Iced Matcha Coconut Latte

When I moved to Montreal for graduate school shortly after starting this blog, I eased into life there slowly. My program would last two years; there was no rush to see (and eat) everything the city had to offer. I had plenty of time to explore. I stayed close to home, visiting the markets and bakeries lining my walk to the metro station, venturing further only when invited by friends. 

When I quit graduate school a few short months later, I scrambled. With a couple weeks left before flying back home, there was not enough time to check everything off the to-do list I had carefully curated. The plates went uneaten. The sights unseen.

I called Montreal my home, but I had missed out on many of the things that made Montreal so unique. As I boarded the plane, I vowed that I would never do this to myself again, whenever and wherever I should move in the future.

Three weeks into my move to the big city, I find myself in the same pattern as in Montreal, a pattern I promised myself I would never fall into again. I unconsciously created a bubble for myself, extending five miles in every direction, where I walk through the mundane activities of everyday life. My mother keeps asking me if I have gone exploring, visited a museum, walked through a park.

Not yet, I reply. I have plenty of time

On my short drive to the gym this morning, I listened to a segment on the radio about exploring the city you live in as a visitor instead of a resident. Instead of dismissing certain restaurants or neighborhoods as places you can visit any time, it is important to extend the limits of your backyard by making it a point to venture out of that familiar comfort zone. 

I moved to the city for the diversity and variety. It is time to leave the bubble and embrace it. 

Matcha is an ingredient I have known about for a long time, but never took the time to fully explore. Unlike most tea leaves, matcha is created when the entire green tea leaf is crushed into a fine powder, giving it an intense green tea flavor. It can be used for flavoring in baking, but traditionally it is used to make tea. I may have taken a less traditional route by using the powder to whip up an iced latte, but after looking longingly at my empty glass, I can assure you it was an excellent decision.

Although I have professed myself as an avid black tea fan in the past, I may have to make a little more room in my cupboard for the green.

Iced Matcha Coconut Latte is a treat for the eyes and the tongue. Matcha powder is blended into almond milk, with maple syrup for sweetness, and layered into a glass with thick coconut milk. The matcha and coconut complement each other well, making this latte as distinctive in flavor as it is beautiful.

Matcha should be a vibrant, bright green color when purchasing. Over time, the color will fade into a dark mossy shade. Use within 6-12 months for best results. Matcha can be found in tea shops, some health food stores, and online.

One Year Ago: Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies 
Two Years Ago: Blueberry Braided Bread and Date Flapjacks
Three Years Ago: Maple Roasted Peaches and Rum Raisin Oatmeal Cookies
Four Years Ago: Malted Chocolate Cupcakes, Coconut Pancakes, and Rocky Road Cookies
Five Years Ago: Chocolate Prune Cake

Iced Matcha Coconut Latte

Yields 2 servings (or 1 large)

1/2 cup (120 mL) almond milk (or milk of choice)
1 1/2 teaspoons matcha powder
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Large handful of ice
1 cup (250 mL) coconut milk*

Place all ingredients except the coconut milk in a blender and blend until smooth. Divide matcha mixture evenly between two glasses. Pour the coconut milk over the matcha, dividing evenly between glasses. Stir before drinking.

* Full-fat (canned) coconut milk is my personal preference because it is so creamy, but light coconut milk will work as well. Avoid coconut milk from a carton (the milk is too thin to layer).

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Let me start by saying the pictures don't do this drink justice. If I could, I would have captured this drink on a long walk beneath red, yellow, and purple trees. I would have photographed it between two warm mittens, as conversation among friends flowed between sips. I would have found it resting on a kitchen counter, enjoyed during an early fall sunset after a long day at work.

These are the places this Pumpkin Spice Latte would find itself at home.

Pumpkin Spice Latte Pumpkin Spice Latte

The Pumpkin Spice Latte is most well known as a seasonal treat you can find at your neighborhood coffee chain. Though available only a few months out of the year, its popularity keeps people coming back. At least, this is what I have been told. After being urged to give it a shot, I bought my first real Pumpkin Spice Latte a couple weeks ago. Dropping $5 on a drink wasn't easy (lordy, that's so much cash) and I am sad to say I was not impressed.

Truth be told, it was lacking flavor. I tasted the pumpkin but couldn't seem to find the spice.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Still, this drink buzzed around my thoughts during the last week. I knew it had the potential to be so much better, to have real flavor (with none of this fake pumpkin sugar syrup nonsense coffee houses love so much). And so, after a week's worth of thoughts and daydreaming, I finally blocked out some time to make itβ€”to perfect it.

And I think that's just what I did.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

This Pumpkin Spice Latte is warm and inviting. The pumpkin flavor is prominent, with tones of cinnamon and nutmeg, a trace of heat from ground ginger, and a hint of warm vanilla to round it out. To begin, pumpkin spice infused milk is heated on the stove until steaming (your home will smell fantastic). Next, and perhaps a bit unusual, the milk is blended in a blender until light and frothy. Though coffee shops have the advantage of using a steamer to froth the milk, the blender works as a worthy substitute. Hot coffee is mixed in and whipped cream is spread on top, with a sprinkling of cinnamon to finish it off.

I love this recipe because it is completely adaptable to your tastes. If you want more coffee and less milk, you can do it with ease. If you want more cinnamon (or less spice), the choice is yours. While I have given you the recipe for my perfect Pumpkin Spice Latte, you can freely play around a bit until you find yours. And did I mention it's much, much cheaper?

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