Hot or cold, healthy or bold

Looking to whet your whistle? Get a flat, have mucho matcha or smooth it out.

Whether you need a morning pick-me-up or an evening wind-down, here are some beverage options that are piquing the interest of trend spotters on this side of the globe, two making their way from Australia and Asia and into homes and cafés.

A flat what?

A flat white is a cross between a latte and a cappuccino; soft milk foam is skillfully folded over a single or double shot of espresso, with the coffee-to-milk ratio leaning toward the dark espresso.

It originated in Australia in the 1980s when Italian cafés started popping up. The story of how it came to be varies, but one source has it that at these cafés, a cappuccino came in the form of a coffee with very stiff foam on top due to the organic, free-range nature of the milk. A New Zealand latte was a very weak coffee-flavoured glass of warm milk. The two drinks were combined to create the flat white, achieving the perfect in-between beverage, rich in coffee flavour with velvety-smooth milk, usually topped with a design.

The ritual of matcha

Matcha green tea powder was brought from China to Japan in the 12th century and was used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies for hundreds of years. Today the green-leaf bush used to make matcha green tea powder is still grown in Japan, where local farmers often use traditional, labour-intensive methods of cultivation.

In recent years, matcha has grown in popularity in North America, perhaps in part because of the perceived health benefits associated with green tea. Here, matcha is prepared in many different ways, usually as a latte combined with milk (cow, soy or almond) to take the edge off its pungent, intense flavour. It’s also used as a flavouring in ice cream, baked goods and smoothies.

There is a difference between the commercial-grade matcha prepared at your local Starbucks and the authentic ceremonial matcha that can be found in select, boutique-style tea shops. Ceremonial matcha, much higher in quality and sweeter in taste than commercial-grade matcha, is meant to be drunk in very small amounts with just water.

Good-for-you green

A delicious, healthy smoothie is perfect as an on-the-go meal replacement or a quick post-workout nutrient booster. Green smoothies are viewed as a healthier option to all-fruit smoothies, as they usually contain a vegetable packed with vitamins and minerals and are lower in sugars.

Green smoothies can be tricky to make and don’t always taste great. This simple 1-1-1 ratio can make all the difference when it comes to taste: one part leafy green vegetable, such as spinach or kale; one part fruit, such as banana, mango, apple or pineapple; and one part liquid, such as coconut water, coconut milk or almond milk. Try a teaspoon or two of chia seeds, flax meal or almond butter for an added protein boost.

Take your tastebuds on an adventure of flavour with these rich and bold beverages.

About the Author

Agnes Borowik


Agnes Borowik is a freelance writer based in Burlington, Ont.

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