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The matcha manifesto: The ultimate guide to matcha lattes

Beatrice Barnes
Harvest Cafe’s hot matcha latte with house-made cashew milk was subtlety sweet, and made for the perfect comforting beverage on a chilly winter afternoon. The exceptional latte art was a clear sign of a talented barista, which is not at all surprising, as the drink itself did not disappoint.
In addition to its delicious flavor and versatility, matcha tea also boasts many health benefits because of its high quantities of antioxidants. Matcha also has a significantly slower release of caffeine than coffee, which provides you with stable and sustained energy. (Beatrice Barnes)

High school is tough. From Advanced Placement (AP) courses to intense extracurriculars, many students rely on caffeine to get through the school day. A variety of caffeinated beverages can be spotted on campus, such as energy drinks like Celcius, or Starbucks‘ Frappuccinos. While these sources of caffeine are well known and loved by teens, there is another option that deserves more consideration: matcha. 

Originating in China nearly 1,000 years ago, matcha is a finely ground powder made from green tea leaves, often made into tea. In today’s society, matcha is commonly produced in Japan and can be made into a variety of foods, as well as drinks. Matcha lattes, a drink made from matcha tea powder and milk or milk substitutes, are now common all around the globe. 

Whether it be served hot or iced, matcha lattes are a delicious source of caffeine with many health benefits as well. Matcha powder contains antioxidants, making matcha lattes far more nutrient dense than green tea and other caffeinated beverages. Consuming matcha daily may help to increase your body’s overall antioxidant levels, which could help to lower your risk of developing a chronic disease, such as cancer. Furthermore, matcha has a slower caffeine release than coffee, thanks to the presence of an amino acid called L-Theanine. This prolonged caffeine release prevents the “jolt and crash” effect that is often caused by drinking coffee, providing your body with sustained energy and alertness throughout the day. 

Singing Sun Coffee, a cafe on Main Street popular among students, had a variety of drinks to choose from. Despite its popularity, the iced matcha lattes were far from being the best in Ventura. (Julia Brossia)

Singing Sun Coffee 

Iced vanilla matcha latte with almond milk

Beatrice: The distinct layers of matcha and almond milk made the presentation of this latte beautiful, however the drink itself was slightly underwhelming. The matcha flavor was extremely subtle, and the overwhelming flavor profile was unfortunately sweet, watered down milk. For matcha connoisseurs, I would not recommend this drink. However, if you don’t particularly enjoy the earthy tone of matcha tea, you would probably find this latte tasty. 5.5/10.

Iced matcha latte with oat milk and vanilla

Julia: When arriving at Singing Sun Coffee, I was overly excited to try the first matcha latte for this review. Upon receiving the matcha, the overall appearance was beautiful, leaving me in anticipation for the first sip. Unfortunately, this latte was not what I expected. The flavor of the matcha was watered down, causing the drink to taste disproportionately like a cup of milk. Although it was not the worst matcha that I’ve ever had, I would not recommend this to anyone looking for a good iced matcha latte. 5/10.

Prospect Coffee 

Prospect Coffee’s iced matcha lattes were definitely worth the cost, with a wonderful blend of the strong matcha taste and vanilla. (Julia Brossia)

Iced matcha latte with almond milk and vanilla

Beatrice: “Extraordinary” was the word that immediately came to mind after the first sip of this scrumptious beverage. With a perfect flavor balance of strong earthy matcha and sweet vanilla, this drink was liquid gold. The latte had a luscious, creamy texture and was not watery in the slightest. I thoroughly enjoyed this matcha, and would recommend it to anyone and everyone, especially if you’re looking for some delectable study session fuel. 9/10.

Iced matcha latte with whole milk and vanilla

Julia: In contrast to the matcha that I tried at Singing Sun Coffee, Prospect Coffee left me pleasantly surprised with how tasty their iced matcha latte was. It tasted strongly of matcha, with a sweet vanilla undertone that was not too overwhelming. It was a beautiful blend of bitter and sweet that left me craving more as soon as I finished my cup. This was by far my favorite latte that I tried, and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a scrumptious source of caffeine. 9/10.

At Kaapicat Cafe, the restaurant is filled with the enticing aroma of Indian and American cuisine. Upon entering the building, the atmosphere made it clear that the food would be wonderful, and the iced matcha latte did not disappoint. (Julia Brossia)

Kaapicat Cafe 

Iced matcha latte with oat milk and vanilla

Beatrice: Aesthetically speaking, the color of this matcha latte wasn’t particularly appealing. The drink itself was mediocre at best, and was far too sweet for my liking. However, the natural matcha flavor was still present despite the lattes extreme sweetness. If you prefer sweeter drinks, I would recommend this order. However, if you prefer bitter beverages, I would ask for the latte unsweetened, as the oatmilk will provide plenty of sweetness on its own. 6/10.

Iced matcha latte with whole milk and vanilla

Julia: Although this was previously my favorite cafe out of the four that we tried, it was outshined by Prospect Coffee in terms of matcha lattes. However, this was still a solid beverage that I would 100 percent buy again. Despite its unappealing color, it had a strong matcha flavor and it was almost sweeter than Prospect Coffee. Although it did not quite live up to my expectations after visiting Prospect Coffee, it had almost no faults and I would recommend this to people who enjoy their matcha lattes on the sweeter side. 8/10.

Harvest Cafe 

Harvest Cafe’s iced matcha latte, unlike their hot matcha latte, was extremely disappointing. Although the atmosphere of the cafe was warm and inviting, the aesthetics did not make up for the lack of taste of this drink. (Julia Brossia)

Hot matcha latte with cashew milk 

Beatrice: This warm beverage was very comforting, and by the intricate latte art, I could tell it was prepared by a skilled barista. I ordered this latte with Harvest Cafe’s house-made cashew milk, which is delicious, but $2 more than the default latte with whole milk. However, the cashew milk was creamy and satisfying; perhaps justifying the additional cost. This matcha was the least sweet compared to the other cafes we tried, allowing the true flavor of matcha to shine. As an avid matcha consumer, I absolutely loved this drink, but because of matcha’s natural bitterness, this drink certainly has an acquired taste. 7/10.

Iced matcha latte with whole milk and honey

Julia: Despite the kind staff and adorable interior design of Harvest Cafe, the iced matcha latte did not reflect these aspects. My expectations were higher than they should have been, because the second I took a sip of this beverage, I was dissatisfied. It tasted nothing like matcha, but rather a cup of milk that’s gone bad. For the high price of almost $7, it was overwhelmingly disappointing. I will not be returning here for another iced matcha latte. 2/10.

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About the Contributors
Julia Brossia
Julia Brossia, Writer
Second-year writer, Swiftie and opossum lover.
Beatrice Barnes
Beatrice Barnes, Writer
Your average vegetarian who loves the outdoors and runs for fun.

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