From out of the snow and into the swamp
by Samantha Barrow
I stroll into the cozy Little House Café in need of a winter pick-me-up. The novelty of snow has worn off and while the days have begun to get longer, the sun provides no relief on this grey and blustery afternoon. I need a reason to stay awake. NEW: Matcha Green Tea Latte boasts the chalkboard menu with a sprightly drawn hand. Sounds interesting. I think I’ll try it.
“Have you had it before?” Christina asks when I order.
“I love it,” she responds, “but it’s not for everybody.”
The cook hears our discussion and pops out from her nook to chant, “Matcha! Matcha! Matcha Latte!” Her eyes twirl like a 7-year-old who has just learned about zombies. Christina can’t help but smile toward the kitchen as she presents the little tin of fine olive green powder to my nose. Swampy is the first word that comes to mind, then I think of wheat grass shots. I
decide to give it a try—small batch bourbon is not for everybody either.
I choose cow’s milk but soy is another option. It arrives at my table, a raft of foam floating atop. The bubbles grow and turn the color of monster goo as they approach the edges.
The nose remains grassy as I take my first sip, but the mouth is layered in flavors slightly sweet and a little bit bitter. The overall impression sustains a delicate balance on the velvety swing of steamed milk. (You approach the swamp, but you don’t fall in). I sweeten a little further with honey, but it could also go without. It finishes faintly chalky but what I like is that it tastes like tea. Which is leaves. Which comes from trees that have bark. I am becoming a convert to this frothy wonder that accurately represents the world we drag it from.
The little lift of caffeine gently brightens my lids off my pupils as I polish it off. The foam leaves a yummy scum of milk on the inside of the mug that I am tempted to lick off, as I have now been transformed into a happy little frog.
Matcha Latte, $2.85 or $3.35 with soy milk, Little House Café, 339 State Road, Vineyard Haven, (508) 687-9794.