It’s cold in the plane and I am tired. Jasmin green tea with milk melts down my throat into my stomach, soothing me. Matcha latte comes to my mind, thinking:’they started it, the Japanese. It isn’t my own weird idea, adding milk to green tea’. Matcha is an exclusive finely ground almost fluorescent green powder of the tips of excellent quality green tea leaves. It’s use has evolved into a discipline which is called the Way of Tea, performed as the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Matcha powder has also become a favorite ingredient for more experimental chefs in Japan, used in pastries and ice cream. Starbucks sells Matcha latte, matcha powder mixed with milk and sweetener. Sweetened because original matcha is slightly bitter, a bit more even then the green tea leaves it’s derived of.
I am drinking herbal tea with milk, green tea with milk and fruit tea with milk. ‘Could I have a peppermint tea please? With coconut milk on the side’. The combination is bizarre, I realize. But it tastes really good. Lemon-ginger with oatmilk, green tea with almond milk and in case plant based milks are not on offer, I add regular dairy milk to the tea brews as it tastes good too. It’s only that I prefer to keep to a vegan diet that is keeping me from indulging in tea served with cow milk.
Last winter I started making what I call Tea Lattes. Hot milk poured on regular or decaffeinated black tea. The plant based milks could be mixtures of rice and soy milk or oat and almond milk, they top up a tall glass for at least two thirds, filled one third with strong simple black tea. I liked it so much that I got tired of carrying the cartons of different plant based milks from the shops to my house and started to get into different tea flavors served with less milk. It got me down to herbal tea, green tea or fruit tea served with a generous cloud of rice, almond, soy or oat milk and when I can lay my hands on walnut or hazelnut milk, I feast.
Soon we’ll land in Vienna. Wiener mélange comes to mind. Coffee latte topped up with whipped cream basically. I finish the Jasmine green tea with four sachets of airplane milk telling myself I won’t go into the Vienna version of my Tea Lattes. Which would be topping them up with whipped cream. Although whipped aqua fava would be an excellent vegan topping. But already my Tea Lattes are at least as good as the commercialized Matcha latte, a Turmeric latte or a good old traditionally spiced Chai.