Ever heard of matcha? It’s powdered green tea that’s a specialty of Japan, usually presented and served during an elaborate tea ceremony. The ultra-fine green powder is whisked into hot water with a bamboo whisk until it has completely dissolved. Not much is used since matcha is only made from the highest-quality, most flavorful tea leaves. If you’ve only had standard green tea, you’ll be surprised at how much more flavorful matcha is! You can find bags of matcha in Japanese grocery stores or in well-stocked mainstream grocery stores featuring a large section of Asian goods.
Because matcha can taste a little bitter, it’s often paired with something sweet and/or creamy, like being served alongside a traditional Japanese sweet cake or (in a modern twist) being blended into green tea ice cream. For my riff on matcha, I thought I’d go with that same sweet/creamy idea and blend the fine powder into a coconut smoothie tinged with coconut nectar. The resulting flavor is smooth but striking — you probably haven’t tasted anything quite like it before. If you’d like a thicker shake, use more coconut milk and less water; if you’d like a sweeter shake, add a little more nectar. And if you’re a newbie to the green tea scene, perhaps start with half the amount of matcha and taste your blended shake before adding more of the matcha. Either way, you’ll end up with a delicately light green shake that captures the spirit of matcha (and its health benefits) while taming it with a little sweetness and creaminess.
Speaking of creaminess, be sure to use whole coconut milk. If you can only find light coconut milk, then use 1 cup of that rather than cutting it with water. But I’m a big fan of whole coconut milk — why pay for a diluted product when you can dilute it yourself with water? Cutting whole coconut milk 50/50 with water means you get an immediate 50% discount!
Coconut Matcha Shake
Makes one serving.
2 ice cubes
1/2 tsp. matcha powder
2 tsp. coconut nectar OR maple syrup
1/2 cup whole coconut milk
1/2 cup water
Dash of vanilla extract
Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. It’s best to add them to the blender in the order stated — if you drop the ice cubes in last, they’ll splash and make a mess, and if you add the matcha last, the powder won’t blend into the liquid ingredients as smoothly.
Taste your blended shake to see if you’d like to add a little more nectar/syrup (or matcha, for that matter). Pour into a waiting glass and let it sit for a minute or two to allow a nice head of froth to build up on top. Froth is the best part! I like to scoop up the froth with a spoon and then drink the rest.
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