How to Make a Healthy Starbucks Matcha Green Tea Latte
What Do I Need to Make a Green Tea Matcha Latte?
- 1 tbsp pure matcha green tea powder, or more to taste
- 1 cup almond milk, unsweetened is the healthiest (more on cow's milk and why you shouldn't use it below)
- 1-2 tbsp sugar, dissolved in a little hot water
- whipped cream, optional
You Can Make This Recipe Hot or Iced
How to Make an Iced Matcha Latte
- Fill a tall glass with almond milk. Note: Starbucks uses vanilla-flavored soy milk. So, unsweetened vanilla soy milk is likely to give you the closest taste, texture, and consistency to what SB uses.
- Add dissolved sugar and tea powder. Note: Trying to dissolve the powder in an already iced drink will make the powder clump. Your best best is to warm the milk and powder mixture, get it dissolved, and then pour it in the glass.
- Stir until most of the powdered bits are combined.
- Fill with ice and add whipped cream. Enjoy!
How to Make a Hot Matcha Latte
- To make a hot green tea latte, heat almond milk in pan or milk steamer until hot. Note: Starbucks uses vanilla-flavored soy milk. So, unsweetened vanilla soy milk is likely to give you the closest taste, texture, and consistency to what SB uses.
- Add sugar and matcha.
- Stir until combined.
- Add whipped cream.
Tips and Tricks
- Boil It a Tad so That It Separates: You may want to add the powdered green tea into a tad bit of boiling water in order to help the powder separate, then add to the milk. You could also add the matcha with the dissolved sugar mixture.
- Shake in a Cocktail Shaker: You could also add the ingredients in a cocktail shaker or blender if the matcha is too powdery.
- Get Ceremonial Grade: If your matcha tastes a bit bitter, make sure that you got ceremonial grade powder and not culinary grade powder. The culinary grade tends to have a noticeably different taste.
- Use Almond Milk: As some commenters have pointed out, cow's milk appears to reduce the effect of antioxidants in the tea. And at least one study by the US National Library of Medicine seems to back that up.
Why Is Matcha Good for You?
Matcha is said to be the purest form of green tea. It generally comes in a powdered form and can be mixed into teas, cakes, and even chocolate recipes. It has more antioxidant properties than drinking green tea alone because you consume the whole leaf when you drink the powdered form.
Matcha offers the following benefits:
- Burns fat by increasing metabolism
- Increases energy
- Boosts immune system
- High fiber content
- Calming effect
- Cell detoxification
- Powerful antioxidants
- Can reduce blood sugar and cholesterol
If you'd like more information, the U.S. National Library of Medicine has an in-depth literature review where you can read about the health benefits of matcha.
How Do I Make a Matcha Green Tea Latte Healthy?
The answer is simple: don't use too much added sugar or any cow's milk.
- Cow's Milk Nullifies Antioxidants: Like we mentioned earlier, cow's milk somehow nullifies the awesome antioxidants in green tea. If you want the health benefits of this drink to really pack a punch, give the cow's milk a pass and opt for alternatives.
- Use Sugar-Free Milk Alternatives: Sugar-free almond milk is a great option for this beverage. If you use any kind of sugar-free milk alternative, give it a sip after you mix it, adding sugar little by little. You might be surprised by how little sugar you actually need for this to be a delicious, healthy, and refreshing drink.
- Get Ceremonial Grade Matcha Powder: The quality of your powder makes a difference. Is it expensive? You bet it is. However, you get what you pay for. High-quality powders shouldn't have any sugar filler in them. They should just be pure, ground green tea powder. Be sure to check the container's label before buying it. It should only have one ingredient: powdered green tea (or some iteration of that phrasing).
With these three things in mind, you're bound to make a satisfying, nutrient-rich, powerhouse of a drink that's also totally delicious.
Why Is This Version Healthier Than Starbucks'?
This version is healthier because it has a lot less sugar than Starbucks' version. Let's take a look at their ingredients and compare. And let's assume that we're talking about a 16 oz beverage made with almond milk. The following information is based off of what is available on Starbucks' website. The math is a rough estimate obtained by subtracting the amount of sugar in a 16 oz glass of only milk and a 16 oz matcha drink, so the math is going to be a little off since there isn't 16 oz of milk in a 16 oz matcha drink.
- Almond Milk: Starbucks' version of almond milk contains "Filtered Water, Almonds, Sugar, Tricalcium Phosphate, Sunflower Lecithin, Sea Salt, Xanthan Gum, Guar Gum, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D2 (Ergocalciferol)." What's the third ingredient? Sugar—7 grams, to be exact.
- Matcha: The matcha that Starbucks uses is listed as a "Matcha Tea Blend" containing "Sugar, Ground Japanese Green Tea." With ingredients, you always list them in order of percentage. So, we know that there's more sugar than ground tea in this because sugar is the first ingredient. This can get deceptive because even if you order a "sugar-free" latte, it simply cannot be sugar-free because the powdery blend is at least 51% sugar. If we subtract the almond milk's 7 grams of sugar, we know that the blend has 14 grams of sugar, which is a lot. It's not as much as a soda, but when you think you're getting something healthy, 21 grams of sugar sure is a lot. My version is healthier because it uses ceremonial grade matcha powder, which is 100% green tea powder and absolutely no sugar.
What If You Used 2% Milk Instead?
- 2% Milk: This has about 25g of sugar in a milk-only 16 oz glass. It bumps the sugar up from the almond milk version from 21 total grams of sugar to 32 grams of sugar. 2%, or even nonfat milk, has the added "benefit" of negating the green tea's antioxidant properties.
- Matcha: The stats here are the same: it adds 14g of sugar to your drink.
Well, What If I Got Nonfat?
- Nonfat Milk: Nonfat milk bumps the overall sugar content from 32g to 33g. So, nonfat milk is actually even worse for you in this scenario, as far as sugar content is concerned.
- Matcha: Still has 14g or so of sugar.
What If I Got Soy Milk? Would That Help? Nope!
- Soy Milk: A 16oz latte with soy milk is going to go above and beyond nonfat. Your 33g of sugar becomes 34g with this option.
- Matcha: Still 14g or so of sugar.
The real takeaway here is that there is a ton of sugar in Starbucks' version of the drink, and you can make it much healthier by using unsweetened alternatives and avoiding cow milk.
How Much Sugar Is in a Starbucks Matcha Green Tea Drink (Based on a 16 oz Drink)?
My Healthy Version
The above chart assumes that you used pure matcha powder (not a blend of green tea powder and sugar), unsweetened almond milk, and the recommended 1-2 teaspoons of sugar.