Is matcha worth the hype?

fall 2021 lariat mugs

By Lakesyn Melia | Assistant News Editor

Matcha has been around for thousands of years, so how come it has only recently become a trendy drink? Is it the idea of drinking something healthier than coffee or the perfect shade of green that attracts a younger audience? Is it truly worth the hype?

Sometimes yes. Sometimes no.

Don’t get me wrong; I love matcha. I would drink it everyday if I could. However, like any drink, it’s different every time you order it. Some of those times, it’s amazing. Other times, it tastes like grass. Most teas are made by brewing tea leaves, while matcha is made by grinding tea leaves.

People say matcha is an acquired taste, but if you order it the right way, it really lives up to the hype it gets online.

So, where should you go to get it? What should you order?

Thankfully, just about every coffee shop in Waco has matcha on its menu. In the past week, I went to each one and took note of which ones were worth it and which ones weren’t.

One coffee shop I’m not including on my list is Lighthouse Coffee and Wine. I’ve worked there as a server for almost a year, so it is a little unfair to competitors for me to rank it. I first started loving matcha while working there, so it is definitely worth checking out if you get the chance. I might even be the person making it for you.

Andrew Behm, head barista at Lighthouse, has plans to create more intricate matcha drinks. Lighthouse creates all of its syrups in-house, which allows Behm to play around with flavors and see what complements matcha without drowning out the original taste.

When I first started drinking matcha, I would always add a few grams of lavender syrup to make it sweeter. If you like the flavor of lavender, I highly recommend adding it to any iced matcha. Lighthouse, Pinewood, Common Grounds and Dichotomy all offer it as one of their syrups.

For my ranking, I rated them by how much I enjoyed the drink and the sweetness levels, with one being not sweet at all and 10 being the sweetest possible.

Pinewood: In the time I’ve been at Baylor, I’ve consumed way too many drinks from Pinewood. Whenever I’m in the mood for matcha, I usually order it with vanilla syrup. My friends always tell me that it takes away from the benefits of the drink, but I don’t think a little bit of sugar hurts. This summer, it started to serve lavender as its seasonal syrup, so if you want to try it, I recommend you go soon. Sweetness level without syrups: five. Sweetness level with syrups: eight.

Common Grounds: I’m not going to lie, I’m not a big Common Grounds fan. It seems like a controversial topic among my friends, but the coffee just doesn’t hit the spot for me. Its matcha is very sweet and watery, making it easy to drink in one sitting. Honestly, I think the best parts are the color of it and the vibes of the Common Grounds backyard. Sweetness level without syrups: seven. Sweetness level with syrups: nine.

Dichotomy: The options at Dichotomy are endless, and I haven’t tried its matcha nearly as much as I have tried that of Pinewood and Common Grounds. However, this time I was not super impressed. I tried it without adding syrup, which might have been my mistake. Sweetness level without syrups: four. Sweetness level with syrups: I wish I knew!

I highly recommend going to all of these coffee shops to try the drinks for yourself. Another way to add sweetener is opting for an alternative milk, like oat or coconut, instead of whole milk. All of them range from $5 to $7 and can be perfect to sip on while getting work done. Even if you end up not liking the drink, it makes for a cute picture, and you will contribute to building up the hype even more.