Don’t get us wrong: we love a good cappuccino (and we have the perfect cups in the shop to prove it).
But sometimes, we wake up and decide it might be fun to try something different. If you’re ever in the mood to make a morning beverage swap, read on for a few of our faves.
Matcha, a powdered and extra-concentrated version of green tea, has gained increased popularity in the Western world over the last decade so you’ve likely seen a latte on the menu in your local coffee spot. Matcha originated in China over a thousand years ago, but, over the past 800 years, it’s become an integral part of Japanese culture. In Japan, matcha is used in tea ceremonies, sweets, and everyday life.
Matcha has gained popularity in the US for its countless health benefits and high antioxidant content–and many people find it gives them a calmer, more focused energy than coffee (that’s because it includes L-theanine, a calming compound that helps neutralize the caffeine’s energizing effects).
In America, you’re most likely to see it in a latte. Here’s how we like to make ours:
- 1 tsp of ceremonial grade matcha*
- ¼ cup of hot (not boiling!) water
- ½ cup of milk
- ½ tsp maple syrup
- Cinnamon, to taste
- Kettle or saucepan
- Bamboo matcha whisk or electric whisk
- Milk frother or saucepan
1. Scoop out 1 teaspoon of matcha and pour over the sifter into a wide-mouthed mug. Lots of good quality matcha has clumps, so you may need to shake the sifter against your mug a few times to distribute all of the powder.
2. Put on a kettle or pour water into a saucepan and heat until almost boiled. Never make a matcha with boiled water! It’ll burn the powder.
3. Pour the heated water over the matcha and whisk vigorously (in a Z formation) until the matcha and water are fully combined with a bamboo whisk (preferred) or electric whisk.
4. Meanwhile, pour milk of your choice (we like macadamia, oat or almond) into a saucepan or (our preferred method) a milk frother. Add 1 teaspoon of maple syrup and a sprinkling of cinnamon. Start frother or turn the stove to medium heat and pour milk into saucepan until warm.
5. Once milk is warmed or frother has completed a cycle, pour milk over matcha. Whisk again to fully combine and top with more cinnamon to taste.
Quality is important! Always look for ceremonial grade matcha. The color should be as close to an emerald green as possible, and never brown. Good matcha purveyors will sell you matcha in an opaque tin, not a clear glass one, as sunlight can age matcha and decrease its shelf life. Brands we love: Matchaful, Ippodo, Pique
An ideal option for those who don’t quite need the caffeine levels of coffee or matcha, but are still looking for an added creativity kick, cacao is one of those drinks we think deserves far more attention than it currently gets.
Yes, you may know cacao as chocolate–but, when you get a ceremonial grade cacao brick and blend with extra-hot water, you’re getting an ultra-rich, milk-free cup with all of the benefits of chocolate and none of the sugar.
We love buying bricks from Keith’s Cacao, chopping off 1 tablespoon, and blending with cayenne, cinnamon, cacao, and a ½ cup of almost-boiling water.
Cacao contains theobromine, a chemical compound that works in a similar way to caffeine–so, despite the fact that cacao contains trace amounts of caffeine when compared to coffee, you’ll still feel a similar boost (this also means cacao is ideal for when you need a jolt of energy later in the day, too–it won’t keep you up).
If you’re a tea fan, you may have heard of a London Fog latte–but if not, this might be the beverage that converts you. Made with Earl Grey tea, a floral form of black tea that blends mood- and beauty-boosting lavender and bergamot, a London Fog is simple, but it feels sophisticated.
Simply add tea, then boiling water to a cup, with a sweetener of your choice (we like honey). Let steep for 3-5 minutes, then remove the tea bag. Meanwhile, steam the milk or heat milk in a small saucepan. Once steamed, pour over the milk and top with a dash of vanilla, and–if you’re feeling ultra-luxurious, edible lavender flowers.
There you have it! Three of our favorite morning beverages for when coffee isn’t cutting it. Did you make any of these? If so, tag us on social media using #casadesuna.