Graphic by Elise Bechtel
By Emily Chang
Visiting cafes to study and buying over-priced, tasty drinks is a staple of any college student’s routine. But you can still enjoy the experience of delicious coffees and teas while saving money by making your own at-home versions.
Matcha, which many cafes are now incorporating in their menus, has risen in popularity these past few years. It has been around since the Tang Dynasty in China, which spanned the seventh through 10th centuries. Matcha is a form of green tea that is created when tea leaves are processed and crushed into a fine powder. It is available online and in most grocery stores. Before we discuss ways to customize your matcha, we will talk about how to prepare it in general.
In a cup or bowl that is safe for hot water, add one to two teaspoons of matcha powder. You can optionally sift the powder into your container to get rid of any clumps. Add some boiling water to your cup or bowl. To whisk your matcha, you can use a bamboo tea whisk known as a “chasen,” a regular whisk or an electric handheld frother. When using a manual whisk, you can do a fast, zigzag pattern for a thick and frothy consistency or a slow, circular pattern for a thinner consistency. And that is it! Now that we know how to prepare the matcha itself, we can look at ways to customize it into a delicious treat.
Our first customization, strawberry matcha, is inspired by @hanahohn on TikTok.
- Dice three to six strawberries (depending on the size cup you are using and how strong of a strawberry flavor you want)
- Place them into a bowl and mix with 1.5 tablespoons of sugar
- Let it sit for 15 minutes to thicken
- Prepare your matcha while you are waiting
- Mash the strawberries with a fork or the back of a spoon
- In a cup, add your strawberries
- Add any milk of your choice
- Add your matcha
- Add ice
Mix and enjoy! You can experiment with different fruit, too.
Sweet cinnamon matcha
This next option is comforting and delicious.
- Prepare your matcha
- While the water is still hot, add maple syrup to the sweetness of your choice
- Add a dash of cinnamon
- Add your milk of choice and ice
This simple way to sweeten your matcha adds depth to the flavor, and it reminds me of the Starbucks matcha with brown sugar syrup.
The third customization incorporates another loved destination for college students: Trader Joe’s. Next time you find yourself at Trader Joe’s, pick up their Spiced Chai Concentrate.
- Prepare your matcha
- Add two tablespoons of the Spiced Chai Concentrate
- Add milk and ice and drink away
This version of matcha has notes of cinnamon and cardamom reminiscent of the maple syrup and cinnamon matcha, but with a more focused flavor.
I hope you try out one, or all these ways to make your matcha. Whether you are a fan of matcha, have never tried it or do not like it, you may love the combination of matcha’s earthy flavor with the sweetness of strawberries or other spices. Crafting drinks is a financially conscious way to treat yourself and as a college student, you deserve it so matcha!