Can You Put Matcha In An Espresso Machine?

Once reserved for Zen monks and Japanese royalty, matcha green tea has found its way into the mass market. Indeed, matcha powder has become so popular nowadays that most coffee shops offer delicious matcha lattes. But does that mean it's OK to load an espresso machine's portafilter with matcha powder? Please keep reading to find all the research we've done on this trending topic.

You could put matcha powder in an espresso machine's portafilter, but it's not the best choice. Most baristas mix matcha powder in a cup with milk and use the espresso machine's steamer to make a latte.  The "steamer method" results in a tastier, frothier green tea latte. Plus, it's easier to clean a coffee mug than a clogged portafilter. 

Matcha powder wasn't designed for the high-intensity of espresso machines. However, there are ways matcha lovers could use an espresso machine to make high-quality lattes. Please keep reading to figure out how to make matcha with your espresso machine.

A coffee machine with woman in the background, Can You Put Matcha In An Espresso Machine?

Can You Put Matcha In An Espresso Machine? 

You could put matcha powder in an espresso machine's portafilter, but the results aren't ideal. Since matcha powder is so fine, it doesn't perform well in this highly pressurized environment.

Coffee machine with steam in the process

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Indeed, most people who experiment with tea in espresso machines find that finely ground tea gives the worst results. Whatever water trickles through your matcha powder will likely taste incredibly bitter. 

The searing temps and fast speed of an espresso machine also reduce the quality of your matcha tea. Ideally, you should let matcha powder steep in a bowl or mug with hot water for five minutes. 

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However, people that like matcha lattes could use an espresso machine's steamer wand to great effect. Simply mix your matcha with milk and use the steamer till your tea gets warm. 

If you've never used a steamer before, be sure to watch this quick YouTube tutorial. 

Aside from using the steamer, most tea enthusiasts don't recommend making traditional matcha tea in an espresso machine. Be sure to check the manufacturer's recommendations on both your matcha tea and espresso machine for the best results. 

For more info on making a traditional cup of matcha tea, check out this online video:

What Happens If You Put Tea In An Espresso Machine? 

Barista making a cup of coffee in machine

Technically, you could put ground tea leaves in an espresso's portafilter and get a steamy cup of tea. However, please remember this isn't the traditional way to use an espresso machine, nor the ideal technique for making tea. 

Traditionally, espresso machines force hot water and pressure through a coffee-filled portafilter to create a creamy cup of espresso. An espresso machine's intense force and temperature may give your tea a "burnt" taste. 

Also, since espresso machines work so fast, they won't extract as much flavor or beneficial compounds from tea. Most research suggests tea needs at least five minutes of steeping to release most of its antioxidants. 

That being said, you still could use tea leaves in an espresso machine for a quick cup of tea. Just don't expect to be "wowed" by the flavor. Indeed, if you're using too fine of a grind, you may not like the dense texture and intense bitter aromatics. 

To find out how the consistency of your grind affects espresso quality, be sure to read our post, "Can Coffee Be Too Fine For An Espresso Machine?

To learn more about using tea in a portafilter, you should watch this interesting video:

How To Make Matcha With An Espresso Machine?

Most professional recipes for matcha lattes involve using an espresso machine's steamer. So, if you don't already have an espresso machine, be sure you choose one with this attachment. 

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Here's a basic technique to make a matcha latte with an espresso machine:

  1. Turn on your espresso machine's steamer to get it up to temperature.  
  2. Pour one teaspoon of matcha powder into a frothing pitcher. 
  3. Add about seven ounces of your preferred milk to the matcha. 
  4. Stir with a spoon to get rid of any matcha clumps. 
  5. When your steamer is ready, remove excess water from the wand.
  6. Place the pitcher of matcha and milk under the steamer and turn it on.
  7. Hold your matcha latte under the steamer until it's hot enough for your liking.
  8. Shut off the espresso machine.
  9. Pour your matcha latte into a serving glass. 

To see a video demonstration of this method, be sure to check out this YouTube tutorial:

What Milk Goes Best With Matcha Latte? 

Homemade matcha and almond milk iced latte

There's no single milk variety that goes best with matcha powder. Indeed, everybody who makes matcha lattes seems to prefer different milk in their drink.

For instance, some people claim almond milk adds a fantastic "nutty" note to their floral matcha powder. There are also plenty of recipes that call for the tropical flavors of coconut milk.

People who aren't interested in "alternative milks" could also use cow milk to great effect. Use a two percent carton of milk if you want your matcha latte to be extra creamy. 

While it's hard to say which milk tastes "better," dairy-free milk may be the better choice for health-conscious shoppers. According to recent research, the casein proteins in cow's milk block certain antioxidants in matcha green tea. 

So, if you use dairy-free milk like oat, almond, or coconut, you may enjoy more of matcha's antioxidant benefits. This doesn't mean cow milk matcha is "bad;" it's just not "as healthy" as non-dairy versions. 

Does Matcha Taste Better Hot Or Cold? 

Iced green tea in glass with ice on table in coffee shop

Like black tea, choosing between hot or iced matcha is a matter of personal preference. However, since matcha tends to clump in cold water, some iced tea drinkers recommend using hot water to dissolve powder particles before chilling your tea. 

Whether you think cold matcha tastes "better" than hot matcha depends on your tastebuds and the time of year. 

For instance, many people enjoy cold matcha on a hot summer's day. However, if it's the dead of winter, you'll probably gravitate to a warm mug of matcha.

The only way to figure out the flavor differences between cold and hot matcha is to try a few DIY recipes. To help get you started, here are a few simple suggestions for making iced matcha. 

Can You Make Matcha Lattes Without An Espresso Machine? 

You don't need an espresso machine to make a yummy cup of matcha latte. Indeed, you only need two ingredients to make a matcha latte: steamed milk and matcha powder. 

Heat your preferred milk in the microwave or stovetop till it's warm and steamy. Next, pour about seven ounces of steamed milk into a mug with one teaspoon of matcha powder. You won't get the same frothy top as using an espresso machine's foamer, but the taste of this DIY matcha latte is the same. 

To learn more about making matcha lattes without an espresso machine, be sure to watch this popular video:

Is It Healthy To Drink Matcha Lattes? 

Matcha latte with vegan coconut milk

Most doctors agree that green tea is healthy, but matcha may be the "healthiest" cultivar. According to recent reports, matcha powder has hundreds more antioxidants than other varieties of green tea. 

Matcha also has a special compound called l-theanine. Supposedly, this chemical could both calm the mind and balance caffeine's "jittery" side effects. 

However, when you add green tea to milk, it could reduce its nutritional benefits. Scientific research suggests the casein proteins in milk block green tea's unique catechin antioxidants.

So, while drinking a green tea latte may not be "unhealthy," it's not the healthiest way to enjoy this beverage. If you're concerned with getting the most catechins out of your matcha powder, you should consider using hot water versus milk. 

When Making Matcha Lattes, Stick With The Steamer

You could put matcha in an espresso machine's portafilter, but most tea lovers don't advise it. Matcha powder doesn't react well to the hot pressurized water that flows through this device. 

If you want a creamy and sweet matcha latte, it's best to mix the matcha with milk in a steaming pitcher. After the matcha is well incorporated, use the steaming wand to heat the milk and create a foamy top. 

FYI: You could learn more about how to make delicious lattes on our post, "Can You Make A Latte With An Espresso Machine?

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