The beginning of spring creates three problems at UBC: ending the term, finding the best cherry blossoms,and searching high and low for the perfect refreshing but not too summery drink to enjoy while stressing about a paper or procrastinating on the sunny MacInnes Field. Some may search out an iced strawberry oat matcha latte from one of the abundant Starbucks locations in Vancouver, but if you’re a fan of the concept but not the execution, you might be looking for something else to fill that 16 oz, caffeine-craving hole in your heart.
Iced matcha latte (various locations)
Hot and iced matcha lattes are available at most cafes on campus, including Great Dane, Blue Chip, JJ Bean and Starbucks, for roughly $5.90 for a 16 oz (price varies for each location). After trying a number from different cafes, I found no significant differences in the iced options. The general iced oat matcha latte is mostly cold oat milk with some ice.
It is nicely cold and creamy while still being light, but if you genuinely enjoy the taste of matcha, you might find the options on campus to be mildly disappointing. I could taste that there was matcha in each cafe’s take on the iced matcha latte, but they all tasted overwhelmingly like milk. This may be good for anyone just dipping their toe in matcha and looking for a sweet spring drink, but matcha lovers should manage their expectations.
Perchance's matcha strawberry
Perchance on Dunbar and 18th offers its own take on a matcha strawberry iced latte as well as other drinks and baked goods in a space quiet enough for studying. At $8.75 plus tax plus an additional dollar for oat milk, this drink is definitely more pricey compared to some campus options.
It has a smooth matcha taste and is rather creamy. The drink is nicely sweet, without overpowering you. Included strawberry pieces are the perfect size for sipping through a boba straw. While the drink may have left my socks on, I still enjoyed sipping on it.
Whisk Matcha Cafe's iced strawberry matcha latte
This cafe near Main Street is matcha-focused, and their take on the drink reflects that. The matcha flavour is strong but not harsh, and it blends well with fresh strawberry pieces, strawberry puree and coconut milk (oat milk is available). It is a smooth drink that feels perfect for springtime, and has better quality than I could make at home.. At a cost of $8.50 plus tax, this is not a cheap option, so it may not be the best routine staple. The cafe is also entirely vegan with lots of other matcha drinks, so vegans and matcha-lovers may want to check it out (or be my friend).
Homemade matcha strawberry
I tried making my own version at home and was pleasantly surprised by the results. The only necessary ingredients were chopped strawberries, barista oat milk and matcha, all of which were easy to find. Since I did not have strawberry syrup like Starbucks, strawberry jam worked well for adding flavour and sweetness. It was quick and simple to stir together. This is probably the best option for almost everyone since it can be colder, milkier, sweeter or more matcha-forward depending on your tastes — even if it takes some extra prep and expense up front.