I finally buckled down and tried some of this today; I wanted something indulgent, and for me tea lattes are some of my favourite things to indulge in.
The package this comes in has its own label that reads “Our Matcha Latte Mix is made using only premium stone dround green tea and grape sugar. Matcha is very high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Use one tablespoon and mix in 12 oz of hot or cold milk. Ingredients: grape sugar and stone ground green tea.” The bag is 200 gr. for $9.95, so depending on your budget that could be a good deal, a great deal, or not a deal at all. It’s sealed shut, unlike when you buy tea in store and only the zip is shut, so you will have to tear or cut the bag to open it. It makes sense, though, since I think the matcha is bagged and then sent to stores, and regular zip seals can never be 100% trusted.
The matcha itself does seem pretty good quality; it’s a bright green and has a pretty regular matcha taste. Not the pinacle of matchas I’ve ever had, but not the worst. The matcha sent is really diluted from the grape sugar (and grape sugar is just another way of saying glucose). Unfortunately, there’s no breakdown of percentage for the matcha or the sugar. I’m wary at the grape sugar being listed first on the ingredients list, since usually that means there’s MORE of that ingredient. I’m sure an employee or The Tea Emporium could argue that it’s alphabetical, though. When I bought my bag there was another woman in the store considering buying one and she said that it would be great if there was a better description of the ingredients and a breakdown of nutritional facts like calories. The woman in working at the time didn’t say all that much in response. Another time I was in the store and talking to a different employee about the mix, he said it was really good, had all the good stuff (I’m assuming he meant the matcha), but also had the bad stuff (the sugar).
So if you’re calorie counting, I’d say you’re just as good using regular matcha of any grade you prefer and mixing in whichever sweetener you prefer. This mix is nice, quick, and easy, and if you’re in a rush or don’t want much trouble it’s pretty tasty, but it’s definitely not the Epitome of Matcha.
TASTE WISE, now, I think it’s delicious. It tastes just like a match green tea latte from Second Cup (and I can’t vouch for other coffee or tea shops/cafés, since Second Cup is all I know), except without the frothed milk. I didn’t really pay attention to the mixing directions on the bag. Following my usual procedure for hot chocolate, I nuked about 3/4 of a cup of 2% milk in the micro (in an mug) on high for 2~ minutes, spooned in about 1.5 tablespoons of the matcha mix used a small whisk to mix it up, and then topped it up with some cold milk so it wasn’t too hot to drink. And? Delicious. Really, really delicious. I have no delusions that it wasn’t due to the sugar, though. It DOES taste like matcha, but a really big matcha fan who wants more of a matcha bang would probably find it too weak.
Obviously having a milk frother or any kind of Tassimo-like machine would make a huge difference, buuuut since I don’t have one, nuked milk in the micro it is. If you don’t mind the lack of frothy-ness, I’d say you don’t need frothed milk to enjoy this.
I finished mine in less than five minutes; I think next time I’ll use less cold milk to cool it down, just to keep it warmer longer, but this could definitely be addictive.
Depending on your budget, if you look at this and think “WOW that’s a great deal for matcha, I don’t care about the sugar content”? Go for it. If you prefer a nicer matcha and controlling your sugar content? Using reglar matcha would work just as well (if not better!). All in all I think The Tea Emporium’s Matcha Latte mix is nice, makes a good treat, but isn’t a staple for any cupboard.