Move over, matcha lattes—it’s time to enjoy real coffee in your green tea with illy’s new cappucino and mocha beverages.
While we’re in love with the creamy taste of matcha lattes, which blend powdered green tea with frothy milk, we’ve often wondered what it would be like to add a good shot of caffeine into the mix. Would it ruin the delicate flavour of the powdered green tea or would it work to enhance its bitter notes? Finally, we have the chance to find out, as Japan’s Espressamente illy coffee bars are now serving up four new limited-edition beverages which blend the flavour of matcha with espresso coffee.
Called the Dolcespresso Matcha & Coco (580 yen) and the Matcha Cappuccino (regular: 430 yen; grande 480 yen), the drinks are available in hot and cold varieties.
▼ The cappuccino drinks contain a shot of illy espresso with a matcha-milk blend, which gives them a vibrant green colour.
▼ The Dolcespresso Matcha & Coco drinks contain chocolate, a double shot of illy espresso and a matcha cream topping.
▼ The most familiar of the bunch is the hot, frothy cappuccino.
The white foamed milk we’re used to, however, has been replaced with a beautiful green topping. Surprisingly, the dominant aroma here is fresh coffee, which is hidden beneath its attractive top layer of green.
Despite the strong coffee aroma, it’s the matcha that really comes to the fore on the tongue, with a mellow flavour that blends remarkably well with the espresso. The milky, aerated foam works well to keep any excessive bitterness at bay, while providing the same texture as a cup of freshly whisked green tea, particularly as you head towards the final mouthful, which suddenly evokes memories of traditional Japanese tea ceremonies.
The cold cappuccino looks just as appealing as its hot counterpart. Served in a tall glass, the generous top layer of foamed milk makes this look a little like a green beer with a thick head.
▼ The shot of espresso lingers at the top of the drink, above a spectacular display of green liquid.
After giving the ice-filled drink a good mix with the stirrer, we take a sip and surprisingly, the coffee tastes lighter here, with more pronounced milky matcha flavours dominating the mix.
It tastes similar to a matcha latte, but with an added depth of bitterness from the coffee, which enhances the flavours. While the bitter notes blend perfectly, making it difficult to distinguish the difference between espresso and powdered green tea, the refreshing taste of cold matcha lingers on the tongue after each mouthful.
▼ The hot Dolcespresso Matcha & Coco is designed to be a sweet, “dolce” dessert-style drink with a coconut aroma.
The coconut element, which has been blended with the chocolate base, is overwhelmed by the other flavours, with the mocha-style drink bearing the strong aromas of chocolate and coffee. While the mix has a pronounced bitterness, the blend is well-balanced and offset beautifully with the addition of sweet matcha cream.
▼ The impressive mound of whipped matcha cream quickly melts into the heat of the drink, imparting its flavour into the mocha base.
The drink is filled with matcha overtones, and is great at keeping you awake with its double shot of espresso, which is actually a good partner for the strong cocoa flavour.
▼ The cold Dolcespresso Matcha & Coco drink is served in a tall, wide-brimmed glass.
It doesn’t take long for the cone of whipped matcha cream to collapse on itself, blending with the deeper flavours at the bottom of the drink.
Without a good stir, this tastes sweet, syrupy and bitter with a strong chocolate flavour. After mixing, it takes on a beautiful complexity, with the deep flavours of cocoa and espresso fusing together to create a deliciously bitter base which is enhanced and sweetened with the powdered green tea cream.
▼ It’s actually the cold drinks, rather than the hot ones, which have a more pronounced, delicious bitterness.
It’s nice to drink this one without the straw, to enjoy the taste and aroma of sweet matcha cream before the stronger mocha flavours hit the tongue. The blend is deliciously bitter and refreshing; a perfect choice for warm days in spring and early summer.
The drinks are currently available at Espressamente illy cafes until 15 June. For a full list of locations, check out their website here (in Japanese), or you can visit the coffee bar we went to in Yurakucho, which is close to Ginza and Tokyo, with details provided below.
Espressamente illy/エスプレッサメ ンテ イリー
Address: Tokyo-to, Chiyoda-ku, Yurakucho 2-7-1, Yurakucho ITOCIA B1F
Hours: 7:30 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Photos © RocketNews24
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