Thursday, 29 December 2016

Chocolate Cardamom Protein Pancakes



I created this recipe for two reasons:

1. When I have a meal I always like to include some sort of vegetable for both satiety and nutritional benefit, so pancakes as a meal just doesn't do it for me. It doesn't keep me full and I just end up hungry a couple of hours later, if that!

2. This means that when I do eat pancakes I like to have them as dessert. In which case they can't be the indulgent pancakes you're used to seeing and eating as having that as a dessert would mount up to well over 1000 calories as you're technically eating two meals worth in one. 

Now I don't count calories or macros but this doesn't mean I'm not mindful of the nutritional content of the food I consume (and I think this is a very important point to note about intuitive eating, which I'll talk about in my next blog post). 

For the sake of this post I also worked out the macros (which I don't usually do) just to ensure what I said above wasn't completely wrong..! And before toppings, they are only 230 calories with 1g sugar and 30g protein - literally seems too good to be true, right?



INGREDIENTS


  • 1 scoop Vivo Life Raw Cacao PERFORM
  • 1tbsp spelt flour 
  • 1tsp cacao powder
  • 1/2tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1/2tsp baking powder 
  • Pinch of pink himalayan salt
  • 2tbsp egg whites 
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (probably less if not using vegan protein powder) 

To cook with: 1tsp coconut oil


METHOD

1. Combine all the above ingredients in a nutribullet or mix well in a bowl if you don't have a blender

2. Add the coconut oil to a non-stick frying pan on medium heat and once warm, spoon the mixture into the pan - amount of mix depends on the size of pancakes you want (mini are more fun though so that's my go to)

3. Once bubbles start to form on the top of the pancakes, flip them over and cook for about 30 seconds more to keep the inside soft - overcooking protein pancakes just makes them taste like rubber so don't leave them unattended! 

4. Once all the mixture has been used - plate up, add your toppings and enjoy your guilt free treat!

Jess x

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Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Winter Spiced Matcha Latte

I was restocking my spice cupboard the other day whilst making a matcha latte and had the random idea to add spices to the almond milk while it simmered.

The result was delicious! 

For my matcha lattes, I use Lalani & Co. Matcha Gold and the reason for this is specified in another of my blog posts, which you can read here

This spiced matcha is so comforting and adds a little taste of Autumn/Winter - perfect addition for snuggling up on the sofa with a blanket on a chilly afternoon!



INGREDIENTS 
  • 1/2 tsp Lalani & Co. Matcha Gold 
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 1 cup milk of choice (I use unsweetened almond most of the time)
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half


METHOD

1. Place the milk into a pan with the star anise and cinnamon stick and gently start to warm it to a point just before it begins to boil

2. While waiting for the milk to warm, place the matcha powder in a mug or small bowl and add the water

3. If you have a bamboo whisk then ideal but if not just use a mini whisk or fork to create a smooth, creamy matcha paste

4. Take the star anise and cinnamon stick out of the milk and then pour the matcha paste into the pan and stir to combine

5. Using a milk frother, whisk up to create a nice frothy matcha latte

6. Pour into a mug and enjoy!


Jess x
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Friday, 28 October 2016

SUGAR

I think most people are aware of the general push towards lowering the amount of sugar we consume from a health and weight perspective. But as a dentist, I think it's also important to stress the damage it can do to our teeth.

Therefore, in this post I'm going to focus on the latter and try to explain a bit about why it can be so detrimental and how we can reduce this negative impact on our dentition without necessarily cutting back on our favourite sweet treats!

Oatmeal topped with sugar free brown sugar - a natural sugar alternative

Caries
Without going into too much detail, caries aka dental decay is caused by certain bacteria in our mouths that break down carbohydrates into acid, which then attack the teeth. This softens the tooth structure and if left untreated it can progress to the deeper layers of the tooth and eventually cause sensitivity and pain.

Your saliva contains calcium and phosphate, which can help to buffer this acidity to a more neutral pH. Fluoride can also aid in this process, which is why fluoride toothpaste and fluoride containing foods are important to help repair weakened tooth structure.

Ok enough of the boring part - so how can we try and reduce this from happening?

A lot of people will think that if they brush their teeth twice a day for 2 minutes with an electric toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste (recommended) then what they eat is negligible. However, this is so wrong and studies have shown that diet is just as important if not more important than oral hygiene when it comes to preventing caries.


Sugar
As I mentioned above, diet is key in helping to prevent decay and reducing sugar consumption in particular will significantly help. This is because sugar is a monosaccharide by structure and is very easy for the harmful bacteria to use as a substrate.

So I'm not saying never eat sugar again, because that's unrealistic. However, there are times to eat sugar which are better for your teeth and there are alternatives to sugar, which taste pretty similar and actually help promote a healthy dentition.

Tips to prevent caries and counteract acids:
  • reduce sugar consumption, especially sugary snacks
  • use toothpaste containing at least 1450ppm fluoride 
  • chew sugar free gum - helps stimulate saliva flow
  • consume dairy produce (cheese, yoghurt etc), which contain calcium and phosphate 
  • consume sugar free tea (black and/or green), which often naturally contain fluoride 
  • regular dental visits! (obv - couldn't not mention this)

Sugar alternatives 
There are a lot of sugar alternatives used in the health and fitness industry that are marketed as 'healthy' but are actually far from. Below are a few of the most common as well as my favourites and why. Normal table sugar has a GI value of 65 so I've also included this as a comparison.


Sugar alternative
GI value
Sugar content/100g
Maple syrup
54
67
Honey
50 (honey can vary widely)
82
Coconut sugar
35
75
Brown rice syrup
98 (not 25 as some document!)
55
Agave nectar
25
71
Yacon syrup
1
40
Xylitol
7
0
Erythritol
0
0
Stevia
0
0


Of course there are lots of other artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sorbitol and sucralose to name a few. Out of these, aspartame has probably been the most demonised by the media since it was rumoured to cause brain tumours back in 1996. However, the research was ambiguous and it has since been proven to be incorrect.

As far as teeth go, the artificial sweeteners are ideal due to the very low sugar content but this does not necessarily mean they are better for your overall health.

This is why my favourite sweeteners to use are erythritol, stevia and xylitol. Erythritol is produced naturally by fermentation of pears, mushrooms and melons and the latter two are both derived from plants. Therefore, all three sweeteners tick the boxes in terms of being good for your teeth and for your health.

The best erythritol products I have come across are from Sukrin, who supply a range of erythritol sweeteners including sugar, icing sugar and my favourite - brown sugar! There is also scientific evidence to prove that erythritol can help reduce dental decay and some studies even show this to be to a greater extent than xylitol.

Natural sugar alternative, xylitol - better for teeth as well as health

Focusing on xylitol in particular, it has been scientifically proven to help reduce dental decay and for this reason, I have actually started incorporating it a bit more into my diet by using Total Sweet. I have always tried to chew sugar free xylitol containing gum, especially after mealtimes, but I have loved adding Total Sweet on top of cereals or oats and as a sugar replacement in recipes.

Total Sweet is made from sustainable European birch and beech wood and has the following amazing qualities:

  • GI value of 7 - this is one of the lowest GI values of any sugar alternative available. The benefit of this is that it doesn't have a dramatic effect on blood sugar - making it also suitable for diabetics. 
  • 40% less calories than sugar - so when using a tsp or less here and there, these calories are practically negligible IMO!
  • Can be subbed 1:1 with sugar - ideal for using in recipes as many other sweeteners are so sweet that you have to use much less and it can be difficult to judge how much to use
  • Helps reduce plaque build up on teeth 
  • Can reduce the development of dental cavities by up to 60%
  • Remineralises tooth enamel - as xylitol favours the absorption of calcium (as mentioned above) this can help to undo some of the damage caused by acids 

As shown in the above photo, on some days I've reduced the amount of sucralose sweetened beef protein powder I use and subbed it for a little xylitol.
I'll be creating some recipes using Total Sweet so watch this space!

I hope this post has helped you understand the damage that sugar can do to our teeth and realise that those natural sweeteners aren't necessarily better for us. 

So give xylitol, erythritol or stevia a go and let me know what you think. It may take a little period of adjustment but I'm sure your body (and your teeth) will thank you!

Jess x



References
Hopewood House Study: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1834-7819.1967.tb04263.x/full
Sugar and caries: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14522753
US National Cancer Institute proves aspartame does not increase chance risk:
http://dietandhealth.cancer.gov/docs/aspartame.pdf
Erythritol's effect on teeth: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24852946
Xylitol's effect on teeth: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.2903/j.efsa.2011.2266/abstract

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Monday, 24 October 2016

MATCHA POWDER: quality, grades & use

By now you know I love all things matcha. However, I realised that for those of you that are new to matcha or who have never even heard of matcha, it can be quite confusing knowing exactly where to begin.

With the kind help and extensive knowledge of Jameel Lalani, the founder of the incredible tea company Lalani & Co, I have come up with a few basic ways of analysing the quality and (to a lesser extent) the grade of matcha powder. In addition, there's a little tip as to which type of matcha you should be using for drinking and which type you should be using for baking - this could save you a lot of money if you're currently using the wrong one!


Quality 

My staple Lalani & Co Matcha Gold
There are a few key things I look for when analysing the quality of matcha powder:

1. SOURCE
The best matcha powder is sourced in Japan - specifically Kyoto, Aichi and Kyushu regions.
If you can source organic matcha then even better as many Japanese pesticides aren't permitted in Europe. Therefore, buying organic will ensure there are no hidden nasties in your matcha.

2. COLOUR
High quality matcha should be bright green. The reason for this is that the leaves should be shade-grown so that they over-produce chlorophyll (the green pigment in plants).
The reason we want more chlorophyll is not only to provide that beautiful green colour but also to supply us with a range of health benefits.

Numerous studies have shown that chlorophyll can:
a) aid in weight loss by increasing satiety
b) reduce oxidative damage by binding to carcinogenic molecules, theoretically reducing cancer risk
c) speed up wound healing
d) reduce body and mouth odour (if all the above didn't convince you, surely this will! Nobody likes BO or bad breath..)

3. AROMA
On opening that packet you should get an amazingly strong aroma of matcha! If you can't smell it at all, you know it's of inferior quality.

4. TEXTURE
This may sound strange but the higher the grade of matcha, the softer and more velvety the texture, which is all due to the milling process.
Higher quality matcha is stone milled, which gives an extremely fine powder that provides a nice textured feel when drinking it.
Lower quality matcha is produced by metal grinding. Although this does provide more regular particles, it often means that the desirable texture is lost and it can even affect the taste as it becomes quite sharp.
As a general rule of thumb, if you can feel the particles when rubbing it between your fingers then it's a lower quality, which will also make your chances of getting a lump free matcha latte that much slimmer!

5. TASTE
So if you're buying off the shelves you won't be able to judge this one but after trying a few you'll know which brands taste the best. Matcha should have a clean yet slightly sweet taste to it due to the component L-Theanine, which again is produced by the shading process. L-Theanine helps contribute to memory, brain function and alertness (anyone that knows me knows my memory is shocking - god knows what it would be like without matcha!) If the matcha is bitter or difficult to palate, it's usually of poor quality.


Grades

My favourite matcha to cook with (especially my zoats)
I was surprised to discover that there is no official grading system to classify matcha?! We all throw about the word 'ceremonial' thinking it's the best matcha we can get but the term is often used to market products and the quality of the matcha inside may not actually be all that good.

I have, however, included this section for completeness and as there is no right or wrong way of grading them, below is the method I find most simple.

However, given the above, I certainly won't be taking the word 'ceremonial' on a tin of matcha as gospel anymore.








1. CEREMONIAL
This is the highest grade of matcha and it's what I use for making matcha green tea and matcha lattes. Lalani & Co Matcha Gold is honestly the best matcha powder I've come across and it's what is actually used in most great matcha spots across London as featured in my London Matcha Guide.

Lalani Matcha Gold is an exceptionally high grade matcha powder, which is finely milled by granite stones. I would recommend buying the highest grade you can afford when using it in drinks as it really does have a dramatic effect on the end product. Lalani Matcha Gold ticks all the requirements I've specified above when looking for the highest quality matcha and I couldn't recommend it enough.


2. CULINARY
This matcha is prepared from the second or third harvest, which are lower quality seasons compared to the first harvest from which ceremonial matcha is made. Culinary matcha can be used for other purposes, such as baking and cooking. It's slightly less smooth and a little less sweet but could still also be used to make matcha lattes if you wish.

Culinary matcha is further broken down into interchangeable subcategories and below I have listed the most common:
a) premium - still very good to use in lattes and smoothies (but honestly, not a patch on ceremonial grade for this use IMO)
b) ingredient or kitchen - thicker consistency, slightly more bitter but still good to use for baking, smoothies or sauces

The reason that culinary matcha is better to cook and bake with is that you would simply be wasting your money using ceremonial grade for these uses. When cooking, amino acid profiles and phytonutrients are destroyed, however, the underlying matcha taste will remain. Furthermore, the use of other components in baking, namely sugar and fat, often dramatically alter the taste so using a lower quality matcha is often masked in these situations.


Store St Espresso use Lalani & Co matcha for these beautiful lattes
For my baking or oatmeal I use Lalani & Co Grade III matcha as again, it is what is used in most restaurants across London in many matcha desserts such as brownies, ice cream and meringues - yum!


I hope that's cleared up a bit of confusion surrounding matcha and made it a bit easier to understand what to look for, as well as giving you an idea which grade is better for different uses.

Happy matcha making!


Jess x 

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Monday, 17 October 2016

MY TRAINING: how often, what style and why


Like most girls, I have been all over the place with my training style and training intensity in a bid to try and find what I like, what suited me and what my body responds well to. This is one of my most asked questions and one I feel like people have completely wrong about me. I don't train every day, I don't do cardio and here's why...

How Often 

Cheeky flex post Core Collective class
So compared to a lot of fitness bloggers I'm quite different. I love exercise, don't get me wrong. That feeling after smashing a good session, the endorphin rush, the clarity in my mind after a care free workout and of course, the aesthetics that come with regular training - I'd be lying if I said the latter wasn't a huge source of my own motivation...


One of my favourite ways to train is with friends at classes over London. My fav class is the Velocity class at Core Collective and I'll tell you why in the section below. But I would much prefer to socialise with training and brunch than a boozy night out. Call me crazy but each to their own I guess.

However, training is not the be all and end all for me. I certainly do NOT train every day and would never ever consider training twice in one day (believe me there are a lot of people out there that do).  I know if I did train daily, it would become a chore. It would become something I dreaded and I would lose the motivation I have each time to put on my gym kit and step into that gym or studio. When I find myself with extra time on my hands and I haven't trained, you'll often find me going for a walk and listening to a podcast or calling my mum (always!) over going to the gym.

Training dates @ Core Collective > going out... soz
I won't lie, it's taken me a long time to realise that I didn't need to exercise six times a week. But now, if I just don't feel like it or if I have DOMS from the previous day, I just won't train. Simple. This and this alone, is one of my suggestions when people ask me how I stay motivated - if you don't want to train, don't train! Take some time off, wait until you have that craving and that desire to train again and trust me you'll come back stronger and more determined than ever before.

Exercise breaks in my mind are key, especially in a fitness world where over training and under eating is SO common yet never talked about or just brushed under the carpet... Ever been on holiday, exercised less and come back more refreshed than ever? Maybe it was the sun, lack of work and good food. IDK. But maybe it was also the fact you gave your body some time to recharge and recover. I have started taking these little mini breaks of 3 days off from training (I wish I could go on holiday to do this but heck, Streatham Hill will do for now..) It's enough time to recover, it's enough time to want to get back into the gym but it's not enough time off that you'll lose progress and undo your hard work.

So ramble over and straight to the part you've been waiting for, which may surprise you - I only train 4 times a week. Sometimes this is actually 3 times, like this week if other things take priority and on the odd occasion, this could be 5 if I have an event to go to.

I would 100% rather have 4 good sessions a week than 5-6 average sessions. This lifestyle is not my occupation. I do it because I love it and I don't want to fall out of love with it. I'm not in any way slating people that do train 6 times a week as I have a lot of close friends that do. And if that's what you enjoy then absolutely fine, carry on. But I'm just saying it's not the only way to get results and reducing my training is actually when I've noticed the best results! Your body works hard for you and training puts a hell of a lot of stress on it so don't forget to reward it with rest. In my mind, it's just as important as training.


What style

If you know me or know my blog then you'll realise that blogging is not my job, it's my hobby. So for one, my training schedule has to fit around my sedate job of being a dentist. I sit down from 8.30am to 5pm on working days and sometimes even longer. If I have time to get out on a lunch break and take a quick walk then I absolutely will. However, I can count on one hand the times I've had the opportunity to do this, which I know sounds awful but it's the truth and I'm sure a lot of you with desk jobs will unfortunately find the same.

Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to squat for gains 
Given the above, I needed to find a way of training that I not only loved, but was quick and efficient too. This is when I stumbled across interval training. Now the benefits of HIIT have been extensively documented but a lot of people mistakenly say they are completing HIIT when in actual fact, if you're not giving it 110% in that interval period and you're not out of breath, exhausted and feel like you have nothing else to give afterwards, then soz, you're not doing HIIT, you're completing intervals.

There's nothing wrong with intervals (obv, because that's exactly what I do) and training in this way means that on most days I can be in and out of the gym in under half an hour, which gives me more time to work, study and socialise. Winning.

So 2-3 times a week I will complete some form of interval training, either on my own in the gym where I set up my own circuit or at a class like Core Collective. My circuits in the gym are actually based on what I would do in a class at Core. I started going to Core in January this year and I have to admit, I have never found another class in London that rivals their Velocity class. I will do a big blog post focussing on this place as I do genuinely love everything about it but for this post I'll concentrate on the training.

In a 45 minute class we would start with a warm up and then usually progress to some floor work, followed by a circuit. The circuit is comprised of a variety of things from box jumps, burpees, sled pushes and battle ropes all in a dark room with an awesome playlist. Of course, I have my favourite trainers there and if you're booking in I'd recommend Liberty, Paddy or Em's classes. Nothing pushes me as hard as Velocity and the buzz I feel when leaving that room is insane!

So for the other 1-2 days a week I'll take a slower approach to training and lift moderately heavy weights. I usually focus on legs (glutes, obv) or back as these are the things I enjoy training and for the most part, the other areas of my body (especially my damn huge shoulders) are worked enough during interval training.

The reason I don't lift as heavy as I once did is that I don't actually enjoy it and I've realised I don't need to. My good friend Ben Lauder-Dykes corrected my mentality on this topic. He was actually the one that allowed me to realise intervals trumped heavy weights and since seeing the results for myself, I've never looked back.

During the interval you're pushing yourself hard to get that heart rate up and due to this, it's meant I've not done any 'proper' cardio since January! The main benefits of cardio to me are to improve cardiovascular health and metabolism yet interval training does all this and more. In addition, due to the intensity and stress this form of training places on the body, sessions are only 15-25 mins max. Therefore, being able to find something I love doing and that doesn't take an hour to complete has completely transformed my exercise regime, my physique and my diary!

So I don't like cardio (I despise running) but I do love going for walks. I wear a Garmin fit watch to track my step count and it has been really helpful to monitor my movements, or lack of... On a working day, I barely hit 2000 steps so after dinner I'll often go for a quick 30 minute walk and try to hit 5-6000 steps. On the weekend when I have more time and am usually in central London, this step count often hits 10,000 without me even trying. I think the extra walking and benefits of LISS (low intensity steady state) cardio are well known and I do think it not only gives me some head space and time to myself but also contributes towards my health and physique.


So in short, I train around 4 times a week and I mix up interval training and moderately heavy weights with some LISS in between. By no means am I saying that this is what everyone should do! But it's what I enjoy, it's what gets me the results I want and it's how I stay motivated.

Happy training :-)

Jess x
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Friday, 14 October 2016

LIFE CHANGING CHICKEN BURGERS

You'd be hard pressed to find someone that doesn't love burgers, myself included.
However, your average burger isn't always the healthiest option and is probably not really something you want to be indulging in a few times a week.

So we've transitioned from restaurant burgers to homemade burgers and you're probably wondering what makes these burgers so special. Well I've made a few discoveries and a lot of swaps in a bid to make these burgers not only incredibly easy to make but literally completely guilt free. Winning.

I ususally get 1kg of chicken mince from my butcher and fry them all at once to keep in the fridge for a day or two as they are so good to have for meal prep as well. Using 1kg yields about 10 large burgers so feel free to half this if you're not meal prepping or just want to cook less. Trust me though, once you've made these once you'll definitely be wishing there was more!

Double stacking: layered with cheese and topped with avo, sauerkraut & chilli

INGREDIENTS

  • 1kg chicken mince (I ask for freshly minced chicken breast from my butcher)
  • 1 large red onion, finely diced 
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed 
  • 2 tbsp Two Chicks egg whites
  • 2 tbsp liquid aminos or tamari (use slightly less if you don't like salty things but I personally love the natural saltiness of these products!) 
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika 
  • 1 tsp chilli powder 
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped 
  • 1 tbsp flour of choice for dusting (I use buckwheat or spelt) 

For cooking:
1 tbsp coconut oil
Cheese of choice (optional)

To serve:
Sliced avocado
Squeeze of fresh lime


METHOD
1. Combine the first list of above ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly - it's best to get your hands in to make sure it's all well combined.

2. Compress into burgers with your hands and then pat a little bit of flour on each one to hold it together and stop it being so sticky - if they're not sticky, you might not need the flour. I find it can vary depending on the chicken.

3. If you have time, chill the burgers for about an hour in the fridge but if you don't you can cook them straight away. Chilling just allows the flavours to marinate and helps hold the burgers together.

4. Heat half the oil in a large non-stick frying pan and then add half the burgers. Cook for 4-5 minutes each side. When you are nearing the end of cooking the last side, add a slice of cheese to each burger and it should start to melt just from the heat of being in the pan.

5. Once the cheese has melted and the burgers are fully cooked, set aside and then repeat step 4 for the other half of the burgers.

5. Just before serving, add a squeeze of fresh lime to each burger and then dress them up as much as you like - stack them, have them in a bun of your choice, go bunless with a side of carbs or even just save them all for your meal prep if you can manage not to eat them now!

They're so versatile and absolutely delicious so I hope you love them as much as I do!
Please do let me know if you try them and tag me on insta @jesssriv so I can see!

Jess x

That inside shot though... 


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Tuesday, 11 October 2016

My Ultimate London Matcha Guide

Anyone that knows me will understand that matcha is to me are what coffee is to others - I can't go more than a couple of days without one. Don't get me wrong, I love coffee and it will always be a booming industry (as well as my staple pre-workout), but with new emerging health trends and the incredible benefits of matcha powder, IMO matcha is giving coffee a very good run for its money!

Amanzi Tea, Marylebone - this place shut in 2018 but was one of the OG matcha hotspots in LDN. RIP Amanzi - miss u xx

 I first started getting into matcha a few years ago and found that:
1. It was really difficult to come by places that sold dairy-free options and that didn't then add a ridiculous amount of sugar to them
2. When I actually tried to google places that sold them, my search pretty much hit a dead end and there were no good reviews or recommendations to go off

I still experience the latter... Therefore, I've tried to put together my top matcha latte finds across London for you. As I tend to stick more to west London, these are where the coffee shops below are predominantly based but I know there are also loads of places in north and east London.. Perhaps that's a venture for another day and a blog post for the future!

I first wrote this in 2016, but as new places pop up and some places sadly close, I'll try and keep this post updated and add in any good (or bad) finds! As always, my Instagram @jesssriv is where you'll see all my current London favs..!



1. TAB X TAB, WESTBOURNE GROVE
https://www.tabxtab.com
Mind. Blown. TAB x TAB oat mylk matcha latte
This has been my local for over a year now and I'm obsessed for several reasons - matcha obviously being one of them. I'm lucky enough to have this hidden gem right on my doorstep. However, even if you aren't in west London, I'd get yourself here ASAP.

It's no secret that Lalani & Co is my all time favourite tea company. So when I discovered that TabxTab stock a variety of their teas and matcha, I was literally over the moon! 

What to order: 

  • nitro matcha for the matcha lovers 
  • matcha latte for everyone else.. lol
They also do a huge range of dairy free mylks including almond, coconut, soya and my personal fav - Oatly oat mylk.

Not only is the latte art beautiful but the interior is pretty much hashtag goals too. The staff are some of the most welcoming people you'll ever have the pleasure of meeting aaand I'm even obsessed with the mugs. They're just the most gorgeous works of art. This place has become my go-to destination whenever I find myself stuck procrastinating at home and knee deep in a bag of corn cakes instead of doing my work.


Rating 10/10 - literally can't fault this place even if I tried



2. MATCHA & BEYOND 

https://matchaandbeyond.com
Spiced matcha latte = ultimate comfort food in drink form
This dedicated matcha cafe opened in November 2018 and was definitely a warm welcome to the matcha scene. 

When I first visited, I was lucky enough to meet the founder and owner, Olivia, who told me all about her journey from not liking matcha to now owning her own matcha cafe! 

I thought this was the most incredible story and demonstrates something I've tried to explain for a long time - matcha quality bloody matters! It wasn't until Olivia tried a high-quality matcha from Japan that she fell in love with it. And so began her journey to where she is today - proud owner of the most beautiful matcha cafe on the King's Road. 

The matcha used here is one that Olivia sourced from Japan herself. The cafe offers the widest range of matcha drinks that I've seen in any cafe across London. From matcha cortados, flat greens and spiced matcha lattes, they really do cater for all. 

The matcha food menu was one I was particularly interested in trying. Their sweet treats all contain matcha (obvs). However, sadly, at the moment they all (bar some of the breakfast bowls and bliss balls) contain dairy, which I actively avoid in my diet. Therefore, as beautiful as this green velvet cake looks, I'm catfishing in the photo below and have no idea what it actually tastes like, sadly. From what I could gather from the table next to me though, it was a damn good cake!

Praying that one day this green velvet will be vegan..!
I spoke to Olivia about the fact that many of the treats aren't vegan or DF and as a French chef, she said eggs and dairy are, of course, something that comes as part of her traditional French baking. However, they have recently employed a vegan chef, who has devised some of the savoury menu and has plans to help create some vegan matcha treats. Needless to say, I will be back to try this menu ASAP!

As for the savoury menu, it didn't contain any matcha, and this, as the name suggests is the 'beyond' part of 'Matcha & Beyond'! I see what they did there. I like it. We had the vegan rice rolls with sweet potato and aubergine, as well as the lentil and kale salads. I have to say, they were absolutely delicious. 

So on the whole, I adored this cafe but will be back to try some other options when the vegan range expands. Oh, and did I mention the super instagrammable faux leaf back wall?! So beautiful..!

Rating 10/10 - we are rating matcha after all, not the availability of vegan matcha treats lol. So for the matcha and huge range of drink options, it's definitely a 10


3. TOMBO MATCHA BAR, SOHO or SOUTH KEN
http://tombocafe.com/#home
Tombo feast, South Ken ft matcha frappe (LHS) and matcha latte (RHS)
With their award winning matcha and green tea, this place is literally a matcha lovers dream. It has the biggest matcha specific menu of all the places I've visited and you can even have a matcha orientated afternoon tea!

There are two branches, one in Soho and one in South Ken. Both stock all the matcha you could want as well as a selection of Japanese cuisine, but the Soho branch also serves amazing poké sushi bowls (my second foodie love!)

Matcha drinks range from a matcha macchiato to matcha lemonade and you can also add almond mylk as an extra. The only drawback was that even after enquiring, the almond mylk was sweetened. As the drinks are so large (obv a good thing), it meant that for those that don't like sweetened drinks (me), you then had about half a pint of it to finish (not such a good thing). This doesn't detract from the fact that the matcha itself was of incredible quality and very well blended.


Tombo pop up at Liberty: unsweetened almond mylk matcha



I also tried the Tombo pop up in Liberty department store and here they used unsweetened almond mylk. This gave me a chance to re-assess the matcha, for want of a better phrase, and it didn't disappoint. So maybe next time I go back to the Tombo store, I will enquire about unsweetened almond mylk a bit more carefully. But on the whole and judging the matcha itself, it's definitely up there with the best.

Rating 8/10 - because size isn't everything...




4. C PRESS, FULHAM
http://cpressjuice.com
C Press: matcha lattes and acai bowls
C Press is predominantly renowned for its juices but their homemade almond mylk matcha lattes are a little hidden secret IMO! They have also opened a branch in TriYoga Chelsea, TriYoga Shoreditch and apparently in Canary Wharf. However, the ones in the yoga studios are much smaller. I'm unsure about the CW branch - I'm yet to visit...

The homemade almond mylk is delicately flavoured with fresh dates and a hint of vanilla bean. As someone who doesn't like things too sweet (I'm sure you've gathered this by now), it is such a subtle sweetness that it actually perfectly balances the matcha.

I also have to mention the acai bowls here too - again some of the best acai I've had in London. Between these bowls and the matcha - hats off to you C Press. Well played.

Rating 9/10



5. TIMBERYARD, SOHO or SEVEN DIALS 
https://tyuk.com
So Timberyard is a pretty cool place. Not only can you rent a workspace but you'll also find some beautiful matcha lattes, cakes and crodoughs (croissant x doughnut and yes, they have a PB&J flavour!) Timberyard has branches in Soho and Seven Dials, which is just on the outskirts of Covent Garden. Again, there's also one in East London but allow travelling that far when there's two in West!

Won't lie, their website is pretty useless unless you want to book a room to rent, so you'll just have to trust me on this one.

Rating 7/10



6. HALLY'S & LITTLE H, PARSON'S GREEN
http://www.hallyslondon.com
http://www.littlehlondon.com
Pre brunch almond milk matcha lattes at Hally's
Inspired by California and Cape Town, Hally's and Little H are two separate cafes owned by the same husband and wife team so needless to say, their matcha is pretty similar! They are a stone's throw away from each other in Parson's Green and both are little gems in their own way.

They are decked out like Californian beach houses and pride themselves on their 'farm-to-table' approach. Therefore, on visiting these two cafes, you can expect fresh, natural produce served in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

The two main differences between each cafe:
If you're looking for a brunch or lunch spot, I'd recommend the bigger sister, Hally's - just be prepared to queue for a table, especially if it's a weekend. Trust me, it's worth it!
Little H: almond and coconut matcha latte take outs 




However, if you're in a rush, cba to queue or want a quick take out, then Little H is your gal. A matcha take out is the perfect winter warmer, especially when paired with a stroll around Parson's Green.

The other great thing about these two cafes is that as strange as I find it that people don't like almond mylk, they have coconut mylk available for you coconutters.

Rating 8/10





7. THE PARLOUR @ SKETCH, MAYFAIR
https://sketch.london/venue_Parlour.php?menu=1#gsc.tab=0
Matcha supreme at The Parlour in Sketch
Not actually a matcha latte but the 'matcha supreme' in the Parlour made it into the list because each visit to Sketch is always an experience to remember. Sometimes it's not just about the food or the drink but the atmosphere too. Spanning two floors of a converted 18th Century building, the elaborate decor and magical yet incredibly delicious food and drink has definitely put Sketch on the map.

The Parlour itself is the most relaxed room in Sketch and serves breakfast, afternoon tea and all your favourite comfort foods. At 6pm it transforms into a member's only cocktail bar but before then us normal people get to enjoy it for the cakes and of course, more importantly, the matcha.

If they ever started doing matcha lattes instead of the matcha supreme, which is essentially just matcha powder mixed with hot water (you have to really love your matcha to stomach that), then its rating from me would increase dramatically.

Rating 7/10 for now...



8. FRIENDS OF OURS, HOXTON
http://www.friendsofourscafe.com/#homepage
Pretty oat milk matcha latte at Friends of Ours
One of the only East London venues I've ventured to and of course it was predominantly for brunch... But as well as having a great brunch menu, Friends of Ours has a ridiculously good oat mylk matcha latte.

When I visited Sweden in 2016, all the matcha over there was made with oat mylk and it was just beautiful! Therefore, as I'm sure you've gathered, any time there is oat mylk available, it's always my preference. Oat mylk provides the perfect creamy texture and natural sweetness from the oats (without the need for added sugar, yay). What's more, it came with some decent latte art (but nothing to rival TabxTab..) One downside to this matcha is that I wish it was bigger - gone in 30 seconds!

Rating 8/10 - double the size next time pls




9. FARM GIRL, NOTTING HILL
http://www.thefarmgirl.co.uk
Almond milk matcha and chai latte ft cinnamon pitbull
A popular venue for any health conscious foodie, Farm Girl doesn't need much of an introduction. Hidden away just off Portobello Road is the cutest cafe serving delicious brews - from the most beautiful rose lattes dusted in rose petals to my fav almond mylk matcha.

They use Rude Health's 'almond drink', which I have always thought was sweetened and could not understand how it tasted so sweet yet didn't have sugar additives. After researching it and realising it's not actually almond mylk but an almond drink composed of almonds (obv), water, salt, rice and sunflower oil, all became a little clearer! Rice is very sweet in milks so this will be what sweetens it up.

Therefore, if you struggle to drink your matcha without sugar or sweetener, I'd definitely recommend trying it with this 'milk' as you may find you're suddenly able to cut out the added sugar completely (sorry, that's the dentist in me shining through).

So I guess the only drawback to Farm Girl I could think of was that every other latte is amazingly presented apart from the matcha?! (even the lavender latte comes surrounded by dried lavender!) Pfffft.

Rating 9/10 - could be more beautiful please - I'm getting jealous of the other lattes




10. MONOCLE, MARYLEBONE
https://cafe.monocle.com
Monocle: soya matcha lattes & free chocolate too, winning
This Japanese inspired cafe on Chiltern Street is definitely one to try and bag an outdoor seat at, especially when the weather is good! Inside is rather small but if there's only two of you, there is actually plenty of space - I'm just being greedy.

Biggest downside - the only milk options are cow's milk or soya. But to be fair to Monocle, they did it extremely well and it's probably one of the best soya matcha lattes I've had in London.

Next time, however, I'm going back for the matcha hot chocolate! Dreamy.

Rating 7/10 when compared to an almond matcha but if comparing it to other soya matchas, it's a solid 8/10 (generous or what)




11. ELAN CAFE

http://www.elancafe.co.uk
One of the most beautiful cafe chains in London, hands down! Elan Cafe first opened on Brompton Road and has now opened in Oxford Circus Market Place, Selfridges and Park Lane. 


They used to stock Lalani and Co teas but I have a feeling this has changed since I last visited. Obviously, I can vouch for Lalani, but if it's changed, I'm a little stuck with what to suggest..

The one downside of these cafes is that they're so bloody beautiful that they're either rammed with bloggers or tourists trying to take an 'au naturel' shot for the 'gram. Highly annoying (unless you're one of said annoying people) then you just do you boo. 

Rating 9/10 bc sometimes I want to slap people's camera out of their hand, tell them to sit down and just enjoy their damn beverage (and if the matcha isn't Lalani then I apologise in advance!)



12. BEANY GREEN, PADDINGTON or BROADGATE CIRCLE or EUSTON or MARYLEBONE or SOHO - basically everywhere
http://www.daisygreenfood.com
Beany Green, Paddington
Tbh I get a bit confused with this chain of cafes - some are called Beany Green, some are called Daisy Green and there is a Timmy Green in Victoria!

There are now seven cafes across London so you have no excuse not to try it! Obviously the locations therefore span more than what I've listed above, so if you click on the link, you can search for the one that is closest to you.

I do really like these Australian cafes though - the brunch (especially those involving the charcoal bread) is delicious and again, their matcha is very good. Drawback - they only have sweetened soya or sweetened almond mylk.

I did also experience a very lumpy matcha (ew) from the Paddington cafe. However, I think that was the barista... I hate solely blaming one person but every other time they have been smooth tbf.

Rating 5/10 - a little too sweet for me aaand nobody has time for lumps, even if it was just the once



13. CURATORS COFFEE, FITZROVIA or CITY
http://www.curatorscoffee.com
Curators Coffee: lukewarm and weak AF - less than ideal
Given that Curators serves oat mylk matcha lattes, you'd think I'd be instantly sold.

However, although it was good, it just wasn't strong enough and it wasn't hot enough. With an extra 1/2 tsp of matcha and a couple more seconds to boil, I think it would be spot on.

Rating 6/10 - attractive, bland and looks stronger than it actually is - kinda reminds me of an ex boyfriend...










14. NOTES COFFEE, LEICESTER SQUARE or BOND ST or CANARY WHARF
http://notes-uk.co.uk
Notes Coffee: matcha take 1...
Not sure where to start with this one... So what you see in the photo is the first matcha lattes we ordered and I feel like the barista had read my above note to Curators Coffee because I have never had such a strong matcha latte in my life!

I mean, we both picked them up, took a sip and pulled the most horrendous faces at each other in disgust before asking them to remake them as they were completely undrinkable.

To be fair to Notes, they did then heat up some more almond milk and transfer our matchas into larger cups, so I guess we got a huge matcha for the price of a regular. Can't argue with that!

The bizarre thing was that even for a large matcha, they were still bloody strong. I guess all the more convincing that asking them to change it was the right thing to do.

Positive points on the other hand - good temperature and they used Rude Health almond drink (idk why I'm plugging Rude Health so much but I do just genuinely love it. I should get commission for this)

Rating take one 3/10 - like seriously wtf are u playing at hun
Rating take two 6/10 - can't dismiss take one completely but thanks for sorting us with a large matcha



15. SOHO GRIND, SOHO (obviously)
http://grind.co.uk/sohogrind/
Soho Grind: colour poppin' with matcha and beetroot lattes 
'Grind' is a chain of six coffee shops across London. Their first store was the Shoreditch branch and their newest location is Soho Grind, which I recently visited.

At the end of August 2016 they launched their range of colourful lattes - matcha, beetroot and turmeric. As tempted as I always am to get the beautiful Barbie pink latte, I can't stray away from my fav matcha (although everyone does say the beetroot is pretty good too).

They serve almond mylk, albeit sweetened but for somewhere that is used to serving up espressos, it is pretty good.

Maybe one day I'll branch out and try the beetroot, it's too pretty not to.

Rating 6/10



16. RETREAT CAFE @ TRIYOGA, SOHO
https://www.triyoga.co.uk/caf
Retreat Cafe: basic bitch almond matchas
The cafe itself is quite small as the main focus of this place is the yoga. However, they do serve their matcha with the Rude Health almond drink (sorry, I'm even annoying myself with the amount of times I've mentioned this now).

Decent matcha but I mean look at it - I definitely could have just whipped that up in my kitchen at home (especially the top one!)

Worth the visit? Maybe... but I wouldn't go out of my way for it and would definitely just get it to take away in future if I went back.

Rating 6/10 - good but nothing special







17. STARBUCKS, nationwide (duh)
http://www.starbucks.co.uk
Starbucks: possibly the most comforting but naughty matcha you'll find
I've included this in the list not because I'd recommend it but because I have a lot to say about Starbucks matcha...

Summer of 2016 (I say this like it's years ago lol) they started doing Teapigs matcha lattes, which I absolutely loved! However, they were sadly only available for a couple of months.

That winter they brought matcha lattes but are using Teavana matcha powder with a ridiculous amount of added sugar in it - I mean my teeth actually hurt afterwards. As the sugar is already in the powder, you can't ask for it sugar free either.

The other drawback is that their dairy free options are sweetened and full of additives. I would therefore always opt for soya here..

Don't get me wrong, it's fabulous if you want a sugar hit and I hate to admit that it was the frothiest and creamiest matcha I've actually ever had..! Equally, it still doesn't reach the ludicrous sugar highs of other chains such as EAT, whose small matcha lattes contain over 30g sugar?! w t f  HUN.

But on the whole, given I personally don't like sweet things and the dentist in me is holding up a red flag, it won't be a regular for me. Practice what I preach, right?!

Rating 4/10 - delicious but I may as well consume a bag of Haribo and book in for my fillings now


18. GOOD LIFE EATERY, CHELSEA or BELGRAVIA or MARYLEBONE 
http://www.goodlifeeatery.com/#about
The institution that is the Good Life Eatery obviously does very good matcha too. Great quality, well made and a choice of milks. Not much more to say tbh.

Rating 9/10



19. JUICEBABY, CHELSEA or NOTTING HILL
http://www.juicebaby.co.uk/index/
Juicebaby, Chelsea: the writing's on the wall - it's good 
This vegan cafe is one of my fav spots to go for dessert as their acai bowls are incredible! As for the matcha, it could be better.

They serve it with cashew mylk, which for me I don't mind and actually quite enjoy. However, it does mean the texture isn't as smooth compared to other dairy free alternatives.

In addition, it is not sweet in the slightest so you may find yourself having to add some form of sugar if you prefer your matcha a little sweeter.

Rating 6/10






20. PALM VAULTS, SOHO or HACKNEY
http://palmvaults.com
Pink coconut matcha latte. Need I say more?
Again, the website for this is pretty shit BUT you can take my word that the pink coconut matcha latte is AMAZING.

It's unsweetened but the natural sweetness of the coconut pairs so well with the matcha and beetroot powder (the pink part, obv). I don't know how they create the wizardry that is the pink and green layers but I've stopped trying to work it out.

I visited the one in Soho, which is inside the Fiorucci store. I'm yet to visit the original branch in Hackney as it's so damn far away.. However, I've heard nothing but positive feedback from there.

The drinks list is SO extensive and their food looks just as dreamy. I'll definitely be back to explore this again!

Rating 9/10 - not sure how I feel about sipping matcha in a clothes store tbh





Other matcha finds that didn't make the cut:

1. Wild Food Cafe, Neal's Yard - they serve an adaptogenic coconut matcha latte (idk what difference adaptogenic makes) but it was slightly watery, a bit lumpy, had no froth and tbh I missed my oat or almond mylk. I think it's clear why it didn't make it into the above list!

2. Clean and Lean Cafe (Bodyism), Notting Hill - the almond matcha here is actually okay but lumpy. The coconut matcha here legit tastes like dishwater. If you visit, stay away from the coconut mylk and just be prepared for a few lumps in your almond matcha. 

3. Mae Deli, Marylebone - probably a surprise that this one didn't make it but for me it was sickeningly sweet. I first visited when there was only one branch at it was fairly new. They made their matcha with rice mylk and it was genuinely so sweet I couldn't finish it. I've since been told they have other mylks available such as almond and oat but tbh one overpriced, bad experience for me and I'm done.

4. Wired, West Hampstead - the almond mylk was sweetened so I opted for cashew. You know how I feel about cashew mylk - the texture just isn't right. As if that wasn't bad enough, the number of lumps was ridiculous. I wouldn't go back, but if I did I'd take my own whisk as they clearly don't have one.

5. Store Street Espresso, Fitzrovia - they use Lalani & Co matcha (brilliant) but their almond mylk is homemade and is bizarre tasting to say the least. Literally tasted like grass and I actually struggled to finish it. They do serve matcha cookies though so maybe next time I'll sack off the latte and go in for the cookie.


Mae Deli: sack off the matcha and just get the cake...

If you do have any more matcha suggestions that I haven't mentioned above (likely if they're anywhere but west London) then do let me know below as I'd love to check them out.

Jess x


Disclaimer:
No matcha visits were sponsored (unfortunately - jk) and all opinions are my own

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