Last week I caught up with a friend who was excitedly confessing her new found love.
“It tastes so good, and it’s really good for you, right?”
My friend was referring to the Matcha almond milk latte that she was sipping as I was trying a chai latte with soy milk.
We were both drinking teas in the way that weren’t intended to be drunk.
Purists would curse us if they saw what we had in our hands!
But that’s just the things - many teas when they “go West”, they change to a different beast to suit the local demand.
Matcha is the tea that Japanese use for the traditional tea ceremony and Japanese sweets such as Wagashi.
Chai was just a local potent brew of leftover tea bits to wake up the sense between laborious tasks.
How much they have both changed...
In the West, Matcha is the stuff makes your green latte and Kitkat, even beer!
Chai is a syrup added to a cup of froth milk. Some baristas don’t even know chai is a tea based product.
Survival of the fittest...
I can't complain, I would have never discovered both, if it wasn't for the Chai (syrupy) latte back in the days of hanging around Borders in Auckland, or the Matcha icecream I so very love since my days in Hong Kong some 30 years ago...
But the tea journey doesn't have to stop there.
In fact, now I know what real Chai is, I love making it at home in a big saucepan. The aromatic spices envelop my kitchen each time I make Chai the authentic way, with tons of spices, boatloads of tea leaves and a generous dose of milk powder and sugar.
Matcha? Yes, I love Matcha - whisking it with a chasen brings me happiness and contentment in the simple pleasure in life.
I started my journey with some teas in the west, and return to the East to learn more.
But I still can't stomach Oolong latte with cheese top. Oolong is still one tea I don't mess around with, for now.
(a pet peeve: Chai latte is a spiced milk, not a real tea)