What Are You Feeding?
There are so many ways to make a drink. I still remember that scene in You’ve Got Mail where Joe Fox says that “people who don’t know what the hell they’re doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self.”
When I was younger I thought there would be a magic age where I knew what the hell I was doing. But nope, I still don’t know and I think a lot of people feel that way too. One thing I do know though is that I’m happy there are so many ways to have a drink to satisfy all my different sides.
So this way of making an Iced Matcha Latte feeds my desire and need for a sweet but light summer drink. Because sometimes I just feel like having a little sweetness in my life. But only a little. I can’t do heavy right now. Whether it’s the heat or life, please, keep it light.
Iced Matcha Latte
First, there’s the matcha. It’s a pretty important ingredient. Make sure you are using one that’s good because there’s no way to doctor up a drink that uses bad matcha. Trust me, I know.
While I think that all matcha has some astringency to it (it is tea after all), bad matcha will be extremely bitter. It will also be a dull green. Not like this. Bam! Look at that green. That’s some happy matcha.
Or there is ceremonial grade matcha, which is more expensive, lighter, and more delicate. When whisked it creates a beautiful creamy foam and it’s best with water.
But ultimately, I think it depends on what you like best and what you’re willing to pay for. Finding out what you like is hard because searching for matcha to buy can be a little difficult when you can’t read many of the labels. It’s kind of like going on a blind date.
So you can imagine my excitement when I got some ceremonial grade matcha in the mail from Happy Matcha. The glowing green color, the smell, and the packaging really brought me back to my years in Japan (read this post for some more cool green tea stories).
It’s generally acknowledged that the best matcha comes from Japan. And Happy Matcha green tea is sourced from the Uji region of Kyoto, Japan.
The quality is really great and I can actually make myself a regular cup of tea with the powder, which I haven’t been able to do since living in Japan. I am a little sad though. Happy Matcha is an Australian company and as of right now, they don’t ship internationally. But maybe someday soon!
It’s hot and a lot of people have trouble remembering to drink their water. I decided to make this drink half water and half unsweetened cashew milk. The water for hydration and the cashew milk because it’s creamy but very light and low calorie.
Simple syrups all the way! I wanted an ice-cold sweet drink and simple syrups are the key to great cold beverages. I’ve also been playing around with simple syrup flavors to find out what goes best with matcha and the results have been surprising.
Shaken Not Stirred
Grab a mason jar, add the matcha powder and water and shake it real good. This will ensure that there are no clumps of matcha in your drink. Then add simple syrup and ice and shake again.
Pour ice-cold unsweetened cashew milk on top. You could add the milk with the ice and syrup if you wanted too. But I just like pouring it on top because it looks cool and gently mixes with all the other ingredients.
Tips for Summer Mason Jar Drinks
Why Mason Jars?
I think people are feeling some backlash hate towards mason jars since they exploded in popularity. And yes, some of the gimmicks have gotten out of hand. But in the end, if you do a lot of preserving and home cooking, they are the cheapest, most sustainable, and easiest tool handy.
And they are great if you like your drinks shaken, not stirred. With its cap and screw-on lid, mason jars are the “one-pot wonders” of the drink world. Add all the ingredients, shake it up, and enjoy.
My biggest tip for easy and amazing summer mason jar drinks is to use simple syrups. When dealing with ice cold drinks, simple syrups are the best sweetener option. No grains of sugar at the bottom or congealed honey clumps that just won’t go away no matter how much you stir or shake.
The sheer amount of creative combos you can explore with flavored simple syrups is mind-boggling. In fact, I challenge you to make simple syrup out of any produce that’s not being used in your fridge or pantry. This is something I’m currently doing and am getting some crazy cool flavors:
- Rosemary Simple Syrup (Rosemary Lemon Drop Martini)
- Sweet Potato Simple Syrup (Sweetie Pie Old Fashioned)
- Jalapeño Simple Syrup (Frozen Pineapple Painkiller with Ginger and Jalapeño)
- Cilantro Simple Syrup
I tested this Iced Matcha Latte with four different flavored simple syrups (vanilla, jalapeño, rose hip, and cilantro) and by far the best was the cilantro simple syrup. It brought out the fresh and bright flavors of the matcha, toned down the slight bitterness, and didn’t flatten the matcha. The rose hip simple syrup came in second.
Test Your Creativity
I think a lot of people put simple syrups in the category of “more work” but I don’t believe this is the case at all.
Simple syrups are Sugar + Water + Whatever the Hell You Want. The key is to make sure the sugar is COMPLETELY dissolved before adding the ingredient you want to extract flavor from. Then you simply add whatever herb, vegetable, fruit, or spice you want and let it simmer for 20 minutes on low.
Simply strain the syrup into an airtight container (mason jar) when it’s done and store it in the fridge. I stick to making small batches because I don’t use simple syrup every day and I like having lots of different flavors around to experiment with.
Standard simple syrups are equal parts sugar and water. But you can also play around with the types of sugar you use (coconut, date, honey, maple, etc.) and the ratio of sugar and water. For example, when I make brown sugar simple syrup I like to add twice as much water.
Consider mixing and matching your flavor ingredients too. Like simmering sliced sweet potatoes with a cinnamon stick, cloves, and nutmeg. Or combine different sugars too.
Make Ahead Frozen Treats
One of my favorite summer mason jar tricks is making and freezing drinks ahead of time. This works great for picnics, big gatherings where you don’t want to be stuck at the bar making everyone’s drinks, and for splitting big drinks into manageable sizes.
Margaritas that use frozen fruit are my all time favorite freeze-for-later drink (like this Mango Margaritas with a Turmeric Chili Twist). Un-thawing half-pint sized margaritas for 10 minutes gets you boozy ice you can eat with a spoon. Waiting 15 to 20 gets you an ice-cold sip-able margarita again.
What Will You Be Drinking?
The day I picked to take these pictures was actually a little chilly. But now the heat is coming back and I’ll be making an Iced Matcha Latte again. And having it stolen out of my hands by my family (true story-I only got a couple sips). What’s your favorite hot weather drink?
Iced Matcha Latte
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon matcha powder
- 2 tablespoons simple syrup
- 1/2 to 1 cup ice cubes
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cashew milk
Add the water and matcha powder to a mason jar. Screw the lid on and shake vigorously until there are no chunks of matcha left.
Add the simple syrup and ice cubes, put the lid back on again, and shake.
Pour the cashew milk on top and stir.
Experiment around with your simple syrups! You might be surprised what goes well with the matcha (I've really liked cilantro and rosehip simple syrup the best so far).