green tea latte

Matcha Latte: the holy grail or just another overpriced marketing story?

Apparently drinking Matcha Lattes is “The Thing” and I have been totally missing out on it for years.

This is what I was led to believe when I last arrived at the Starbucks within my airport terminal. The girls at the counter know me well hardly a week goes by without me paying them a visit. My routine has pretty much been the same for the last decade:

I whizz through security carrying hand luggage only, with only two stops on the way to my gate (time permitting):

  1. Ladies restroom
  2. Chai Tea Latte on the Go

 

“Sorry Honey, but we are out of Chai today”, my friend behind the counter tells me as I approach and before I even get a chance to order. As she sees my puzzled expression, she adds: “but you should try this other Tea-Latte-Thingy we have. You may like it.”

starbucks matcha“Maaaaaae,” she howls to the back of the store, “what´s this milky tea called, the green one?”

“Matcha!” comes promptly from the back.

“It´s made with Green Tea”, she keeps trying to convince me with a smile, “supposed to be really good for your skin and stuff. A Japanese customer told me the other day that she drinks it all the time at home. And her skin was really amazing, I swear to you…”

“Ehhh…,” I hesitate, “have… have you tried it?”.

“Yeah… I have to say I do prefer the Chai,” she admits, “but look, if you don´t like it, I’ll exchange it for a regular Latte, no probs.”

And with that I walked out of the Starbucks sipping my first Matcha. I have to admit that the first impression wasn’t overwhelming: it tasted a lot like sweet milk and very little of green tea. In fact I finished thinking I would probably not order it again.

 

 

However, something made me go back to Matcha the next day. I was walking through the supermarket isles, when I stopped in front of the tea section and started to scan through it, in search for Matcha. I suddenly had a little craving, a small voice in my head saying: “wouldn’t  it be nice to have one of those frothy green lattes…” I found only a few varieties on offer (bagged, powdered) but all equally and surprisingly expensive. “There must be something about it”, I thought, “if they price it this high. It ‘s either true that it is a super drink, or yet another marketing tale.”

 

 

So in it went into my trolley and here I am two weeks later.

I have just realised that I have been substituting my mid morning coffee for one of those Matcha Lattes every day since, not on purpose, just because I “felt like it”. It is not its taste that is especially great, but somehow you are left with a really nice sensation after you drink it. So I have wondered if there it is really something more than an overpriced hot brew that has become fashionable.

As I have been relentlessly pouring down Matcha Lattes on a daily basis for over a fortnight now, I thought I´d do a bit of research on its alleged benefits and check if any of them have manifested themselves on me, yet. So here it goes:

 

1. High in Antioxidants

This is always good news, as they are supposed to be great for you, reducing cell damage and preventing chronic disease. Not that this could be visible in any way, but as for a nicer skin: I have not really seen any difference, on the contrary if anything I am currently battling a few breakouts on my chin, which are my monthly curse on “those days”… you know…
VEREDICT: 

2. May improve Cognitive Performance

 

Matcha has been shown to improve attention, memory and reaction time. It contains caffeine and L-theanine, which alters the effects of caffeine, promoting alertness and helping avoid the crash in energy levels that can follow caffeine consumption – aka it should let you sleep at night. This is actually true: I am sleeping like a baby since, I have switched from coffee to Matcha. I was a bit worried I would lay awake at night, as too much green tea has previously had this effect on me. But not with Matcha, although it is supposed to be 10 times stronger that regular green tea. L-theanine has also been shown to increase alpha wave activity in the brain, which may help induce relaxation and decrease stress levels – this could be the “feel good effect” I was referring to before, so in my view this is a huge thumbs up!

 

VEREDICT: 

 

3. Could Increase Weight Loss

 

Some studies show that green tea extract helps increase metabolism and fat burning. I have to say that I am feeling somewhat lighter than in December and trousers that felt tight a few weeks ago, fit again. Maybe it is not so much the Matcha but the fact that I have gotten back into a regular workout routine after the Christmas-Never-Ending-Food Extravaganzas. In any case what the Matcha definitely does, is prevent me from snacking in between meals, as it does not produce the sugar-low rollercoaster effect of a Coffee, which often makes me reach out to chocolate or other snacks. It is also relatively sweet by itself and therefore I have found myself not eating as many sugary foods in general as before during these past weeks.

 

VEREDICT:  

 

 

All in all a positive overall veredict for the new drink of the year.

 

Have you tried Matcha Lattes? Do you like them?

 

 

 

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