It was a warm summer day in San Francisco, and we had a bunch of leftover puree from these incredible strawberries that we’d been playing with. We also have a huge sweet tooth, so we usually have a pack of Kit Kats (or Haribo gummy bears) on us. This particular day, the Kit Kats were Japanese and were green-tea-flavored. We took a bite of one right after tasting those strawberries. . . . You know when Remy in Ratatouille closes his eyes and the flavors explode in his imagination? That. It took a while for people to understand the combination of strawberries, matcha, and milk, but it soon became one of our top drinks. Now it’s beyond an icon. People have made cartoons out of it. A fan once turned it into a Halloween costume. We were in Japan just last year and saw a shop in Kyoto promoting a Strawberry Matcha Latte boba drink. When we asked the cashier about the origins of the drink, she said it’s popular in America. The key to the look of this drink is the viscosity levels, so the ratios, process, and sourcing must be followed to a T if you want that tricolored presentation. The strawberry puree shouldn’t be perfectly smooth, but be more like applesauce. You want the matcha to start out super pasty, more like peanut butter than tea, and then get thinned out gradually by the water. Use a thermometer to gauge the temperature.
- Place the matcha powder in a bowl and add 1 tablespoon of the hot water. Whisk vigorously to make a paste. It should have the consistency of peanut butter. Then add the remaining 2½ tablespoons hot water and whisk vigorously until any remaining clumps disappear.
- Put the toppings, if using, in a large glass. Pour in the strawberry puree. Add the ice and the milk. Then gently pour the matcha over the ice milk, aiming for the ice cubes to keep the layers cleanly separated.
- Combine the water, sugar, and strawberries in a blender and blend until the mixture is pureed but still slightly chunky.
- The puree will keep, refrigerated, for about a week.