How to Serve Matcha Latte at a Café
It has been a while since matcha started dominating pop culture. Clearly, it has maintained its peak position there. It remains a favorite among many, as evidenced by the number of its features on social media. On Instagram alone, posts with #matcha are now more than seven million, and most of them show pictures of beautifully-staged matcha drinks served at cafés. If you own such an establishment, you’d certainly be remiss if your store didn’t offer anything matcha-oriented.
A Little Background on Matcha
Most people know that “matcha” is the name of green tea from Japan and that it has a pleasantly complex flavor that combines a sweet and vegetal element with some bitterness and umami, a somewhat savory taste responsible for matcha’s irresistible uniqueness.
Its name and origins are actually Chinese, although it’s primarily associated with Japan. “Matcha” is a combination of “ma” (to wipe or rub in Chinese) and “cha” (tea in both Chinese and Japanese). Matcha is traditionally used in Japanese tea ceremonies, prepared with a special bamboo whisk and served hot in a bowl. Since the finely ground leaves don’t dissolve, matcha needs vigorous whisking and aerating to be suspended in water. It’s more expensive than other types of green tea since getting to that bright green, nutrient-heavy powder that consumers know requires more meticulous steps.
Many people are also familiar with matcha’s health benefits. They choose to consume it for a variety of reasons. It is rich in antioxidants, such as vitamin C and polyphenols, for those who want to improve their well-being. Not only are these good for the immune system, but they also protect the heart by minimizing inflammation and cellular damage, as well as reducing high blood cholesterol.
Matcha can also be both invigorating and relaxing, depending on what your body needs. Caffeine is responsible for the energy boost, but its effects can be balanced by matcha’s L-theanine content, which tempers the stimulating effects of caffeine, working to soothe the body and mind as well as enhance focus and concentration. With these elements working in conjunction, the usual caffeine crash from other caffeinated drinks can be avoided.
It is also general knowledge that matcha is associated with weight loss. Studies have shown that drinking it can help increase metabolism and burn fat. Since it appears to support the body’s ability to lose weight, matcha is also very popular in the fitness industry.
Considering all these great qualities, it’s no great mystery that matcha’s reach has spanned the world and appealed to various demographics.
Café Matcha Offerings
Many cafés prepare matcha drinks using pre-sweetened matcha. The main ingredient in this powder is very fine cane sugar, which, in a way, somewhat diminishes the resulting drinks’ healthful properties. Still, if you’re just introducing matcha to your menu, sweet matcha is a good place to start.
The usual matcha-oriented drinks offered by cafés are matcha latte (hot and iced), matcha frappuccino, and matcha lemonade. Other popular matcha options include matcha macchiato, matcha americano, matcha cortado, and even matcha tonic. If you want to keep a straightforward menu and tend to shy away from the addition of seemingly trendy drinks, you should still, at the very least, offer matcha lattes.
Café Matcha Latte
So many have been won over by the frothy milk drink that presents a unique flavor nuance. Visually, the matcha’s vibrant green color layering with the whiteness of milk is a delight to the eyes. It’s obviously a smart choice to include matcha latte in your menu, but what exactly are the reasons for it?
- Considering matcha’s nutritional content and other health benefits, matcha latte provides a healthy option for your more discriminating customers. It’s always a good idea to have something on the menu that caters to those who are health- and fitness-oriented.
- It is an excellent choice for those looking to boost their energy without risking caffeine jitters or energy crashes.
- It is a drink that won’t stain the teeth, so it also has a market among those who are more conscious of their appearance.
- Matcha lattes are visually enticing, which speaks to customers who value the appearance of their food or drink.
- Studies have shown that matcha lattes are a financially practical investment. They bring in a lot of revenue since they have a higher price point than the usual coffee-based drinks. In addition, they typically don’t require additional sugar, creamer, or any other condiment, which implies savings in this respect. They are also cost-effective since matcha’s shelf life is long, and you only need a little for every drink.
- Matcha latte can be served hot or cold, so it can maintain popularity throughout the year, no matter the season.
- It’s a flexible drink. Not only can you serve it at varying temperatures, but you can also tweak it to match the season or a holiday. For example, you can sprinkle some pumpkin spice for Halloween, lace with a crushed candy cane for Christmas, etc.
- Matcha lattes are pretty easy to prepare. Even using traditional matcha preparation, your baristas will find it less laborious and complicated than grinding beans and pulling espresso shots.
- Matcha has already proven it is more than just a fad. Matcha lattes continue to steadily gain popularity, which suggests that they won’t be a temporary addition to your menu while you ride out the duration of a trend. Instead, it signifies a long-term investment.
The Demand for Matcha Latte
Going by Instagram hashtags again, you can rest assured that #matchalatte’s popularity is ever-growing. More than a million users have posted it, mainly featuring matcha lattes they ordered at a café. Trendy drinks are very “Instagrammable,” and café owners know that it’s crucial that their matcha latte show well on social media.
If you have matcha lattes on your menu, make sure they’re competitive on various social media platforms. This means offering a drink that is certain to earn taste and presentation approval from professional and amateur foodies who are active online.
These days, the best way to get exposure and, thus, customers is to go viral. If social media users recommend your matcha latte, you’re bound to enjoy a spike in demand for it. Make sure that you can maintain that demand by guaranteeing quality. You can do so by starting with the matcha drink itself. The frills can simply follow.
High-Quality Matcha Drinks
Ensuring the quality of a drink starts with using first-rate ingredients. The execution techniques figure later. For many matcha drinkers, green tea’s health benefits matter a lot. This is important to keep in mind when you consider adding matcha drinks to your menu.
To have an immediate edge in the matcha latte market, you can claim healthier matcha offerings. As previously discussed, matcha in itself is healthy, but the wholesomeness of the drink also depends on the accompanying ingredients.
To stand out from other cafe matcha lattes, let your own boast pure matcha, not sweetened. If you feel an unsweetened matcha latte would not appeal to your market, you can sweeten your offering with a healthier alternative such as stevia, erythritol, xylitol, or yacon syrup.
The Matcha Shot
Many matcha-oriented drinks, including matcha lattes, make use of a matcha shot. This is similar to an espresso shot, creating the foundation for a variety of matcha drinks. It is much more
concentrated, understandably making it too intense to handle for most people. Still, a matcha shot works as a superb energy drink for those who can take it.
To make it, the following tools are recommended:
- A chashaku (a bamboo scoop for measuring matcha)
- A chawan (a matcha bowl, preferably flat-bottomed, wide-mouthed, and spouted).
- A chasen (a matcha whisk made from one bamboo piece, preferably 120-tip for more accessible and better frothing).
- A mesh strainer for ensuring clump-free matcha.
In addition to carrying them, you can sell the same items to customers. Chasen is one of the best sellers serving matcha at cafes, based on our experience.
Instructions for Making a Matcha Shot
For a basic matcha shot, preparation entails the following steps:
- Boil water. Use more than what a recipe asks for since you want extra for warming up the vessel to be used. As with making the tea itself, use simmered water instead of boiling water for the correct temperature for the matcha shot. The sweet spot falls around 160 degrees Fahrenheit, or 70 degrees Celsius, when the water is just beginning to simmer.
- Pour hot water into the chawan and soak the chasen’s bristles in it to soften them and give them a good “flex.” Pour out the water and then dry the bowl.
- Scoop 1 heaping chashaku of matcha onto the mesh strainer and sift into the warmed chawan.
- Add 70 to 100 ml of hot water into the chawan and whisk vigorously, your movement coming from the wrist in either a zig-zag or a “W” pattern. Do it about 10 to 15 times, or until the big bubbles disappear.
If you don’t have traditional matcha tools, you can also use what you already have in your cafe. A matcha shot can definitely also be made using an electric frother. It can also be simply shaken in a jar, but many find that the traditional method using traditional tools creates a better drink.
Easy Matcha Latte Recipes
If you wish to make the special taste of matcha a mainstay on your menu, here are some simple matcha latte recipes you can try and tweak for your café.
Hot Matcha Latte
- 1 teaspoon (a heaping chashaku-full) of matcha
- 1 oz. hot water
- 3/4 cup unsweetened milk
- Sweetener (optional)
- Scoop matcha into a chawan.
- Slowly pour hot water and vigorously whisk to make a matcha shot.
- Pour the matcha shot into your cup or mug of choice.
- Steam milk to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Whisk the milk until it’s frothy, and then pour it into the cup.
- Sweeten to taste or according to the customer’s choice on your café’s standard sweetness scale.
The following modified recipe is for making an iced variation.
Iced Matcha Latte
- 1 teaspoon of matcha
- 2 oz. of room temperature or slightly warm water
- 6–14 oz. milk of choice
- Sweetener (optional)
- Make the matcha shot in a chawan. Whisk until it’s frothy.
- Fill a tall glass or jar with ice and add milk.
- Top it off with the matcha shot.
- Sweeten to taste or according to the customer’s specifications.
Other Ways to Serve Matcha Latte
If you would like to add even more variety to your selection, here are some other ideas for serving matcha lattes in your cafe.
- Minty Matcha Latte: Adding powdered mint leaves gives a pleasant pep to the drink. Garnish with mint leaves for a more attractive Instagram shot.
- Vegan Matcha Latte: Instead of regular dairy milk, substitute plant-based milk like coconut, soy, oatmeal, or almond.
- Keto Matcha Latte: Offer your customers a drink to help activate those ketones. Use coconut milk and add a little bit of MCT oil.
- Matcha Latte with Pearls: This would be a cross between matcha latte and boba tea. Simply add tapioca pearls to the drink and serve with a thick straw.
- Cinnamon Matcha Latte: Cinnamon is a cozy spice, so many gravitate toward drinks nuanced with it. This particular drink is just your token matcha latte with a drop of vanilla and a sprinkling of cinnamon.
Matcha Tips and Reminders for Café Owners
If you’ve decided to start serving matcha latte, here are some general pointers for guaranteeing an excellent matcha drink.
- The more vibrantly green the matcha is, the better its quality.
- Use ceremonial-grade matcha (more expensive) for preparing a plain matcha drink with just water. Cooking-grade matcha is fine for matcha lattes and drinks blended with other ingredients.
- Filtered water makes any tea taste better and is cleaner than tap water.
- Achieving a fine froth takes time, so practice until you get it right and can already count on muscle memory to do proper whisking. It requires the same arm and wrist work as hand-whipping meringue.
- Soak the tips of a new chasen for five minutes before ever using it.
- Rinse your chasen in warm water right after use. Don’t store it in the container it came in. Get a proper holder that will allow it to air dry. This is an essential tool, so take good care of it. Traditional whisking yields the best suspension, mouthfeel, and taste, but an electric handheld milk frother also works well if this is too laborious.
- Don’t wash your chashaku. Simply wipe the matcha residue off with a cloth or paper towel. Don’t ever let it get wet, or it might warp.
- Store your matcha in a cool, dry, and dark place to preserve its quality and color for as long as possible. Refrigeration is recommended. Unopened matcha should stay good for about a year and a half; however, make sure to consume an open pack within three months for the freshest taste.
- You can pre-sift your daily matcha needs for better efficiency. Estimate how much you’ll use in the morning. Then, add to any leftovers before the second half of your business hours starts. This way, you won’t expose your main supply to the elements whenever you need to make a matcha drink.
- It would be practical to invest in a variable-temperature kettle or a digital thermometer to prevent the matcha from burning.
Matcha has clearly become a must in any café. To leave it off the menu is to miss out on revenue. Understandably, you might worry about your shop’s production capacity, the space such a menu addition would require, and your ability to maintain consistency. Still, with the above information, you can get a good idea of what it entails. Consider it well because, based on what hubs of pop culture indicate, matcha is very much worth the investment, and matcha lattes are here to stay.
Here are the Matcha we carry:
- KagoshimaTea – Organic Kagoshima Ceremonial Matcha
- ShizuokaTea – Organic Genmai Matcha
- KagoshimaTea – Matcha Karigane Sencha
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