyoto, more specific the Uji area.

IMG_0654

The bag contains a combination of matcha & milk powder (and ofcourse lots of Sugar – something I hope to find alternatives for) which you can use with cold or hot water to produce a matcha milk drink. I for one have been experimenting with real milk or soy milk and like it like that also.

Although it was a long time since I tried some alternatives (matcha stick, nestle matcha latte, …) I think it is one of the best choices out there. To be sure though, I will be ordering them said alternatives pretty soon to write about it. Together with Kit Kat Matcha, Meiji biscuits, … and a lot more 🙂

Stay tuned! And share if you care!