Caffeine Trends Through The Years

First was bulletproof coffee, then turmeric-tinted golden milk drinks, and now the matcha latte. Far from the humble black cuppa of the past, the world of caffeinated beverages is ever-evolving, and getting more 'gram-able by the minute. Some health-guru bloggers such as @leefromamerica and @realfoodology have even adopted matcha as a replacement for coffee, touting its benefits especially when combined with adaptogenic powders and a fat source such as coconut butter. 

I can't live without my morning cup of coffee, but matcha has been slowly making its way into my daily routine. I typically enjoy the tea simply with hot water, but a matcha latte is a twisted treat, and I wanted to be sure I'm treating myself to the best Milwaukee has to offer. 

What Is Matcha Anyway?

Unlike conventional green tea, matcha is a super concentrated powder of ground tea leaves. Matcha translates from Japanese literally "tea powder", and is traditionally prepared with hot water and mixed with a specially designed bamboo whisk. The vibrantly green powder is packed full of antioxidants and a hefty dose of caffeine. Blended with steamed milk and a hint of sweetener, it's the perfect pick-me-up when you're craving a change from your coffee routine. 

tea, herb, green tea, matcha
Sam Jesner

The Results

I indulged in 4 different matcha lattes, each at a different cafe. On a scale from 1-5, I ranked each beverage by price, taste and originality/presentation for a total of 15 points. Lowest to highest scores, here are the results!

Fourth place: Whole Foods' Allegro Coffee Roasters 

Score: 8/15

Allegro is located inside Whole Foods on Prospect. I've always had pleasant experiences with their coffee in the past; however, the matcha I ordered was the least enjoyable of the bunch. Though they scored top points in originality for offering regular matcha in addition to an unsweetened version and a white chocolate peppermint flavor, my drink was bland, watery, and not worth the price ($4.24 for 12oz). 

Sophie Bolich
Sophie Bolich

Third Place: Colectivo

Score: 9/15

Barely sweet with a thick layer of foam, Colectivo's matcha was the most unique of all. It was more reminiscent of a cappuccino than a latte. The flavor was grassy and refreshing. The drink scored high in presentation for the latte art on top, but lost points for being lumpy. For an 8oz drink, $4.51 seemed a bit much.

Sophie Bolich
Sophie Bolich

Runner Up: Starbucks

Score: 10

I'm surprised too, but despite being #basic, Starbucks delivers a decent, inexpensive latte. This one is a little on the sweet side and tastes  similar to Lucky Charms marshmallows. It's delicious but very sweet, lacking the punchy bitterness of true matcha, which we all long for..... 

Sophie Bolich

Our Matcha Hero!(AKA First Place): Beans and Barley 

Score: 12/15

This stop was a last minute addition and a clear winner! The price was reasonable for a 16oz, and the drink itself was subtly sweet, rich and creamy with a perfect froth on top. I liked the straightforwardness of the drink but had to dock some points for originality in the name of fairness. 

Who's to say what's next. As for me, I hope the matcha latte has some sparkle in its future.

Sophie Bolich
Sophie Bolich

I had a blast bopping around the city with my hands (and stomach) full of delicious caffeine, but I think I'm ready to take a break from green tea. 

Pick up my slack and grab a matcha this week, you know where to go! 

Sophie Bolich

**All of the drinks were made with soy milk, which increased the price and altered the taste slightly.