I first fell in love with matcha during a trip to Japan back in 2014, and that love affair is still going strong today.
As an avid non-coffee drinker, I found that matcha – green tea powder – was a great alternative. It provides the perfect pick-me-up thanks to the small hit of caffeine, but leaves you feeling naturally relaxed thanks to the amino acid it contains called ‘L-Theanine’. In other words, matcha creates a type of “concentrated calm” where the brain is stimulated but the mind is zen. Now who wouldn’t want that?!
Matcha lattes are one of the classic takes on the matcha craze and are popping up in cafes all over Melbourne. I made it my mission to find the perfect one, which for me is the perfectly balanced blend of bitter and sweet. After some rigorous research (read: taste tasting), I’ve narrowed it down to my three current favourites for all taste palates. I have to add a disclaimer though: I’m yet to try the lattes at Melbourne’s first matcha cafe, Matcha Mylkbar (definitely on my list once the insane wait time decreases)!
For the traditionalist
Little Rouge (12 Drewery Lane, Melbourne)
I head to Little Rogue for a matcha hit during the week. Like all matcha lattes, the latte itself is a blend of bitter and sweet flavours, but this one has a slight leaning towards the sweet side of the scale which makes for an enjoyable drinking experience (rather than a lot of others which are far too bitter for most drinkers to enjoy). However, for fans of the more traditional or bitter variety, the foam is a lot less sweet compared to the latte which means you get a really nice balance of the two flavours when you take a sip.
For the sugar fiend
Huff Bagelry (112 Koornang Road, Carnegie)
This is one of the first matcha lattes I’d ever tried in Melbourne (in fact, when I first tried this circa 2014 it was one of the first places I’d ever seen it on a menu) and it’s still one of my favourites. What makes this matcha latte stand out from the rest is its consistency. Think a smooth, thick, creamy latte that is both comforting and invigorating at the same time. Basically like a hot chocolate, except green. Although this matcha latte might be one of the sweeter ones out there, it somehow still manages to feel indulgent rather than excessive and still has a hit of that classic green tea flavour.
For the in-between
Operator 25 (25 Wills St, Melbourne)
For a matcha latte that is a concoction of yuzu syrup, matcha power and white chocolate, this one definitely isn’t as sweet as you’d expect! I’ve been a big fan of Operator 25 for a few years now, and their matcha latte doesn’t disappoint. Like its counterpart from Huff Bagelry, this matcha latte is a creamy blend with lots of froth, but it’s decidedly less sweet and a lot smaller which means that you can still fill up on their delicious food!