There’s a kind of simplicity in tea with the tradition being “add water” and trust that the flavor profile matches the imagination. However, as I’ve fallen into love with tea, there’s a shocking variation in taste profiles. As the tea market continues to grow, there’s all sorts of tips and tricks out there to alter what shapes the taste of your tea.
Matcha stands out in the world of taste profiles. Ever tried a cha-soba sushi roll? Yes, it contains matcha. Hope about a matcha cupcake with pistachios? While I have yet to try nitro matcha cold brew, it sounds delicious. As much as I’d like to think I understand the world of matcha generally, I’m consistently presented with new mixes and uses for matcha. It’s even more surprising considering that matcha comes from the same leaves as its green tea brother gyokuro!
I want to review 10 ways you can sweeten your matcha drink specifically and hopefully you can continue experiencing what the world of matcha has to offer:
Note: If you want to try it out, click on images to get the product I personally use on Amazon.
Us Canadians thrive on maple syrup. We kind of have to put it in our matcha. Maple syrup slightly alters the original flavor of matcha and contains 260 calories per 100g however its readily available as a sweetener and honestly, who doesn’t enjoy maple syrup?
Stevia is common, very common. In fact, chances are you’ve heard about it through various everyday drinks and its commercial uses. Stevia is a natural, zero calorie sweetener known in part by from its bitterness but also its limited aftertaste. It’s considered a direct sugar substitute. Stevia, in this respect, does not take away the flavor matcha has to provide. It simply elevates and matches matcha’s subtleness.
There are many different matcha sweeteners available however, there are only a select few that offer a sweet yet floral and nutty flavor. While light coconut milk simply contains more water than its regular sibling, it can be a healthier alternative and act as a somewhat powerful sweetener.
I’m a huge fan of macadamia nuts and the flavors that can be extracted from them. Macadamia nut milk is pleasantly thick and smooth. It’s known for its richer, nuttier and buttery flavor. It has some similarities with almond milk however it tends to have a stronger flavor profile overall.
I first came across agave syrup while living in Japan and its sweetness surprised me. It’s very sweet, yes sweeter than sugar however this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t mix it with your matcha. It’s a common matcha sweetener. However, agave syrups have a number of variations with darker agave syrups having a stronger caramel flavor while lighter flavors a milder and almost neutral composition.
Perhaps one of the less commonly used options on the list, coconut sugar is subtly sweet. It comes across as brown sugar not only in appearance but also in flavor and sweetness. If you’re looking to try something different with a faux caramel-like distinction, coconut sugar fits your matcha on a number of different levels.
The general idea of fusing together apple and honey comes across as a no-brainer if you ask me. Many vegan recipes use combine apples with honey as a syrup for all kinds of foods and drinks. For matcha lovers, it’s a great sweetener alternative and its simple to make!
(There is no Amazon link as you can get apple and honey in any grocery store)
One of the more unique items available on this list, madjool dates are a fresh fruit that have a powerful yet rich and caramel-like taste. Relatively high in calories, they tend to be high in antioxidants and great for general digestion. They should be blended down prior to adding to your matcha and enjoyed as a subtler sweetener. They can also be used to create date syrup.
As much as I enjoy maple syrup, butterscotch is right up there. Date sugar, being unique as it is, offers a notable butterscotch-like flavor. It also happens to contain many of the benefits of a madjool date given it’s not far off in terms of composition. It’s nonetheless another unique option for one’s matcha.
Along with stevia and xylitol, monk fruit is a zero calories sweetener option available in the market. Another particular sweet option, it also contains zero sugar and zero carbohydrates surprisingly enough. It’s known in part for its antioxidants however it can be too sweet for some people and it’s not the most available item on this list.
Soy milk: One of the more subtle sweeteners, it’s high in protein content and contains vitamin A, B-12, potassium and calcium. Being plant-based, soy milk can have a beanlike or chalk-like taste however there are a plethora of options available that many consumers can likely find the best fit for their matcha.
While this list stops at 10 matcha sweeteners, there are many more. The beautiful thing is that matcha is the vehicle to expand what flavors work for you. Whether you’re thinking of enjoying a matcha tea latter or simply matcha with water or anything in between, there are more than enough tasty and enjoyable options to surprise you.
5 Essential Storage Rules for Matcha and Japanese Green Tea
Read on to learn how to store matcha the proper way to ensure that you get the most out of this ancient elixir.