Green Tea (Matcha) Latte Safari

I’ve always been a big fan of all things matcha or green tea. They kind of refer to the same thing I’ve noticed. When people talk about matcha, I start to think about sweet goodies like ice cream, lattes, cakes, etc that have been made with green tea flavours, but not necessarily green tea itself. Whereas, with green tea, I think of old people (and young people too) sitting around and enjoying a calming cup of loose leaf tea. Anyways, don’t really know what the point of that was but I’ll be referring to them interchangeably since they’re kind of the same thing.

My love for green tea is pretty new, roughly, I discovered it three to four years ago, back when I was still living in Sydney and eating out at a whole bunch of Japanese places around uni. I’m pretty sure this was before the whole froyo craze because I definitely fell in love with matcha soft serve as opposed to a matcha froyo (its a little too sour for me) and I remember the soft serve version not being so hard to get as well, unlike nowadays where it’s all froyo. I think I like matcha best when it is in soft serve form. I’m constantly on the look out for it when I’m in Sydney, I absolutely love Chanoma Cafe, its one of the few places that serves green tea soft serve all year round. I know Mizuya serves it in Summer but that’s not enough for me! Considering I only know places for green tea soft serve, I’m probably not looking to hard but who cares, I live in Canberra now.

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Matcha latte is something quite new for me, I didn’t really have it much back when I was in Sydney but since coming to Canberra and having no access to green tea soft serve, I’ve turned to these awesome drinks. They’re not a bad replacement, especially for the cold Canberra winters. I guess I’ll have to revert to just plain old matcha ice cream when the blistering summer hits. On a positive note, at least green tea ice cream isn’t too hard to find down here. I notice that most Asian grocery stores in Canberra stock them along with most Japanese restaurants as well.

I’m on a little bit of a journey to find all the different places that serve matcha lattes in Canberra. I have noticed that most places do refer to them as green tea latte, so do look out for that. I’ve found a couple so far based of Internet research and just pure luck. This isn’t a completed list so definitely feel free to comment if you’ve seen a restaurant or cafe that serves green tea latte’s because I would definitely want to try it out! Of course, based on that statement, I’ll be updating this post as I find more green tea lattes in Canberra!

Anyways here we go, a list of places that serve green tea lattes and what I thought of them. Enjoy! Oh I should note, I’m not ranking these different green tea lattes in any way, just explaining how each one was.

Dessert Castle, ANU

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First up, the Green tea latte ($5 large) from Dessert Castle out at ANU. This one I stumbled across by pure luck, I was there one day for some dessert and taro froyo when I noticed that they offered green tea lattes on their menu. I quickly and super excitedly rushed over to the counter and ordered one. A couple of short minutes later, this cup of awesomeness arrived! Its definitely not as bluish in colour as this picture suggests. Dessert Castle’s lights change constantly colour to colour and at the point of this picture being taken, it must’ve been blue. It’s pretty slow and the colours are pretty dim so its quite peaceful and calming actually, even thought it sounds horrible!

Anyways, this green tea latte was fantastic! It was nice and had a great smooth and frothy texture to it.  Flavour wise, it had quite a strong matcha flavour to it, I could tell that Dessert Castle was using matcha powder as there was a bit of residue at the end of the drink as expected from a good green tea latte. The drink was quite sweet but it wasn’t anything unexpected from a latte but overall it was a fantastic green tea latte. It ticked all the boxes quite well, well there are only two major ones for me: strong matcha flavour and smooth and creamy latte consistency. Ohh! & I still get really excited by coffee art and this heart looking one was quite pleasant.

Dessert Castle on Urbanspoon

Cafe Garema, Civic

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Next up on my matcha safari, the Green tea latte ($4.50) from Cafe Garema in Civic. After having my first green latte in ages at ANU, something in my brain must of been triggered because after that, I was just constantly craving matcha. I started taking detours after work and headed out the the Asian grocery store near the City bus interchange for matcha ice cream. I guess it was this craving that began my search for more green tea lattes in Canberra. After finding out that Cafe Garema offered one, I was hyped. Cafe Garema is literally a stones throw away from work, I was never going to give up on a craving for matcha again!

The green tea latte at Cafe Garema is a little different to the rest. It wasn’t just a straight up matcha powder in latte sort of thing, at least on paper it wasn’t. On their menu its actually described as tea infused latte and didn’t just include green tea, Cafe Garema also offered chocolate, peppermint, Earl Grey and English breakfast latte! How cool is that? This post is about the green tea one they had but I’m definitely going to head back soon to try out the Peppermint and Earl Grey.

As for green tea infused latte, it was a pretty good drink. It had a much more subtle matcha flavour to it. Here the milkiness and creaminess of the latte came first then the matcha came out as an after taste. I would say it probably still has enough of a matcha taste to satisfy any green tea lover though. Again, here I saw the matcha powder residue. I found the consistency of Cafe Garema’s latte a little less smooth, it had quite a bit of airiness to it, which made it less silky, oh and I wish there was a thicker layer of froth as well. But all in all, still a very solid green tea latte.

Cafe Garema on Urbanspoon

Common Grounds, Gowrie

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Another Green tea latte ($4) in Canberra, this time at a more unexpected location. During my search for more matcha I heard that Common Grounds in Gowrie offered matcha latte, I approached this one with a little more scepticism. After looking up Common Grounds on Urbanspoon and Facebook, checking their menu and reading more about them, I concluded that they were a mod oz place and definitely didn’t expect to see matcha anywhere near their menu. I mean, I kind of expected to see matcha lattes at Cafe Garema and Dessert Castle since both have Asian influences and their food reflects it. I’m actually super happy to see it on such a Western menu. This drink an amazing flavour and I’m pretty sure its quite healthy too (matcha powder that is, not the latte part) but happy to see it get more exposure!

As for the green tea latte at Common Grounds? It was really good! It’s probably the best one from a latte texture point of view. The whole drink was silky smooth, with a lot of creaminess to it and plenty of frothy goodness all round. Flavour wise, the matcha latte at Common Grounds was quite mild in comparison to a lot of the much sweeter green tea lattes at other places. It makes sense for Common Grounds to serve the drink like this since they seem to be targeted more towards coffee connoisseurs who I imagine have a more bitter palate. Most people having it at Common Grounds probably aren’t really into drinks like this so the mildness is probably the perfect introduction to the flavour without overwhelming anyone. Nevertheless still an amazing latte just purely on texture. Oh and of course like all the rest, there was matcha powder present at the bottom of the cup, so legit stuff.

Common Grounds on Urbanspoon

Caffe Cherry Beans, Multiple

(Belconnen, Woden, Tuggeranong & Gungahlin)

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This time we’re at a chain. Green tea latte (small $4.20, large $4.70) from Caffè Cherry Beans. So Caffè Cherry Beans can be found in most places in Canberra,  they’ve really set up well,  with one Cafe in each of the main regions in Canberra. So far they’ve got one in Belconnen, Woden, Tuggeranong and a newly opened store in Gungahlin. At first,  like with Common Grounds, I wasn’t expecting to see matcha on the menu at this chain. I’ve never eaten there before but I’ve walked past a couple of times and everything about it screams Aussie cuisine. The decor, the food, the importance placed on the coffee (coffee hasn’t been a thing in Asian cultures since globalisation and Korea becoming more Western and the rise of wealth and demand for Western products in Asia). But after a look around, it looks like Caffè Cherry Bean is a Korean franchise which probably goes some way to explain why there is a South Korea tab on their website (that isn’t working right now) plus the reason why all their stores in Sydney are in Asian and Korean heavy locations.

Anyways, I’m glad to see an South Korean chain do pretty well and expand in Australia. They’ve got a similar palate to what I’m used to! Anyways, the Green tea latte here was nice. It comes in a lovely little coffee mug so I feel mature and cultured like all you coffee drinkers out there! The drink itself had a decent amount of froth to it, was a little airy and wasn’t as smooth as it could be. It was still nevertheless still quite creamy and had a rather strong matcha flavour to it. As with the others, there were remnants of matcha powder at the end of our drink which was a good sign! My only issue with this drink and their chai latte as well (we ordered both) was how sweet they both were, the chai was definitely worse than the matcha but both were way too sweet for us. I felt like I was drinking chai or matcha sugar syrup, we even ended up adding water to it to dilute it with no success. But I’m definitely not ruling Caffè Cherry Beans out because of this. There aren’t enough places in Canberra that offer matcha lattes to be that choosy on what we’re after. Next time I get their green tea latte,  I’m going to ask for half sugar. I reckon with that, I’ll have a pretty damn good drink.

Caffe Cherry Beans on Urbanspoon

Patissez, Manuka

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To something a little newer, the Matcha latte ($4, regular) from the newly opened Patissez in Manuka. As you may know now, I absolutely love matcha, when it comes to flavours, it’s my red velvet cupcake. So, I get pretty excited when I see it on a menu, especially in Canberra! This is because matcha is more of an Asian flavour and there is a smaller (but no worse!) Asian community in Canberra compared to say Sydney or Melbourne, so these types of treats are much harder to come by than I’m used to. Plus, its not everyday a completely Western cafe offers matcha!

The matcha latte at Patissez is quite unique to others that you’ll find in Canberra and nothing like the ones you can get in Sydney, and I mean this in the most positive way possible. Matcha lattes are mainly served in Asian cafes and restaurants and with the coffee culture is only really becoming a thing now in Asia, you’ll find that most matcha lattes come out really sweet (perfect for me of course) but much sweeter than a normal coffee loving person would prefer. Here at Patissez, the matcha latte comes out with no sugar. Its strong, bitter and full of green tea goodness. I of course opted to add a ‘couple’ of sugars but at least this way, you can adjust it to your own preference. I did find that the matcha latte here wasn’t as smooth as you would expect but it’s definitely better than no matcha! The matcha latte was also slightly lukewarm, that might have contributed to the slightly grainy texture. But this is no Chanoma so I can’t complain.

So there you have it, five different places that serve four quite different green tea latte in Canberra. This list is definitely not complete. Do please feel free to leave a comment if you’ve had or seen another place that serves this awesome little treat. I’ll be updating this page as I find new places.

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