We are currently witnessing the mainstream-ification of matcha in the United States (U.S.). While it has always been a staple in Japan, industry statistics show that this tea-based powder has become increasingly high in demand in the U.S. The ingredient can be incorporated into smoothies, boba and even lemonade, but currently, you are most likely to see it in the form of an iced matcha latte. That being said, here’s my ranking of every matcha latte that UCR has to offer.
Ok, so this is technically a boba shop, but the menu offers matcha milk tea. This drink differs from a regular matcha latte in one way: the primary ingredient is milk tea instead of milk. This drink had the potential to be great, but there simply wasn’t enough ice or matcha flavor. You can tell the different ingredients are good, but the ratio is all off. With a bit of tweaking, this number would be higher, but I have to give Lollicup a 6/10.
The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf
Located in the HUB, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf is one of the most frequented and convenient spots on campus for a beverage. It currently offers a classic iced matcha latte and a menu-original matcha cream strawberry latte. Because the latter uses matcha cream instead of pure matcha powder incorporated into water, the tea flavor is not as strong. If you want strawberry milk, this is a nice drink, but as a matcha latte, it gets a 6/10. The regular iced matcha latte at Coffee Bean is a hit or miss. I have tried it multiple times, and while the ingredients are great and the recipe portioning is perfected, the matcha powder is not always completely dissolved. This one is a 6.5/10 on a bad day and a 10/10 on a good day.
If you don’t want to gamble at Coffee Bean, make the trek to The Market at Glen Mor. I’ve had this drink multiple times and like to add strawberry cream cold foam on top. As far as quality goes, it has the right matcha-to-milk ratio and is consistently stirred properly. I give it a 9.5/10 and would consider it my overall top pick.
Overall, Lollicup fell the most flat. The best matcha latte served at Coffee Bean is better than the best one at Starbucks. However, Starbucks is the overall top choice because of the variability of a Coffee Bean matcha latte. If you want to live on the wild side and brave Coffee Bean, go for it, and you might get lucky; if you want to play it safe, stick with Starbucks.