"Is that palak soup?" a colleague asks, as she peers curiously into my mug of foamy, bright green liquid. Starbucks hasn't lost its marbles to that extent, I tell her. It's the pious-sounding but unexpectedly yummy green tea latte that I'm sipping.
What is green tea latte?
You can have it hot (like mine) or iced, but the ingredients remain the same: Starbucks matcha blend, which consists of powdered Japanese green tea and sugar and milk. Having tasted plain matcha tea in the past, I can tell you one thing - this version is a huge improvement in terms of taste, even if it isn't as healthy. And the short version (237ml) puts you back by just 110 calories.
Why isn't it as healthy as regular green tea?
That's a no-brainer - it's got sugar, which will broaden your waistline, and milk, which inhibits the absorption of antioxidants in green tea. Nevertheless, the creamy green tea latte still has some of the benefits of matcha green tea, and makes for a wonderful change from the usual espressos and cappuccinos. Plus, it's a great conversation starter.
Make it better
You can ask for non-fat milk to lower the calories and no added sugar. But the best thing, according to health experts, is to brew your own green tea latte. Use 2 tsp matcha tea powder for one cup. Blend with milk and a dash of sugar. If having it cold, add ice. You can also use almond, coconut or soy milk if avoiding dairy, or simply for a taste variation.
But if you're like me...
Just head to the nearest Starbucks outlet and order away!
Other green tea dishes to try
Green tea salad at Burma Burma, Mumbai/Delhi/Gurgaon
Green tea noodles at Wasabi by Morimoto, Mumbai
Green tea ice-cream at Kofuku, Mumbai/Delhi
Green tea chiffon cake at The Fatty Bao, Mumbai/Delhi/Bangalore