Seeing Green (Milk)

For once the “green” in my title doesn’t refer to ecoliving.  There’s only so much of that even I can take.  It’s a chilly night here in Minneapolis.  We had our first snow of the season this weekend, and it was a biggy.  Usually the first snow disappears almost overnight, but we go hit hard.  So many people ended up without power, which makes me sad when it’s so cold.  Thankfully ours stayed put, so I’m able to enjoy the drink I’m enjoying now.  The drink that I’m about to share.

A little over a year ago I started taking ASL lessons.  After the Community Ed class finished, and after we found out enrollment for the second class wasn’t enough for it to run, my instructor and I agreed we’d meet one-on-one so I could still learn.  We ended up meeting at a nearby Starbucks.  Until then, I had more or less been a Caribou girl, though I’m in no way a coffee drinker.  It was more a reflection on Caribou’s MN background, Starbucks’ “every corner” meh-ness, and Caribou’s white hot cocoa.  I did enjoy Starbucks’ coffee-free frapps, but that was as much as I had ventured out.

One day, as I waited for my teacher, I made an out-of-left-field decision to try their green tea latte.  Admittedly, I’m a sweet lover, not much for the bitter (one of the reasons I don’t care for coffee, the sheer disgustingness being another), so after my first sip I decided to add a couple packs of Splenda.  Don’t judge.  After the first few sips, I suddenly found the drink irresistible.  The days following my first cup were spent wanting more.  I indulged a bit, but I knew that a Starbucks-a-day habit would be well out of my budget.  I had to come up with an alternative.

Enter my studies with what I affectionately call “Green Milk.”  I’ve been playing around with how I drink matcha for the last year.  I first went to Amazon in search of matcha, and after reading many, many reviews, I ended up with this fantastical deal: Vita Life Matcha.

And because I’m slightly neurotic about my weight, I found that Cub makes a knock-off of Splenda in the big ol’ economy bags, which last very nearly forever.  It lasts just about as long as the matcha.  I’ve purchased 3 packages of matcha, I’m on my third bag of not-Splenda, all for one year.  Not including my milk, which I’d be buying anyway, I’ve spent about $70 on green tea (and, okay, I still indulge in it whenever I meet for ASL, though sometimes I branch out…).  IF I stuck purely to Starbucks, I would have only made it a month on Starbucks drinks, at the frequency with which I drink my matcha lattes.

The nice thing about matcha is it doesn’t need to steep.  It’s like chocolate milk powder, which is why I’ve taken to calling my drinks green milk.  Why is it important not to need to steep?  Because when it’s 90° out, one doesn’t want a 112° drink.  One wants to have a nice cool drink.  Or at least this one does.

So, blah blah blah, Chelsey.  Cut to the chase.  How do I make this fabulous green milk?

To start, get out your favorite coffee mug:

Fill it with milk and chuck it into the microwave for about a minute and a half (or until it’s as hot as you like it, who am I to say how to need to drink your tea?).  While that’s heating up, get a small bowl and throw in four (or fewer, or more, for that matter) teaspoons of not-Splenda (or Splenda if you’re rich or sugar if you aren’t a paranoid weight freak like me) plus one scoop of matcha (approx. half a teaspoon, if your tea didn’t come with a scooper).  Stir this up.  It’s nice to have one of those cute wire whisks that come with hot chocolate kits, but I’m sure a spoon would work just as well.

By now your milk is probably hot, unless you work really fast and/or want scalding hot milk.  So go ahead and take that out of the microwave.  Slowly pour your powder/not-Splenda mix into your milk while stirring.  You may end up with tiny little blobs of matcha.  You might just have to get used to them.  Or go after them with your whisk and squash them, but really, getting used to them isn’t a big deal.  Just sayin’.  Now drink up.

The neat thing about the matcha powder is that you can chuck it into all sorts of stuff for added antioxidanty goodness.  Cakes, cookies, ice cream, stew, bread, tomato sauce…  It hides fairly well in soups and flavorful sauces.  I find it needs sweetening up in cookies and ice cream and the like.  Regardless, I’d like to see you throw your bag of Lipton in a cake batter.

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